Quiz: Can You Identify These Famous Tall Buildings?
Can You Identify These Famous Tall Buildings?
By: Beth Hendricks
Image: Xiaodong Qiu / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Rising in the sky to nearly 500 feet, the Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest building in the world for more than 3,800 years. Since then, the race has been on among nations and municipalities to construct the next "big" thing — literally! Skyscrapers began dotting the landscape in earnest in New York City and Chicago in the 1880s. Not only were they interesting to look at and created an imposing city skyline, but they were practical additions to crowded cities where "growing up" offered more real estate than expanding outward did.

Today, some of the tallest buildings in the world exist outside the United States, standing as symbols of wealth and prosperity and serving as a focal point for a city or tourists. And, it seems just as soon as a building tops the "World's Tallest Buildings" list, a new structure comes along that's just slightly taller and more grandiose to eclipse the previous front-runner.

In this quiz, we've curated a list of 40 of the most famous tall buildings in the world. Read the clues, check the photos and see how aware you are of the skyline-transforming structures that dot our world, from New York City to Shanghai and everywhere in between!

1 of 40
This New York City landmark offers 80-mile views from its observation deck, and was featured in the movie "Elf."

New York's Empire State Building is a popular attraction in the City That Never Sleeps, offering 80-mile views on a clear day from its observation deck. Standing more than 1,200 feet high, it took only a little over a year for builders to complete.

2 of 40
This building in London's financial district is affectionately called by a name you can find in the pickle aisle at the grocery store.

Formally known as 30 St Mary Axe, the Gherkin earned its popular nickname for its distinctive pickle-shaped appearance. Today, it houses offices and restaurants in 500,000 square feet of space.

3 of 40
Situated in the "City By the Bay," this iconic structure is not an actual pyramid, though its name says otherwise.

The Transamerica Pyramid Center is actually neither a pyramid nor owned by Transamerica, a company that was acquired by AEGON USA, Inc., in 1999. It was San Francisco's tallest building until crews broke ground on a new skyscraper in 2018.

4 of 40
A new building with its own history, this structure was built on the site of the deadly terrorist attacks that took place September 11, 2001.

One World Trade Center is part of a rebuilding effort for the World Trade Center buildings that were destroyed on September 11. It is New York's tallest building and the sixth tallest building in the world.

5 of 40
Though many people still refer to this Chicago skyscraper as Sears Tower, it has a new official moniker.

The Sears Tower, completed in the early 1970s, became the Willis Tower, named for one of its tenants — the Willis Group. It is a beloved Chicago tourist destination, hosting more than one million visitors annually — most of whom hope to capture photos from its 103rd-floor Skydeck.

6 of 40
Standing more than 2,700 feet in the air, this building holds several records, including "tallest building," "highest number of stories" and "longest elevator ride."

Located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Burj Khalifa was said to have been designed to mimic the look of a regional bloom known as a spider lily. In addition to its other record, it also has the world's highest outdoor observation deck for visitors.

7 of 40
This London landmark was originally conceived as a drawing on the back of a restaurant menu.

Locals often refer to this building of the Shard of Glass, a nod to its unique design. The Shard houses private residences as well as a variety of commercial retailers, offices and restaurants.

8 of 40
This Los Angeles structure had to obtain special permission to forego a flat-roof design.

The Wiltshire Grand was able to bypass a fire ordinance in Los Angeles requiring buildings over a certain height to have a flat roof to enable helicopter access in the event of an emergency. Completed in 2017, its fire enhancements were superior enough to forego the typically-required design.

9 of 40
Named after the world's largest land mammal, this building's "eyes" are represented by gigantic windows.

Thailand pays tribute to its national animal in the simply-named Elephant Building located in its capital of Bangkok. With windows for "eyes" and dark glass rooms as the "tail," this building resembles a 560-foot-long elephant.

10 of 40
This Beijing building is often called "big pants" by locals.

The CMG Headquarters building is unique not for its height, but for its three-dimensional design, earning it the nickname "Big Pants." Its open center lends to the building's nickname and unusual look.

11 of 40
You may never have driven this type of car, but you can still visit a building that bears its name in the Big Apple.

