Developer Richard L. Friedman broke ground Wednesday on his 700-foot tower at 1 Dalton Street in Boston. It’s the tallest skyscraper to be built in town for more than 40 years. When completed, it will be the third tallest building in the city – after the 790-foot John Hancock Tower and the 749-foot Prudential Center. While we all know that size isn’t the only thing that matters, big buildings are certainly one way to gage how a city measures up on the world’s stage. Famed for it’s inferiority complex, Boston is now officially a player in the planet’s premiere “world class city” competition – the Olympics. So how does Boston’s tallest building measure up against those in some of the other cities expected to vie for the 2024 Summer Games? Have a look.

Paris, France

France’s tallest building is that icon of icons, the Eiffel Tower. When it was completed in 1889, the 986-foot architectural marvel was the tallest building in the world. At the time Boston had yet to erect a building taller than 200 feet, and in the 126 years since we’ve yet to match the Eiffel Tower’s height. Even if Boston did build, say, a 1,000-foot beauty of a skyscraper, it still wouldn’t be the Eiffel Tower.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin's 10 tallest buildings aren’t really buildings at all, but rather “structures.” The tallest is the Fernsehturm Berliner, a 1,207-foot television tower. Think Seattle’s Space Needle – only twice as tall. More than 650 feet up, the Fernsehturm has the obligatory observation platform and revolving restaurant. The Grey City’s tallest true skyscraper is the relatively modest Park Inn Berlin, a 410 foot hotel. You don’t need to book a room, however, to enjoy the city view from the roof – or to grab a Whopper from the Burger King at the street level. 

Rome, Italy

Rome is a city of myth. Rome is a city of love. Rome is not a city of skyscrapers. Their soon-to-be tallest building, which is currently under construction, is La Mauratella, a 492-foot office tower. That’s roughly the size of Boston’s Berkeley Building (Old John Hancock Building). There are only two other buildings in the entire city over three hundred feet, and they were both just completed in 2012. Rome, of course, does have that legendary 1st century amphitheater, the Coliseum. It’s a patent reminder that a building doesn’t have to be tall to be great. It’s estimated that, in its day, the Coliseum could hold between 50 and 80 thousand spectators. That’s just the right size for an Olympic Stadium, though it might need a bit of an upgrade.

Johannesburg, South Africa

The Carlton Center is not only the tallest building in Johannesburg; it's also the tallest structure in the whole of Africa (for now, see below). It was – for a time — also the tallest building in the entire Southern Hemisphere. At 732 feet, it’s only few hairs shorter than the Hancock Tower and the Pru. Today, it’s a mixed-use space, with and an enormous shopping center underground. For years, a luxury hotel occupied the bulk of the massive building. Some notable guests who stayed there include Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton, Mick Jagger and the late Whitney Houston. No word on whether Roxbury's own Bobby Brown was with her at the time.

Casablanca, Morocco 

Right now, the tallest buildings in North Africa's largest port city are the two towers at the Twin Centre, each coming in at 377 feet. That's taller than a hill of beans, but nothing a visiting architect would write home about. That's all about to change. This year, construction is set to begin on the majestic 1,770-foot "Al-Noor Tower," Arabic for “Tower of Light.” When completed it will dwarf all other buildings in Africa. So, how tall are we talking here? Mount the Hancock Tower on top of the Prudential Center and you're still not there. The skyscraper will be covered by patterns representing Africa's 1,000 languages, and its 114 floors reflect the Quran's 114 chapters. The designer said its silhouette is meant to evoke a fountain pen, and compared the elegance of its facade to a wedding dress. Sounds stunning. Here's looking' at them, kids. 

Melbourne, Australia

Stretching highest into the skies above Melbourne is the 975-foot Eureka Tower, named for a rebellion during the Victorian Era gold rush in Australia. When it was completed in 2006, it was the tallest residential building in the world. There’s a glass cube, called The Edge, which projects out 10 feet from the observation deck. Stepping out onto it, a visitor gets the experience of being suspended more than 900 feet above the ground. Sounds terrifying.

St. Petersburg, Russia

29 of Russia’s 30 tallest buildings are in Moscow. In St. Petersburg, they’re pretty serious about protecting the historical architectural integrity of this gem of a city. In 2006, a proposal to build a 1,300-foot skyscraper was met with fierce opposition, and eventually abandoned. The tallest skyscraper in town is the 459-foot Leader Tower, finished in 2012. If you’re looking for some office space in St. Petersburg, it looks like they have some available. The website, conveniently in English, is

Istanbul, Turkey

The “city of the world’s desires” is home to Turkey’s highest structure, the 856-foot Istanbul Sapphire. Taller than any structure in Boston, the skyscraper towers over the edge of the city skyline. Completed in 2011, it’s a shopping and luxury residence mixed-use skyscraper – and something of an ecological marvel. There are two huge glass shells – with intakes every three floors - that protect inhabitants from adverse weather conditions and city noise outside the building. There are also private gardens every three floors, and a computer operated curtain system designed to protect folks inside from sunlight and ultraviolet rays.