A Brief History of the World's Tallest Buildings

World's tallest buildings Lincoln Cathedral
Fine Art Photographic Library / Corbis

Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln Cathedral has taken its share of beatings — a fire around 1141, an earthquake in 1185 and a collapse of its central tower in the 1230s. But at 524 ft. (160 m), the house of worship in northwestern England held the title of world's tallest building for more than 200 years, until 1549. The building, regarded as one of the largest and most magnificent churches in all of Europe, was started in the 11th century and took literally centuries to complete. The lead-covered spire built in the 14th century made it the tallest building in Europe, a title it lost when the spire collapsed in 1549. Even without the spire, however, it remains the tallest cathedral in Europe.

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