Top 10 Amazon Tall Tower Observatory Facts

One of the most unlikely places to find an astonishing tower is the dense Amazon rainforest, yet there are very good reasons why one was erected in this pristine piece of nature.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting facts about the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory, one of the most fascinating scientific structures on the planet.

1. It’s located in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil

The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory is a scientific research facility located right in the heart of the dense rainforest. It’s located in the state of Amazonas in the northern part of the country.

The closest city in the region is the city of Manaus, not a small city by any means in the middle of the rainforest. The tower is situated about 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of this city.

Manaus is the 7th-largest city in Brazil and has a population of over 2.6 million people living in its metropolis.

It’s home to famous landmarks such as the “Amazon Theater,” a famous opera house in Brazil, and the “Amazon Arena,” a football stadium that served as the venue in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Amazon Theater in Manaus
Amazon Theater and view of Manaus / Wiki Commons

2. It was a joint project by Brazilian and German institutions

The remote location of the tower was chosen because it provides the ideal conditions for the type of research it was built for.

The main purpose of the tower is for scientists to determine the effect of both the soil and the forest on greenhouses gases. This allows them to determine the importance of the rainforest on the global climate.

The tower was built recently (completed in 2015), a time in which global warming is reaching a critical point. Research like this could provide us with a solution for this huge problem.

This also means that a wide number of countries are involved in the project, even though the German Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry and the Brazilian National Institute of Amazonian Research were the biggest contributors.

3. The tower holds an amazing record

The main tower of the project is an enormous structure. It stands 325 meters (1,066 feet) tall which is far above the first canopy, making it visible from a very far distance.

This also means that it’s the tallest structure in all of South America. The second-tallest structure is an amazing skyscraper in the capital of Chile referred to as the “Gran Torre Santiago” and stands 300 meters (984 feet) tall.

4. The tallest tower is one of 3 towers of the complex

The tallest tower of the complex was completed between 2014 and 2015, but two smaller towers were already present on the site before that.

There are two other two smaller towers located within the vicinity of the extremely tall observation tower that stand just 80 meters (260 feet) tall.

All the towers are equipped with the same instruments needed to measure the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere just above the canopy of the Amazon rainforest.

Amazon Tall Tower observatory height
View from one of the other towers / Jsaturno /

5. Can you visit the ATTO?

So the big question is now, can you visit the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory? The short answer is no, this facility is only reserved for scientists who are working on the project so tourists can’t visit it.

There is, however, an exception for journalists and filmmakers who want to visit the tower, but this can only be done on appointment and with prior approval.

More interesting facts about the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory

6. Even though the towers of the complex are the main components of the research facility, it also includes other buildings such as container labs, a base camp, and other facilities.

This allows teams of researchers from over 20 countries to study the effects of the rainforest on greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, right in the middle of the dense Amazon rainforest.

7. Building this immense complex wasn’t cheap. The construction cost totaled about 8.4 million euros, an amount that was split between the German and Brazilian organizations involved in the project.

8. The main reason why the tower and additional facilities were constructed in this area was both because of the vicinity of a large city, which makes it relatively easily accessible, and the pristine condition of the rainforest in this location.

This way, scientists can collect information from an area that covers about 100 square kilometers (39 square miles) of untouched rainforest.

rainforest near manaus
The rainforest near Manaus / CIAT /

9. To emphasize the incredible height of this tall observation tower we can compare it to the most famous tower in the world, the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The tower in Brazil is actually 1 meter (3.28 feet) taller than its famous counterpart in France, quite astonishing!

10. The ATTO isn’t the only tower of its kind in the world. A similar facility was erected in Siberia, