Some of the most beautiful architecture in the world can also serve a very functional purpose: stairs. We need them to get so many places, yet often forget how amazing staircases can be. Here are 13 places from around the globe where a staircase has been elevated to a true art form.

Bridge-stair at the Traversinertobel, Switzerland
Bridge-stair at the Traversinertobel, Switzerland
The bridge over the Traversinertobel connects two different elevations over the gorge by creating a staircase. The two ends have a height difference of 22 meters, so put on your hiking boots before you head up this one.
Vatican Museum, Italy
Vatican Museum, Italy
Designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932, these broad steps in a spiral shape make up one of the most amazing staircases in the world.
Garvan Institute, Australia
Garvan Institute, Australia
These insane spirals at the Garvan Institute in Sydney, Australia will take you up five stories in style.
Loretto Chapel, USA
Loretto Chapel, USA
This wooden creation at the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, ascends twenty feet and is notable for its structure: it doesn't have any nails or apparent center support. The carpenter for the staircase is also unknown, prompting many myths as to its origins.
Tulip Staircase, England
Tulip Staircase, England
At the Queen's house in England, the elegantly crafted Tulip Stairs made history as the first geometric self-supporting spiral stairs in Britain. They're also gorgeous, too.
Lello Bookshop, Portugal
Lello Bookshop, Portugal
This amazing grand staircase in Lello Bookshop in Portugal resembles two streams of water meeting together and forming a single unit. The steps are deep and curvy and is the type of awe-inspiring architecture that's perfect for a reading experience.
16th Avenue Tiled Steps, San Francisco
16th Avenue Tiled Steps, San Francisco
Believed to be the world's largest mosaic staircase, this beauty was conceived by Irish ceramicist Aileen Barr and San Francisco mosaic artist Colette Crutcher.
"Umschreibung" at KPMG Building, Munich, Germany
This futuristic staircase was designed by Olafur Eliasson and was completed in 2004. It's in the courtyard of the global accounting firm KPMG in Munich.
Longchamp Store, New York
Longchamp Store, New York
Made in 1¼” hot-rolled steel, this stair landscape weighs 55 tons and is a marvel to behold.
Vertigo Staircase at the QVB Building, Australia
Vertigo Staircase at the QVB Building, Australia
This sight in Sydney's Grand Queen Victoria Building was designed by George McRae and completed in 1898. Its elaborate Romanesque architecture made it a shoo-in for this list.
Stairs of Peace, Syria
Stairs of Peace, Syria
Amidst conflict in their country, a group of Syrian students painted these steps and dubbed them the "Stairs of Peace."
Spiral Staircase in Taihang Mountains, China
Spiral Staircase in Taihang Mountains, China
A 300-foot staircase along a mountain face in the Taihang Mountains in Linzhou, China, isn't for those who are scared of heights. There's no safety protection required, so climb at your own risk.
Moses Bridge Stairs, Netherlands
Moses Bridge Stairs, Netherlands
Early 17th century Fort de Roovere is surrounded by a moat and was originally built without a bridge. Now it has an additional bridge to access it, though, and this unique staircase is part of it.

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