When the Washington Monument was finished being constructed, it was the world's tallest building. It lost that title to the Eiffel Tower a mere five years later, but at roughly 555 feet (about 170 meters) tall, the Washington Monument still is the world's tallest piece of freestanding masonry.
More tall-structure talking points:
- As of December 2010, the tallest freestanding structure in the world is the Burj Khalifa building in Dubai. It is 2,717 feet (828 meters) tall. To put that in perspective, you could stack the Great Pyramid at Giza on top of itself six times and still not reach the Burj Khalifa building's height.
- There's a lot of debate about what constitutes a building versus a structure. For instance, there was great debate about whether the height added by the antennas on top of the Sears Tower should count toward its overall height. Consequently, there are different categories — and winners — for the tallest building, tallest room, tallest observation deck and tallest guyed structure.
- Some other odd "tallest" winners include the tallest tomb, which is the Great Pyramid at Giza; the tallest sphere, which is the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm; and the tallest memorial cross, which is the Valle de los Caídos, in Spain.