The London Eye, operated by Merlin Entertainments, is a mammoth Ferris wheel designed to carry passengers high into the air, providing panoramic views of the landscape on all sides. At the time of its creation in 1999 it was acclaimed as the world’s biggest Ferris wheel. Located in central London on the banks of the river Thames, it is one of the city’s most significant modern creations. It is Europe’s largest Ferris wheel and has now achieved the status of Britain’s most popular paid attraction for tourists.
Still the highest cantilevered observation wheel in the world, the London Eye was considered a huge challenge that was successfully undertaken with the best of state-of-the-art British technology. A masterpiece of the latest architecture, design and engineering, the Eye is considered to be a demonstration of inspired imagination and groundbreaking design. A highly talented panel of experts was entrusted with the conceptualization and design of this one-of-a-kind construction.
The wheel rotates 32 air-conditioned sealed capsules, representing the 32 London boroughs. Each capsule, weighing 10 tons, has the capacity to accommodate 25 persons who are free to walk around or remain seated while the wheel raises them 135 meters into the air. The view from the pinnacle is truly breathtaking, providing a spectacular vista of the surrounding areas. The wheel takes about half an hour for one revolution, a speed that is slow enough for passengers to enter the capsules and disembark at ground level without stopping the motion of the wheel.
The rim of the wheel is connected to the centre with tie rods, similar to an immense bicycle wheel. The total weight of the steel in the Eye amounts to no less than 1,700 tons; the construction included components from six European countries, namely the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, The Czech Republic and France.
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