World Trade Center
The Twin Towers

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The World Trade Center was originally a complex of seven buildings in Lower Manhattan. They were destroyed by terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. A new complex is currently under construction.

Today a new complex, known as the ‘new WTC’, has risen like a phoenix at the site. A memorial to the victims of the attacks now occupies the location of the former Twin Towers.

The Twin Towers

World Trade Center

World Trade Center

The two towers were different in height: the first one, built in 1972, reached a height of 417 meters and the second one, finished one year later, measured 415 meters. The One World Trade Center was the tallest building in the world until 1974, when the Willis Tower was built in Chicago. At the time of their destruction, the Twin Towers still ranked in the top 10 of the highest buildings in the world and dominated the skyline of Lower Manhattan.

The World Trade Center was a project started up in 1960 by David Rockefeller. The towers were sometimes nicknamed David and Nelson, the Rockefeller brothers. The design came from Minoru Yamasaki and Emery Roth & Sons. The monolithic Twin Towers were never seen as great architecture, but it certainly was a great engineering feat.

The Terrorist Attacks

Ground Zero, WTC, NYC

Ground Zero, July 2002

The Building never received the attention the Empire State Building gets. But it first became world news when, on Friday Feb. 23, 1993 at 12:18, a bomb exploded in the World Trade Center. The explosion killed 6 and wounded at least 1000 people. Muslim fundamentalists have been convicted for the bombing.

The second time the WTC became world news was on the tragic day September 11, 2001, when 2 hijacked planes crashed into the twin towers. Not much later, the towers imploded. Almost 3000 people died in this cowardly terrorist attack by muslims. The site of the towers – a gaping wound – became known as ‘ground zero’.


New WTC under construction

The new WTC

Plans to build a new WTC were launched shortly after the destruction of the original WTC Towers. Instead of rebuilding the Twin Towers, it was decided to create a memorial at the site and build five new towers around the memorial.

Already in 2006 one of the towers – Seven WTC, a 52-story skyscraper – was completed. The whole complex, including the landmark 1 WTC tower with a symbolic height of 541 meters or 1,776 ft (The US declared its independence from the British in 1776) was completed in 2013. One World Observatory, the observation deck on floors 100 to 102, opened to the public May 29, 2015, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.


WTC Memorial, New York City

9/11 Memorial

A memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack on the WTC was unveiled on September 11, 2011. The memorial, dubbed ‘Reflecting Absence’, has cascading waterfalls with illuminated reflecting pools at the exact site of the former towers. The memorial design by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker was chosen during a competition which attracted more than 5,200 submissions.

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