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Top 12 Amazing Facts About The Canton Tower

One of the most amazing towers in the world can be found in one of the biggest metropolitan areas on the planet, not surprisingly located in the People’s Republic of China.

In this article, you’ll discover the ultimate list of interesting facts about the Canton Tower, a multipurpose observation tower that held a remarkable record upon completion.

1. It’s located just east of the historical center of Guangzhou

The Canton Tower is a huge multi-purpose observation tower located in the Haizhu District of Guangzhou, the capital of the Guangdong province in South China.

This enormous city is located on the Pearl River and is situated about 120 kilometers (75 miles) north-northwest of Hong Kong and believe it or not, this is one metropolitan area that also features cities such as Dongguan and Shenzhen.

The tower was built in a nice area of the city full of historical buildings and can be found just east of the historical center of Guangzhou. It has been the most prominent landmark in the city and one of its popular tourist attractions as well.

Canton Tower location

2. It was the tallest tower on the planet upon completion in 2009

The groundbreaking ceremony of the tower took place in 2005 and the actual construction started in November 2005. The target was to get the tower ready for the 2010 Asian Games which were held in the city.

The tower topped out in August 2009 and instantly became the highest tower of its kind in the world. It stands 604 meters (1,982 feet) tall and surpassed the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, a tower that stands 553.3 meters (1,815.3 feet) high.

It didn’t hold this record for long, though, because it was subsequently surpassed by the Tokyo Skytree in March 2011, an observation tower that stands 634 meters (2,080 feet).

All of these towers are still dwarfed by Burj Khalifa, an incredible skyscraper that reaches an architectural height of 828 meters (2,717 feet) which makes it the tallest building in the world.

Canton Tower Guangzhou skyscrapers
View of the tall tower / Jo Sau /

3. It was designed by Dutch architects and based on a Ukrainian lighthouse

Art-Facts Youtube Channel

The tower was designed by a collaboration of Dutch architects named Barbara Kuit and Mark Hemel called “Information Based Architecture.” They won the international design contest launched by the company that commissioned the structure, the Guangzhou New Television Tower Group.

Although the tower is a prominent example of the Structural Expressionism architectural style, also known as “High-Tech Architecture,” the twisting design was based on the Adziogol Lighthouse near Odesa in Ukraine.

Originally designed by the Russian architect and engineer named Vladimir Shukhov, this hyperboloid structure is still one of the tallest traditional lighthouses in the world at a height of 64 meters (211 feet).

Adziogol Lighthouse
Adziogol Lighthouse / SNCH /

4. The tower is used for a wide variety of purposes

The tower is divided into multiple sections that each offer a wide variety of entertainment facilities. The lowest zone of the tower, between 80 to 170 meters (260 to 560 feet), is the most crowded as it features a 4D cinema, a gaming facility, restaurants, coffee shops, and even outdoor gardens with teahouses.

The part from the waist up features a rotating restaurant, various technical facilities that are used as radio and TV transmission facilities, and multiple observation platforms, the most popular feature of the tower.

The top section of the tower features a ride with cars that can carry between 4 and 6 people. They circle the upper rim of the tower, a roundtrip that takes anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes to complete.

Canton Tower tourist attraction

5. The observation deck provides stunning views of the city

The most popular attraction of the Canton Tower is the observation deck located at an elevation of 450 meters (1,476 feet) above the ground below. There are multiple platforms located near the top of the tower as well.

The highest observation platform was also the highest of its kind in the world until October 2014, the time that Burj Khalifa opened its second observation deck at an elevation of 555 meters (1,20 feet) above the ground.

As you surely expected, the views from these observation decks near the top of the tower are breathtaking.

Canton Tower observation deck view
View from the deck / Sparktour /

More interesting facts about the Canton Tower

6. The tower became operational in September of the year 2010, just before the start of the Asian Games that year. Before this happened, the tower was referred to as the “Guangzhou TV Astronomical and Sightseeing Tower.”

This name was deemed too long and a competition was held to find a more suitable name. The winning name was “Haixin Tower” which means “Tower in the Sea.” This is a reference to the history of the city as the start of the Silk Road in the east, a network of trade routes.

This was, however, deemed too farfetched and the official English name of the tower was decided as “Canton Tower,” the alternative name of Guangzhou and the Guangdong Province.

7. In the Hyperboloid design of the structure, the waist of the tower is situated at a height of 180 meters (590 feet) and the roof at a height of 450 meters (1,480 feet).

The section up to the waist features an open-air skywalk where visitors can choose to climb the tower themselves rather than take the elevator. This “Skywalk” is the longest of its kind in the world, spiraling upwards for nearly 170 meters (558 feet).

Canton Tower design

8. The tower not only became the tallest tower in the world but also the tallest structure in China. It held this record until August 3, 2013, the day that the Shanghai Tower topped out.

This incredible megatall skyscraper stands 632 meters (2,073 feet) above the ground below which makes it the second-tallest skyscraper in the world by architectural height.

9. The observation deck on top of the tower didn’t open until December 2011, over a year after the tower officially opened its doors. That’s simply because the tower wasn’t fully completed when the Asian Games of 2010 started over a year earlier.

10. The antenna of the Canton Tower weighs 1,550 tonnes (1,550,000 kilos) and its main body 98,450 tonnes (98,450,000 kilos). The total weight of this enormous structure exceeds 100,000 tonnes (100,000,000 kilos).

11. The total floor area of the tower is 114,054 square meters (1,227,700 square feet) which are divided over 37 floors and 2 basement levels. 9 elevators allow visitors to travel up and down these levels.

Just above the waist of the tower, there’s a huge tuned mass damper. This feature was integrated to reduce vibrations during earthquakes and prevent the tower from collapsing.

12. Dutch lighting designer Rogier van der Heide integrated the LED lighting system into the tower. He was working for global engineering firm Arup who was in charge of the structural engineering of the Canton Tower.

It’s fair to conclude that Rogier, a man who started his career working as a theater lighting designer, did an amazing job because the tower looks mesmerizing at night.

Guangzhou Tower lighting