Hundred Dragons Elevator

Bailong Elevator, also known as the Hundred Dragons Elevator, is a glass elevator built into the side of a rocky mountain range full of thousands of sandstone columns that rise up thousands of feet in the Wulingyuan area of Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China. At 1,070 feet (330m) high, construction of the elevator started in 1999 and was completed in 2002. The project encountered intense opposition from environmental groups who cited the World Heritage Site designation as the main reason for their disagreement. The total investment for the project was 120million yuan, about $20 million.

0123 highest elevator
Bailong Elevator. Photo: Scoopwhoop

To build the Hundred Dragon Elevator, tunnels and shafts had to be dug into the quartz sandstone column carefully chosen to house the elevator. With five million visitors to the region each year the area was already suffering from excessive tourism but work went on.

According to Industrytap, following completion, this modern-day creation obtained not one but three Guinness Book of World Records awards! First, it’s the tallest full-exposure outdoor elevator, second, it’s the world’s tallest double-deck sightseeing elevator, and third, it’s the world’s fastest passenger traffic elevator with the biggest carrying capacity.

The project has seen its share of setbacks. After the project was opened to the public in 2002 it was soon temporarily shut down to address safety concerns

The project was an achievement of a team of many dozens of mostly Chinese contractors and suppliers. For example, Qinhuangdao Photelectric provided the elevator load weighing control system, VIC card management, energy-saving devices, an earthquake detector, and the entrance detectors for the elevator. controllers to provide accurate weighing of the elevators and their passengers.

According to World of Industries, the outdoor elevator takes tourists to the peak of a precipitous sandstone rock formation in the Wulingyuan region. The landscape was used as a model for the Hallelujah mountains in the movie ‘Avatar’. As the glass elevator doors slides to one side, approximately 40 travellers enter the cage; people begin to talk loudly and an amenable chaos ensues. Everyone wants to have one of the most desirable spots along the glass walls of the lift. Excitement and anticipation hangs in the air. A few seconds after the elevator starts to move, it becomes clear why: The glass cage leaves the rock shaft through which it runs for the initial 150 m of the travelling distance, and a breath-taking view is opened up to the passengers, who gasp in delight.

People's concerns

A lot of people thought that this elevator in the mountains was not a good idea as far as the environmental perspective is concerned. However, the authorities disagreed as they believed that the project would aid in the protection of the world heritage site rather than damaging it. Hotels, guesthouses, and other accommodation facilities in the area have been demolished already. Along with the reduction in travel time, it will reduce the negative impact on the environment. Despite the vast opposition, Chinese authorities supported its construction and claimed that the Environmental benefits of the project outweigh the bad effects.