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The Shard

The Shard (117)

The Shard is an imposing skyscraper designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, a needle-form sculpture that emerges from the River Thames and was inspired by both the spires protruding from London's churches as well as the ships' masts that often featured in the works of Canaletto, a Venetian painter of the  18th century. 

This pyramidal steel and glass needle reaches 310 metres in height, making it the tallest skyscraper on the London skyline on the day of its inauguration in 2012, and also the tallest in the EU at the time. Its 95 floors house offices, bars, restaurants, a luxury hotel (which occupies the central part of the building), a spa (in the hotel), residential units and, of course, a spectacular viewing area from where one can enjoy 360º views of the best London sunsets imaginable. 

Views that some are privileged enough to enjoy throughout the year. Yes, that's right, those who live here. Where? In The Shard's private apartments, no less, of which there are only 10, one per floor. Asking prices range from 30 to 50 million pounds sterling. A luxury that is within the reach of very few.

The inauguration of The Shard on the 5th of July, 2012, was attended the Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabor Al Thani, owner of 95% of the building. For the inaugural event a spectacular laser and light show bathed the Shard in colour. 

The structure's spectacular architecture attracted one million visitors in the first year, and its bars and restaurants continue to attract up to 6000 customers every day, not to mention the tens of thousands of tourists waiting to stay at the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel, which opened its doors in May, 2014. Record figures, without a doubt! It is not surprising that Londoners have so fondly embraced this architectural giant.

Be sure not to miss The View from the Shard, or simply The View, the name given to the viewing area which, along with the London Eye, offer the best panoramic views of the city. Having said that, the height of The View, which is located on the 68th, 69th and 72nd floors, almost doubles that of the famous Ferris wheel. Boasting a dozen digital telescopes that in their day were an absolute first in Europe, the Shard once again proves it is ahead of the field. 

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was entrusted with officiating the opening ceremony of The View, which took place on the 1st of February, 2013. More than 5000 people had already bought tickets to be the first to enjoy the fantastic views of the city. And among these 5000 there is a beautiful story of a young man from Essex, James Episcou, who bought two tickets to The View, one for him and one for his girlfriend, to whom he proposed marriage on the same day. And they say romance is dead! These lovebirds were the protagonists of the first love story to take place at the top of this singular building, but rest assured it won't be the last!

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