Step right up: the world’s most spectacular staircases

Plain stone or concrete was just too boring for these colourful sites in Asia, Europe and the Americas, where tiles, paint, music and geometric implausibility create striking ‘stairways to heaven’

The Batu Caves temple on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia has, from last week, a vibrant new entryway, with the 272 steps up to the popular site painted in rainbow hues. Why should ascending and descending ever be bland? Mosaic, musical or mountaintop, statement staircases the world over offer ever more fanciful ways to go up and down. But while devotees and visitors might be tickled pink by Batu’s Technicolor makeover, the government’s national heritage department is seeing red.

Related: Best foot forward: the world’s most striking pedestrian bridges

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