Top 10 Highest Buildings in Europe

The skylines of Europe’s biggest cities are constantly changing. In this list of the continent’s tallest buildings, only two are more than ten years old, and a remarkable six out of the ten are in Moscow, Europe’s newest powerhouse.

10. Messeturm, Frankfurt 842 feet, completed 1990

photo: timsdad / Wikicommons

This 55 storey landmark building is instantly recognisable because of the pyramid at its top. Its construction took two years, and when it was completed it was the tallest building in Europe, but now it is not even the tallest in Frankfurt. It has its own subway station, and its own postcode. ‘Messeturm’ translates into English as ‘Meeting Tower’, and the tenth floor of this building is a conference centre.

9. City of Capitals: Saint Petersburg Tower, Moscow 843 feet, completed 2010

City of Capitals I
photo: Andrey Klimenkov / Wikicommons

The ‘City of Capitals’ is a complex of high-rise buildings forming part of the International Business Centre district in Moscow. The Saint Petersburg tower has a distinctive segmented design, like a stack of offset blocks, and was constructed in a way which allowed final details of the design to be worked on even after building had started. It shares its basement levels, and four above-ground storeys, with the Moscow Tower.

8. Commerzbank Tower, Frankfurt 849 feet, completed 1997

Commerzbank Tower
photo: Mylius / Wikicommons

When it was completed in 1997, this tower replaced the Messeturm both as the tallest building in Frankfurt and also the tallest in Europe. It was designed with ecological features such as natural ventilation, and includes garden areas. The building provides office space for the bank which commissioned it.

7. Istanbul Sapphire, Istanbul 856 feet, completed 2011

Istanbul Sapphire
photo: Heide-Daniel / Wikicommons

The 54 above-ground floors of this skyscraper include flats, offices, shops and restaurants. There are a further ten floors below ground for parking and service areas, and the basement also includes a subway station. Ecological features include a double glass skin with computer-controlled sun shielding. Among the tourist attractions at the tower are a panoramic viewing platform and a simulated 4D helicopter ride over the city.

6. Triumph Palace, Moscow 867 feet, completed 2005

Triumph Palace

Housing over a thousand luxury apartments, this giant block is decorated with six large stained-glass panels and a stainless steel-faced spire which was installed using helicopters. In design, the building somewhat resembles the Seven Sisters, a series of high rise buildings erected in the city during the Stalinist era, so the Triumph Palace is sometimes referred to as the Eighth Sister.

5. Naberezhnaya Tower C, Moscow 881 feet, completed 2007

Naberezhnaya Tower
photo: Andrey Klimenkov / Wikicommons

With 61 storeys above ground and five more below, this curving green glass-faced office block is the tallest of a complex of three office towers, which are linked by common basement areas. The Naberezhnaya Tower was the tallest building in Europe for eleven months, before being overtaken by the next on the list.

4. City of Capitals: Moscow Tower, Moscow 990 feet, completed 2010

City of Capitals I
photo: Andrey Klimenkov / Wikicommons

This tower is a companion to the Saint Petersburg Tower, and has a similar segmented design, but with eleven more storeys. The Moscow Tower includes shops, restaurants, a gymnasium and cinemas as well as office space. The exterior is decorated with a pattern of dark and light terracotta tiles. Construction started in 2005, and took five years to complete.

3. Eurasia, Moscow 1,013 feet, completed 2014

photo: BpbAlonka / Wikicommons

This green tower combines hotel and office space, and for visitors with a good head for heights, has a scenic lift running up the outside. It also includes a casino, which occupies the whole of one of its 67 storeys. The Eurasia Tower is the tallest metal-framed building in this list, and has five levels below ground, linking the building to shopping malls and transport systems. Construction was delayed by financial problems, and the future of the partially-finished building was at one point uncertain.

2. The Shard, London 1,026 feet, completed 2012

The Shard
photo: Bjmullan / Wikicommons

The tallest building in Western Europe is this tapering hotel and office building near London Bridge. There are ten luxury flats at the top which were expected to be sold for up to £60 million each, but may be retained for use by the building’s Qatari owners. The Shard topped the list of Europe’s tallest buildings for just a few months before the Mercury City Tower was completed.

1. Mercury City Tower, Moscow 1,112 feet, completed 2012

Mercury City Tower
photo: Currannow / Wikicommons

Until the planned Federation Tower, also in Moscow, is built, this office and apartment block will remain Europe’s tallest building, but comes only thirty-fourth in the world rankings. Designed by the American architect Frank Williams, who died without seeing its completion, it has a a distinctive pink appearance resulting from the use of metallic cladding. It is claimed to be environmentally-friendly, making maximum use of natural light, and using local materials.