Before the Industrial Revolution, buildings took decades and even centuries to complete, and the heights of the structures paled in comparison to today's skyscrapers. The first tallest structure on Earth was the Great Pyramid of Giza, which held the record for millennia before being ousted by Lincoln Cathedral in 1311. This 512-foot structure took 126 years to build, but lost its title when a wind storm took out the cathedral's tall spire. Buildings that later held the top spot were actually shorter than the cathedral was with the spire -- like St. Mary's Church, which was only 495 feet. Compare that to Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which, at 2,717 feet, is currently the tallest building in the world.
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Key Facts In This Video
The construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza took two decades to complete. 00:40
Rouen Cathedral in Normandy took more than 700 years to complete, and only held the record as world's tallest building for four years. 04:06