They don’t instantly come to mind as great attractions, but there are some gorgeous steps around the world that are too beautiful or interesting to be ignored. You’ll find them in all sorts of places and on all five continents. Some are the work of amateurs, others by professional artists. They are impactful and awesome. Some tell a story, some simply provide beauty. Here are some of the world’s most beautiful steps.
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Peace Steps, Deir Atieh, Syria
I’m starting with this example because not only is it a set of gorgeous steps but it has a heart-warming story. The steps are in the town of Deir Atieh in war-torn Syria. A group of students led by architect student Salmo Al-Batal decided to paint the longest public steps in the town so show that Syria is a land of colors not blood and to bring a smile and a little love and peace to the beleaguered townsfolk.
Piano Stairs, Valparaiso, Chile
Valparaiso is a very colorful city. See it from a distance and it is truly kaleidoscopic with brightly colored houses climbing the hillside. It is this very fact that the city is fairly step that means her are numerous public staircases and steps and a good number of them have been painted in bright colors in keeping with the rest of the city. The piano steps may not be the brightest but they sure are fun.
Penguins, Busan, South Korea
I can’t tell you much about these because there is little information but the pictures sure are cute. What I can tell you is that they are in a district of Gamcheon in Busan, South Korea’s second largest city. This was once a slum area of Busan but the neighborhood has regenerated with lots of the buildings sporting wall art and lots of darling little street cafés.
La Scala Di Santa Maria Del Monte, Caltagirone, Sicily
With a long tradition of ceramic making, the town of Caltagirone in central-southern Sicily self-advertises with ceramic tiles and mosaics featuring in many public spaces and buildings. The best example is definitely the risers of the stairway leading up to the Church of Saint Maria. Each of the risers of the 142 steps features a set of hand-painted ceramic tiles featuring diverse subjects from abstract to nature and professions. The steps are hundreds of years old but the tiles were installed in the 1950s.
The Passage, Chattanooga, USA
I love these. So they aren’t brightly colored in the way all the other steps included in my list, but they are so beautiful in their message and surely they are unique. The Passage links Downtown Chattanooga with the Tennessee River. Its poignant significance is that it marks the beginning of the Trail of Tears, the enforced journey of the Cherokee tribes from Ross’s Landing to Oklahoma, a journey during which 4,000 Native Americans perished. The passage includes symbols of the seven clans of the Cherokee Nation and a weeping wall to represent the tears of the people forced from their home.
Holsteiner Steps, Wuppertal, Germany
The steps were painted by Horst Glasker in between 2006 and 2008. From a distance this looks like a simply gorgeous mix of bright colors applied to the 112 steps. Get closer and you’ll see that each step also has painted on it a different German word. Words include joy, luck, peace, honesty, rage, mother and honor.
16th Avenue, San Francisco, USA
The stunning mosaic steps have become one of the most recent additions to the great attractions of San Francisco. Beautiful ceramic mosaic tiles cover 163 steps between 16th Avenue and Moraga, the result of a community project. The design was overseen by artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher and the tiles were made by 300 neighbors. The project was completed in 2005.
Happy Stairs, Beirut, Lebanon
This is just one example of a number of painted steps around the Lebanese capital. Public stairways are decorated as part of Paint Up! The project is being undertaken by Dihzahyners, a team of artists who want to bring energy and vigor to the city through public art – one bright and beautiful step at a time.
Escadaria Selarón, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
One of the most famous painted steps in the world, the Selarón steps were painted by Chilean artist Jorge Selarón as a tribute to the Brazilian people. Selarón traveled the world before settling in Rio in 1983. The steps are next to his home running between Joaquim Silva Street and Pinto Martins Street, the 250 steps are covered in 2,000 tiles collected from all around the world. It was ever evolving with the artist reworking and constantly changing his creation.
I love all these gorgeous steps. There were others I would love to have mentioned too like more in Valparaiso, the rainbow staircase in Istanbul and of course Rome’s Spanish Steps (even though they aren’t painted.) Have you seen any beautiful steps you’d like to tell us about?
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