The Chrysler building held onto the title of "World's Tallest Building" until the Empire State Building took the crown just a year later. Walter Chrysler, of Chrysler Motors fame, bought the building to serve as not only the home base of his business but also as a trophy to represent how successful he had become.

12 of 40
According to Guinness World Records, this building is the tallest unoccupied structure in the world.

Located in North Korea, work on this building began in the late 1980s, but stopped just five years later due to an economic downturn. It has never been completed, despite additional attempts to open it since 2008.

13 of 40
This skyscraper was developed by famed architect I.M. Pei and was inspired by a plant that grows in water.

The Bank of China Tower, a vision of Pritzker Prize-winner I.M. Pei, was inspired by the bamboo plant. Both the plant and the building are said to represent revitalization in the Chinese culture.

14 of 40
Not one building but two, these tall structures earned their own commissioned poem.

Located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, The Petronas Twin Towers hold the record for world's tallest twin towers. They are connected by a bridge that holds its own record as the highest two-story bridge in the world.

15 of 40
This Tokyo, Japan-based building was named for its resemblance to an insect creation.

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower earned its name for its design that resembles a cocoon spun by caterpillars. A representation of growth and development, it is aptly-named as it hosts two vocational schools and a college.

16 of 40
This structure in Dubai has been voted "world's most luxurious hotel" multiple times.

Burj al Arab is renowned for its sailboat-like shape and was once dubbed a "seven-star hotel," alluding to the destination being in a class by itself. A stay here will set you back at least $1,000 a night.

17 of 40
At home in Barcelona, this building boasts 4,500 LED panels that light up and change colors at night.

Torre Glòries, formerly Torre Agbar, puts on quite a light show at night that can produce upward of 16 million colors on the outside of the building. It was designed to represent a geyser shooting into the sky.

18 of 40
You aren't seeing things, this Swedish building really is twisted in the air.

Turning Torso draws its inspiration from a marble sculpture known as "Twisting Torso." From bottom to top, the building undergoes a 90-degree turn. It is also known for its sustainability: All of the energy used in the building is renewable.

19 of 40
When this resort opened, it was the world's most expensive standalone casino.

Sitting on Marina Bay in Singapore, this resort complex is host to a casino, hotel, restaurants, theaters and museums. The architect behind the build said he was inspired by a deck of cards in his design.

20 of 40
This building's name sounds more like a college class but is actually a nod to its number of floors.

Taipei 101 features 101 floors and was known formerly as the Taipei World Financial Center. It has the distinction of being the world's tallest "green" building, winning awards for its water recycling system built into the building's facade.

21 of 40
This structure, on Chicago's East Side, earned the name "Big Stan" for its original tenant, Standard Oil Company of Indiana.

The Aon Center, formerly the Amoco Building and the Standard Oil Building before it, has had a bit of an identity crisis since it was finished in 1974. Its 1,136 feet in height makes it Chicago's third-tallest skyscraper.

22 of 40
It didn't take too long to complete this one: This building in Shenzhen, China, grew four stories nearly every week during construction.

Encased in green glass, Shun Hing Square is also called the Diwang Building. It earned that name for the piece of land it sits on; at the time it was auctioned off, it was the most expensive tract of land in the city.

23 of 40
A residential skyscraper in New York City, this building took the place of the historic 500-room hotel.

432 Park Avenue overlooking Central Park now sits on the site of the former Drake Hotel, which was purchased for more than $400 million in 2006 and subsequently torn down to make room for this luxury high-rise.

24 of 40
This building, located in Shenzen, China, features a curved design, created to be reminiscent of a fountain of water.

The KK100 building is described as a mixed-use facility that includes residential housing, office space, a transportation hub, hotel and more. The building has "fins" on the outside that tenants can use to reduce glare on upper floors.

25 of 40
Situated in a city that millions flock to annually, this building features the world's largest clock face.

The Makkah Royal Clock Tower is one of seven government-owned hotels in Saudi Arabia, located near the Muslim holy site known as the Great Mosque of Mecca. It replaced the historic Ajyad Fortress, which was demolished to make room for the new complex.

26 of 40
This free-standing structure in Toronto was built by a railway company, using around-the-clock workers to complete it.

