While massive, China’s Tianjin Eye has never been a contender for world’s largest observation (or “ferris” as it used to be known) wheel, but thanks to its unique placement, suspended over the Hai River, this iconic attraction is almost even more impressive the record holder.
Completed in 2008, the huge wheel is one of handful of towering Chinese observation wheels. The giant attraction features almost 50 passenger compartments that can fit eight people at a time, spinning the little nodes almost 400 feet above the rushing waters of the Hai. The wheel is supported by tri-pronged struts that are attached to the Yongle Bridge underneath the wheel. During the daytime the wheel has an almost industrial feel to its stark white steel construction, but by night the perimeter of the ride lights up in a colorful neon display that can be seen all across the city. The reflection of the wheel in the river just serves to make the display doubly impressive.
At its maximum capacity, the Tianjin Eye can accommodate almost 800 riders an hour, making it almost as efficient at ferrying people as the commuter bridge beneath it. Drivers on the Yongle Bridge can wave to the people riding overhead and unlike anywhere else in the world, the riders on the wheel can wave at the boats traveling on the river.