Looming over Xinyi, and indeed the whole of Taipei, Taipei 101 (台北一零一; táiběi yīlíngyī) became the world’s tallest building on completion in 2003 – it was overtaken by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa (828m) in 2009. Designed by Taiwanese architect C.Y. Lee to resemble a stalk of bamboo, it is 508m (and 101 floors) tall. The entrance is on the fifth floor of the shopping mall on Xinyi Road (see p.101), where the world’s fastest elevators shoot to the top in just 37 seconds. Up on the 89th floor, the indoor observatory provides unparalleled views of the city and the surrounding mountains, while you’ll get a hair-raising perspective from the outdoor gallery on the 91st floor. A free audio-guide provides commentary on the views, but don’t miss the massive steel-plated damper in the centre, which at 660 tonnes is the world’s largest and helps stabilize the building in case of typhoons.

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