Here we've picked some great pictures from 30 emblematic staircases. Many of these are beautiful pieces of art and engineering that mark an architectural step upwards, and have therefore in some way participated in humanity’s historical climb to progress.
Other images have been boosted by the work of the photographer and have a beautiful composition, having chosen the minimal perspective, right at the center of the bottom -or the top- of the stairway. Also you'll find them arranged in ascending chronological order, from the middle ages to the modern day.
Two people can go up at the same time the double helix staircase of the Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley (France, 1519–1547) at the same time, without ever meeting. Image by Flo21
I preferred the previous image for the cover, however, the very first shot from our list is two centuries younger than Siena's Mangia Tower (Italy), finished by 1348. Also it is also one of the most recognizable icons of Tuscany. Image by Steve Jurvetson
We haven't left Italy yet: The Palazzo Venezia in Roma is an old building (1467) that made history when Mussolini used its balcony to deliver some of his most notable fascist bullshit. Image by Anthony Majanlahti
By 1537, this seashell was considered an 'impossible staircase', as it is supporting itself without the aid of any central pillar. Hartenfels Castle in Torgau, Germany. Image by Pinfeng
In this 16th century structure from Geneva's city hall (Switzerland), they decided to do without the steps, building a paved ramp that enabled horsemen to surmount three floors without dismounting. Image by Fabian Heusser
We enter the baroque era with this 1633 helicoidal staircase from Palazzo Barberini, also in Rome.
Image by Riccardo Cuppini
The 1635 Tulip staircase at Queen's House, Greenwich, is better known thanks to the popular photo taken here of the ghost, than due to the fact that it was the first centrally unsupported spiral staircase in England. Image by Jack Malvern
The Monument was built in 1667, after the Great Fire of London, as a foundation stone for its reconstruction. You can climb 311 steps to the top for amazing views. Image by Tom Page
But it is Spain who risked a triple mortal helical spiral staircase. Each of the three branches take you to a different floor, only one to the top. You can find this marvel inside the Monastery of Saint Dominic of Bonaval, built from 1685 to 1715 in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. Image by Amateur photo bore
The Baroque Melk Abbey in Austria, finished by 1736. You may remember Adso of Melk, the Benedictine novice accompanying Sean William of Baskerville Connery in 'The Name of the Rose'. Image by Martin Haesemeyer
Back to France to watch the Atlantic from the top of the Phare des Baleines, or the Whale Lighthouse in Le Gillieux, 1854. Image by Rob Watling
A great capture of a small staircase in Saint Mary's Church (1878), included in Studley Royal Park, England.
Image by Nick Garrod
Inside the observation tower of The Lighthouse in Glasgow, a building from 1895 transformed into Scotland's Centre for Design and Architecture. Image by Seth M
Gothic Revival style in the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, inaugurated in 1896.
Image by Szabolcs J. Csörge
The Phare d'Eckmühl is a lighthouse in Brittany (France), built in 1897. According to Wikipedia, at 213 feet (65 m), it's one of the tallest lighthouses in the world and it's open to the public. Image by Martin Burns
1903 - it's the time of the Art Nouveau and its Museum in Riga, Latvia. The stairways are wrapped in organic paintings and decorations made by prominent artists from this Baltic country. Image by Alistair Young
Here we have another celebrity. Since 1906, the Lello Bookshop in Porto (Portugal), which is considered one of the top in the world, thanks to its history and especially to architectonic features like these curved stairs. Image by Ilya Varlamov
We are still in Portugal visiting the obscure state of Quinta de Regaleira in Sintra, concluded by 1910. Everything breathes symbolism related to alchemy or Freemasonry, among other arcane disciplines. So don't be surprised if you find The Initiation Well, a sort of inverted tower, in the property's gardens. Image by Fundação Cultursintra
This bright stairway is part of a reconstructed wing in Schwerin Castle (Germany), built between 1926 and 1931. This old ducal palace sits at the top of a scenic island. Image by Carfull...gone rafting
The 1931 Art Déco Atlantis House in Bremen, Germany, was badly damaged during the bombings of the Second World War that destroyed most of the beautiful old city. Image by Any user
A galaxy inside the Old Daily Express Building in London (England), another Art Déco Staircase from 1932.
Image by Mark Hellen
Naturally, we had to include the star of the staircases, another VIP layout that was not completed, to my surprise, until 1932: The Spiral stairs of the Vatican Museums. Image by Vicente Villamón
This is no ordinary escalator: we are inside the 1958 Atomium in Brussels, Belgium. The moving staircase was first invented in the United States ay the end of the 19th century. Image by Gilderic Photography
The Old Factory of the Bell Telephone Company in Antwerp (1958, Belgium) has been transformed into a mix project providing both housing and part of the city's administration. Image by Roger Price
Finally we've got out of Europe, visiting the 1959 Guggenheim Museum in the Fifth Avenue of New York, United States.
Image by Atache
This is a Dresden office Building in Falkenbrunnen, with some colored ropes hanging down (Germany, 1995).
Image by Herr Böb
The City Hall of London, opened in 2002, features these wheels which are seemingly about to derail.
Image by Jim Crossley
The Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto (Canada), was refurbished by Frank Gehry in 2008, and instead of tearing apart the old museum, new ramps and stairs like this one were designed to connect with the original edifice. Image by Ian Muttoo
We could be inside a Space Odyssey landscape, but this is an unknown futuristic building in Berlin, Germany.
That’s enough for now, with this sample of 30 staircases. Have you missed any?
Image by Martin Müller