CN Tower, named for railway company Canadian National, was built over a period of 40 months, using more than 1,500 workers 24 hours a day. The American Society of Civil Engineers named it one of the "modern Seven Wonders of the World" in 1995.

27 of 40
A rumor that circulated about this 47-story Spanish skyscraper having no elevator was later debunked.

Located in Benidorm, Spain, InTempo is the tallest building in Spain not located in Madrid. Rumors of the 47-story building having no elevator were deemed to be false, but construction has spanned 13 year since the plans for the building were first introduced in 2006.

28 of 40
A time capsule placed in this building in 1968 was recently opened to reveal a variety of items, ranging from a piece of the Eiffel Tower to a baseball signed by every member of the 1968 Cubs.

875 North Michigan Avenue, formerly known as the John Hancock Center, is located in Chicago's Magnificent Mile. The swimming pool on the 44th floor is the highest indoor swimming pool in the United States.

29 of 40
This building in Paris is second only to the city's world-famous Eiffel Tower.

Renovations on Tour First that began in 2007 significantly altered the appearance of this skyscraper, added additional feet to its height and positioned it as a "green" building thanks to increased energy efficiency.

30 of 40
This skyscraper in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is the tallest building in the island country.

Landmark 81, named for the building's 81 floors, is situated on the Saigon River. Housing a hotel, retail stores and an IMAX movie theater, it was built at a cost of roughly $1.4 billion.

31 of 40
Located in Beijing, this tall building earned its nickname for being reminiscent of a vessel used to hold wine.

China Zun, officially known as CITIC Tower, was recently completed, making it the new tallest structure in China's capital city. It may well hold that title for some time, given new regulations on building height restrictions in that country.

32 of 40
This building, located in Germany, features nine "sky gardens" among its 56 stories.

Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt, Germany, features nine themed gardens, which not only provides for additional light throughout the building, but can also be used as meeting or break spaces for employees housed there.

33 of 40
This tall steel and glass structure houses a publication whose tagline is, "All the news that's fit to print."

The New York Times building on New York City's Eighth Avenue rises 52 stories in the sky and houses the staff of the nearly 170-year-old newspaper. Retailers on the ground floor of the building are accessible to non-Times employees.

34 of 40
This Russian skyscraper, the tallest in Europe, houses a planetarium and amphitheater, among other amenities.

The Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg, Russia, serves as the headquarters for Russian energy company, Gazprom. It also has features open to the public including an education center and an observation deck.

35 of 40
This building in Florida is the tallest residential structure on the East Coast south of New York City.

So named for its panoramic views that can stretch as far as Ft. Lauderdale, this newly-constructed Miami apartment building has amenities ranging from a golf simulator to a soundproof music room.

36 of 40
Located in Saudi Arabia, the initial plan for this building was to extend one mile into the sky.

Though subsequent plans have diminished the building's planned height to more than 3,200 feet high, the Jeddah Tower — once completed — will serve as the epicenter of the Jeddah Economic City project.

37 of 40
You can observe downtown New York City from this complex's popular "Top of the Rock."

Rockefeller Center, a collection of 19 different buildings, houses an observation deck dubbed "Top of the Rock." Rockefeller Center, and its adjoining plaza, are also well-known for the ice skating rink and annual Christmas tree lighting.

38 of 40
The design of this building was crafted with the possibility of withstanding major earthquakes in mind.

Salesforce Tower, completed in early 2018, surpassed Transamerica Pyramid as San Francisco's tallest building. Its design was implemented in such a way that the building could safely withstand any powerful earthquake in the area.

39 of 40
Named for a body part, this London landmark resembles a giant carnival Ferris wheel.

The London Eye, an observation wheel that has become a common sight on the River Thames, was once the world's tallest Ferris wheel. It is still one of London's most beloved tourist attractions.

40 of 40
This church in England held the title of tallest building in the world for more than 200 years, following the Great Pyramid of Giza.

At the time of its construction, Lincoln Cathedral soared over the Great Pyramid of Giza, which had been the world's tallest structure to that point. Its height is not the cathedral's only claim to fame: It once held one of only four copies of the Magna Carta.

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