Bailong elevator - the world's tallest and fastest outdoor elevator
Location show on map
Wulingyuan, Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China
Date of build
September 1999 to April 2002
Bailong elevator is the fastest elevator in the world, it takes only one and a half minutes to travel from the bottom to the observation point located 326 meters above. It used to travel at a speed of 3 meters per second, but after an upgrade in 2013, the speed has increased to 5 m/s. The cable time also decreased from 1 minute and 58 seconds, to 66 seconds, after the 2015 upgrade.
The elevator was built into a carefully selected quartz sandstone cliff wall, and tunnels and shafts were dug into the cliff to accommodate three two-level elevators with glass walls.
Because they did not want to upset the balance of the park, the elevator was built in a unique way: at a total height of 326 meters, the lower 154 meters are embedded in the mountain wall, while the upper 172 meters consist of exposed steel scaffolding.
Each of the elevator's three decks is capable of carrying a weight of 4,900 kg, which is equivalent to the weight of about 64 passengers.
The elevator carries 1,380 people per hour in one carriage. So the elevator together can handle 4000 passengers per hour.
Before the construction of the elevator, tourists wishing to reach the viewpoint had to ascend the trails, which took on average 1.5 - 2 hours.
The structure holds 3 awards listed in the Guinness Book of World Records: the world's tallest floor observation elevator, the world's tallest outdoor full exposition elevator, and the world's fastest passenger elevator with the highest load capacity.
The construction of the elevator was controversial, as there was opposition to the massive construction in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Zhangjiajie Park. The arguments were that the elevator would reduce the wear and tear associated with foot traffic on the site, and would also allow visitors to see the park in one day, thus removing many hotels and guest houses, which would reduce the destruction of the park. After hearing these arguments, approval was given for its construction, and many hotels were also demolished, greatly affecting the destruction of the park's pedestrian trails.
Thanks to the Bailong elevator, each year nearly 4 million tourists have the opportunity to see the famous Hallelujah Mountains from the movie Avatar, while minimizing their impact on the environment.
In Chinese, the word "bai" means "hundred" and long means "dragons", so the name of the Bailong Elevator actually means "Hundred Dragon Elevator", which is how it is often referred to.