Top 10 Most Unusual Elevators in the World

Elevators, once considered breakthroughs, are now commonplace, especially among high-rise structures. So, some creative and imaginative minds decided that elevators didn’t have to be boring metal boxes carrying people up and down. The results are astonishing and incredible feats in engineering!

Here are some of the world’s most unusual elevators that will make riding between floors or riding to the top a thrilling experience. We’re sure you’ll find this article uplifting (pun intended). Meanwhile, if you want to find out the best online casino in Australia, click the link. 

AquaDom (Germany)

The AquaDom is an 82-foot-tall acrylic cylinder aquarium with an elevator running through its center. Opened in 2004, this beautiful aquarium-elevator is located at the Radisson Collection Hotel in Berlin, Germany.

The aquarium itself holds more than 260,000 gallons (nearly one million liters) of seawater and houses more than 1500 fish from 80 different species. Visitors eagerly line up to experience riding the elevator at the center of the cylinder-shaped aquarium and see the fish swimming around them – it is a truly magical experience. But the maintenance is no mean feat – it takes three to four divers to clean the tank and feed the fish every day!

Hammetschwand Lift (Switzerland)

At first glance, the Hammetschwand Lift looks more like an unfinished construction project than a working elevator. But it guarantees visitors a heavenly ride and some of the best views in Switzerland.

The Hammetschwand Lift, located in the city of Lucerne, has been operating since it first opened in 1905. It is the highest outdoor elevator in Europe at 502 feet (153 meters) tall. It lifts the passengers to the lookout platform, allowing them to take in heart-stopping panoramic views of the city, Lake Lucerne, and the Swiss Alps on a clear day. In misty weather, the elevator tower pokes out just above the sea of clouds. The compartment itself is made of glass.

Zhangjiajie City, April 13: Bailong Elevator building landscape on April 13, 2012, Zhangjiajie City, Hunan, China

Bailong Elevator (China)

The Bailong Elevator is a glass double-deck elevator built onto the face of a towering cliff in the Wulingyuan area of Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China. The elevator stands 1,070 feet (326 meters) high. Not only it is the highest outdoor elevator in the world, it is also the heaviest.

Construction of the elevator started in October 1999. When the construction finished, the elevator was opened to the public in 2002. Since it was built, the elevator has been the subject of debate and controversy, as the Wulingyuan site was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Operations stopped between 2002 and 2003 reportedly due to safety concerns instead of environmental issues.

The Bailong Elevator takes the passengers to the summit in less than two minutes. It can take as many as 50 passengers!

Globen Skyview (Sweden)

This elevator in Stockholm, Sweden, consists of two glass-encased spherical cabins traveling up and down outside Ericsson Globe, the world’s largest hemispherical building. The Ericsson Globe is an indoor arena used for various events ranging from concerts and ice hockey games. Once you’re on top of the globe, enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Swedish capital, making the 10-minute ascent well worth it.

Gateway Arch Elevator (USA)

One of the iconic landmarks in the USA is the Gateway Arch, located in St. Louis, Missouri. It has a uniquely designed elevator system that takes visitors to the top of the arch. The elevator consists of eight egg-shaped compartments, each of them containing five seats (it can feel pretty claustrophobic inside, so it’s not for the faint-hearted).

As the compartments rise the incline of the arch, they rotate slightly to align themselves to the curved tracks. The compartment doors have narrow windows, allowing the passengers to view the arch’s interior structure (not exactly the prettiest elevator views) as they ascend. The ascending ride takes around four minutes. Once at the top, there’s a small observation deck offering fantastic views of St. Louis.

Santa Justa Elevator Entrance located near Rossio Square in Lisbon historic city center

Santa Justa Lift (Portugal)

The Santa Justa Lift, located in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, is nowhere as high or technologically spectacular as the other elevators on this list. But it might be just the prettiest elevator one could ever see – and also one of the oldest.

The Santa Justa Lift opened (or was constructed) in 1899, but other sources say 1901 or 1902. This beautiful elevator is one of the classic examples of early ingenuity in mechanics and design.

The elevator tower is located in the civil parish of Santa Justa, Lisbon, just at the end of Rua de Santa Justa. While it is undoubtedly a sight to behold, the elevator existed for a practical reason: to connect the lower Baixa (downtown Lisbon) to the higher Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square). With its Neo-Gothic architectural style and the fantastic panoramic views it offers, the Santa Justa Lift is a popular tourist attraction in Lisbon. It is also the only remaining vertical elevator in the capital.

Lacerda Elevator in Salvador

Lacerda Elevator (Brazil)

The Lacerda Elevator is located in the city of Salvador, Brazil. It is similar to the Santa Justa Lift in the way that it connects the lower and higher areas of the city. One of the oldest operational elevators in the world, the Lacerda Elevator was constructed between 1869 and 1873. Several decades later, it underwent renovation in an Art Deco styling that we see today. 

Initially, it was a hydraulic elevator but in 1906 it began to run by electricity, and it has been electrically operated since. The Lacerda Elevator has two towers – one tower is embedded onto the stone slopes of the Ladeira da Montanha; another tower, the more visible one, goes to the level of Cidade Baixa. It has four compartments, each carrying up to 27 people.

Asansör (Turkey)

“Asansör” means “elevator” in Turkish (derived from the French word ascenseur), so it might be redundant if you’d say, “I want to go up the Asansör elevator.” 

Another beautiful outdoor elevator tower on this list, Asansör is also a historical landmark in the Karataş neighborhood, located in the city of İzmir, Konak district. It was built in 1907 as a public service project by Nesim Levi Bayraklıoğlu, a wealthy Jewish banker and trader, in order to ease the passage from the narrow coastline to the hillside. The elevator within the tower carries passengers through the steep cliff between the two parts of the quarter.

As passengers reach the top, there’s a lookout platform offering sweeping views of the city. There’s also one of the area’s famous restaurants at the top.

The Eiffel Tower was constructed from 1887-1889 as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair by engineer Gustave Eiffel.

Eiffel Tower (France)

This famous Parisian landmark hardly needs any introduction. It has six elevators, two of which have been operational since the tower first opened in 1899.

What makes the ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower pretty unique is that it is divided into two phases. The first phase is the more unusual one, as the elevator lifts the passengers across one of the tower’s legs – in other words, diagonally – before going to the second phase which is the standard vertical ascent. However, the second phase offers passengers heart-stopping panoramic views of Paris as they ascend to the top of the tower.

The Louvre (France)

Paris is known as the “City of Love” and the “City of Lights,” but someday it would also be known as the “City of Unusual Elevators.” 

The Louvre is the most-visited museum in the world for its valuable art collection and exhibits. However, the Louvre has another notable, albeit unusual, feature: its ultramodern hydraulic lift, located inside the iconic Louvre pyramid. It’s nothing short of a masterpiece itself.

In the main foyer, a spiral staircase takes visitors across several floors. At the center of the spiral staircase, a metal pillar literally rises from the ground floor as it carries passengers to the top floor. Then, the pillar disappears by sinking under the ground floor as it takes the passengers down to the basement level. When not in use, you wouldn’t even know an elevator exists. It’s also notable for being roofless, allowing passengers to take in 360-degree views of the museum in one go.