The need for elevators has existed for longer than you might think. In 236 B.C., the Greek mathematician Archimedes designed a rudimentary elevator using ropes and a rotating spindle called a capstan. The Romans used a hauling device called a winch and counterweights to lift gladiators and animals up to the arena for battle.
Transporting goods, people, and livestock were some of the main reasons there was a need for these early shafts. Another reason included privacy. Louis XV had a few contraptions called the flying chair, for his mistress, and the flying table, for private dining affairs.
The modern elevator had its beginnings in the early 1800s, and by 1853, American industrialist Elisha Graves Otis introduced something spectacular at the New York Crystal Palace exposition: an elevator with a safety feature that broke the cab's fall in case the ropes broke, a common problem at the time. Four years later, the first passenger elevator was ready for use at a department store in New York City.
Scroll below to see some of the most stunning modern elevators around the world.
The AquaDom is a stunning acrylic glass aquarium featuring a built-in transparent elevator. It's located in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Berlin-Mitte. Opened in 2004, the project cost about 12.8 million euros and stands at about 82 feet.
The complex is also home to a hotel, offices, restaurants, and a Sea Life Center. It takes about 3-4 divers each day to feed the fish and clean the tank.
The Bailong Elevator, or Hundred Dragons Elevator, is situated in the Wulingyuan area of Zhangjiajie. It is 1,070 feet high. Just last year, it was recognized as the world's tallest outdoor lift.
Construction began in October 1999, and three years later, the public was able to try it out. Some people are worried about the environmental effects of the elevator as the area has been dubbed a World Heritage Site.
The highest outdoor lift in Europe is Switzerland's Hammetschwand Elevator, just over Lake Lucerne. If you're afraid of heights, you might want to avoid visiting this site (but we definitely support you facing your fears if you're up for the challenge!). At the top, visitors are 1132 meters above sea level.
A towering feat, the Hammetschwand Elevator was originally built in 1905 by a nearby hotel, and it has remained intact through the world wars.
If you're ever in Stockholm, make sure to check out Ericsson Globe, the world's largest spherical building. To get to the top, take the SkyView elevator.
The top center puts you at 425 feet above sea level, and there, you can see a panoramic view of the city.
You've seen this landmark million of times in photos, but you've got to see it in person. St. Louis's stainless steel Gateway Arch stands at 530 feet tall and holds the record as the world's tallest arch.
The structure was originally designed by Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen in 1947. It was completed in 1965 and opened for public exploration in 1967. There are three ways to get to the top: emergency stairs, a 372-ft elevator, and trams.
We couldn't forget this iconic tower. There are three lifts altogether at the North, East, and West pillars, but to ascend to the top, you must change lifts at the 2nd floor. You can also take the stairs for a unique perspective.
When in Paris, you must visit I.M. Pei's iconic pyramid at the Louvre. A great accessibility option is located inside for your convenience.
The unenclosed elevator blends in cleverly with the spiral staircase. How imaginative!
In just 20 seconds, you can go from the Praca Tome de Souza in Cidade Alta, the Upper City, to the Praca Cairu in Cidade Baixa, the Lower City via Elevador Lacerda.
This elevator is lauded as an Art Deco masterpiece and the most significant landmark in Salvador. Check out the sparkling views of the surrounding sea.
To get from the Baixa district to the ruins of Igreja do Carmo, take Elevador de Santa Justa, or the Santa Justa Lift. You can admire the ironwork and neo-gothic arches while at the same time avoiding the hike up Carmo Hill.
You'll delight in the sweeping views of central Lisbon as well as the stylish wood carriages that take you there.
If you're planning on visiting the Mercedes-Benz Museum, make sure to allot a large chunk of time for it. Many visitors said they've spent the whole day there. To start the tour, you can take the elevator up to the 8th floor and walk down from there.
According to European Traveler, visitors walk for at least 1.5 km, some up to 5 km just inside the museum.
In just 40 seconds, you can reach the observatory at Auckland, New Zealand, where you'll be 610 feet high. Get ready to soak in a 360 view of the city.
Located on Lime Street, Lloyd's of London is the world's most famous insurance specialist market and it boasts one of the most futuristic buildings in town. From one of the twelve external glass elevator pods, you can soak in panoramic views of the city. It takes about 30 seconds to reach the top.
Looking to head in another direction? Look no further and visit the Luxor in Las Vegas, were you can ride one of its "inclinators." You'll be taken up the pyramid at a sharp 39-degree angle.
Taipei 101 used to hold the title as the world's tallest skyscraper in 2004, that is until Dubai surpassed it with the completion of Burj Khalifa five years later. Still, this LEED platinum certified building is still pretty special. Reach the 89th floor in a mere 37 seconds, where you'll be 1,000 feet above ground level. Everything will look so tiny from there, like little stars.
It's a popular spot, especially around the holidays, but it's one that never gets old. Located in midtown Manhattan, Rockefeller Center is a must-see for history buffs and Instagrammers alike.
You can reach the 70th floor, called the Top of the Rock, in just 42 seconds. If you've never visited, you should know that Rockefeller Center comprises of 19 buildings. If you want to get to the observatory deck, head to the 30 Rockefeller Center, also called the Comcast Building or 30 Rock.
Next, 21 of the greatest views on earth.