Tall, taller, tallest! The race to have the tallest or biggest structure in the world is nothing new. Taller towers, higher buildings, and bigger bridges never cease to amaze us as countries the world over showcase their building prowess year after year. The latest entrant into this race for supremacy seems to be the humble flagpole. From a 100 meter tall flagpole which left the world in awe, to a taller flagpole at 160 meters in 1980, the tallest flagpole in the world now stands at a whopping height of 170 meters. In the bid to showcase their patriotism, certain countries around the world have made sure that their flags are visible from every corner of the city, fluttering as high as a skyscraper. Rather interestingly, almost all these towering flagpoles are in Asia.
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (170 meters)
The tallest flagpole in the world is located at King Abdullah Square in Jeddah, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Standing at a towering 170 meters, the flagpole knocked every other country out of the competition for the title of the tallest in the world. The flag was built in three stages, beginning with the base and the creation of a twenty-eight-meter picket. In the second stage, the base was further strengthened and then the fifteen-ton vertical column was finally fitted. The Saudi Arabian flag which is flown from this pole weighs five hundred and seventy kilograms.
Dushanbe, Tajikistan (165 meters)
The Dushanbe flagpole was the tallest free-standing flagpole when it was erected in 2011, standing tall at 165 meters. It continued to remain at the top until it was upstaged by the Jeddah flagpole in 2014. Fabrication of the sections of the pole was completed in Dubai and then shipped to Dushanbe where construction began on Tajikistan‘s National Flag Day, November 24, 2010. The flag that proudly flutters from this flagpole weighs a massive 700 kilograms.
Baku, Azerbaijan (162 meters)
The 162-meter high flagpole in National Flag Square Baku, Azerbaijan holds a flag measuring 70 x 35 meters. The flagpole at Baku also had the distinction of being the tallest flagpole in the world before the other taller flagpoles were constructed. The flagpole at Baku was built by the same American affiliated company that built the flagpole at Dushanbe. As of June 2019, the National Flag Square has been closed to the public. According to people in the region, the flag has been taken down to be replaced by an even taller structure.
Kijongdong, North Korea (160 meters)
In the 1980s, the ‘flagpole’ standoff between the Koreas saw North Korea go one up on the South by building this towering flagpole in the ‘propaganda village’ of Kijongdong. Prior to this, South Korea had built a 98.4m tall flagpole that flew a 130-kilogram flag in the opposite village of Daeseong-dong. North Korea’s response was a 160m tall flagpole waving a huge 270kg flag. This flagpole became the tallest in the world and held onto the spot for about two decades.
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (133 meters)
The 5th tallest free-standing flagpole in the world stands at 133 meters in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The flag was erected on 26 June 2008. Many countries that were once a part of the USSR erected tall flagpoles to commemorate the historic milestone of their separation from it.
Aqaba, Jordan (131 meters)
Standing close to the seashore at a height of 130 meters, the Aqaba flag is visible from three countries – Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Constructed in 2004, the flagpole flies the flag of the Arab Revolt, commemorating the 1917 Battle of Aqaba in Jordan.
Amman, Jordan (126.8 meters)
The Raghadan Flagpole in Amman, Jordan was built from steel and erected on the Raghadan Palace grounds. The 126.8-meter flagpole was officially inaugurated by King Abdullah II of Jordan on 10 June 2003. The flag can be seen from a distance of 20km and is also illuminated at night. During bad weather, the noise created by strong winds is so great that the flag has to be lowered.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (122 meters)
This giant flagpole standing at 122m on the Corniche breakwaters in Abu Dhabi was once the tallest free-standing flagpole in the world. The flagpole at Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates is hailed as the inspiration for spearheading the quest for the tallest flagpoles in the world. It was erected in December 2001 to commemorate the country’s 30th national day and claimed the top spot in tallest flagpoles until 2003.
Wagah, Pakistan (122 meters)
Sharing the 8th spot with Abu Dhabi is Pakistan’s flagpole at the Wagah border. Very similar to the ‘flag war’ between the Koreas, Pakistan went one up on India when it hoisted a 400-foot high flag on August 14, 2017, during the 70th independence day celebrations. In March that same year, India had inaugurated a 360m high flagpole at Attari in the same area.
Sheboygan, United States (120 meters)
The flagpole located on the headquarters of the Acuity Company’s campus between Milwaukee and Green Bay in the United States, is said to be 100 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. At 120 meters, the flagpole is touted as the tallest in the world which flies an American flag. Each stripe of the iconic flag is over 1.5 meters high and each star is about a meter wide. During bad weather, the flag is taken down. It also flies at half-mast during official observances.
Belagavi (Belgaum), India (110 meters)
Erected at Fort Lake in the city of Belagavi, India, the tallest flagpole in the country standing at 110 meters was inaugurated in March 2018. The flagpole at Belagavi surpassed the Indian flag at the Attari-Wagah border near Amritsar by 1 foot. In March 2017, the Indian government proudly unfurled the tallest flag at Attari but strong winds resulted in severely damaging the flag which was replaced four times.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (100 meters)
Kuala Lumpur has the distinction of being the first country to have one of the tallest flagpoles in the world. The 100-meter tall flag pole in Merdeka Square was constructed at the same spot where the Malaysian flag was hoisted for the first time after the Union Jack was lowered. The flagpole in North Korea superseded the iconic flagpole at Kuala Lumpur in 1980.
Just So You Know:
- The flagpole at Kuala Lumpur was the tallest in the world for over 20 years before it was replaced by North Korea which held onto the spot for 21 years.
- The oldest flag in the world is the Flag of Scotland (The Scotland Saltire) which originated in 832 AD.
- The flag of Denmark holds the Guinness World Record for the oldest continuously used national flag, since its inception in 1307.