You can see into North Korea from this very big wheel
But you'll have to have a really good head for heights - it's the biggest 'spokeless' one in the world
Look smart people, you now have a reason - a big reason - to visit Weifang on China’s east coast. The city has just inaugurated the world's largest spokeless Ferris wheel, one which at 145m tall, dwarfs the London Eye by a full 10metres.
It was built by China Construction Sixth Engineering Division. The firm’s general superintendent Sun Xuping explains that “the body of the Ferris Wheel does not rotate, instead, a built-in running gear rotates the cars around the circle.”
Named the Bailang Bridge Ferris Wheel, it has 36 pods, each of which can carry up to 10 people. On a clear day and with a strong pair of binoculars, you should be able to see across the Yellow Sea to Pyongyang in North Korea - that is if you can bare to drag yourself away from the TV sets, which – somewhat bizarrely – have been installed in each carriage.
Xuping and his team perhaps learnt some lessons from the ill-fated Turn of Fortune. This centreless, non-rotating Ferris Wheel began construction in the Chinese city Changzhou in 2009. However, building work repeatedly stalled, and let’s just say that its completion is yet to be publicly announced.
The recent spate of Ferris Wheels, which was kicked off by Marks Barfield’s 2000 London Eye offering, now includes Gensler’s Moscow View, and the Singapore Flyer - Asia’s biggest observation wheel – by Kisho Kurokawa. Got a head for heights? Then head to China. If you don't, content yourself with some of the world's smallest structures or more specifically Japan's smallest structures in Mobitecture. And if you'd like to see more of North Korea (without getting acrophobic) check out our forthcoming book on the Hermit kingdom, Made in North Korea.