A Brief History of the World's Tallest Buildings

World's tallest buildings Great Pyramid of Giza
Paul Hardy / Corbis

The Great Pyramid
Humanity's edifice complex goes back — way back — to around 2,575 B.C., when the Great Pyramid of Giza, the tallest of Egypt's famous monuments, began its four-millennium reign as the world's tallest building. Originally rising 481 ft. (146 m) above a rocky stretch along the Nile river, it has been beaten down 30 ft. (9 m) by years of erosion.

Get the Latest Photos from Time.com
Get TIME photos and pictures of the week delivered directly to your inbox.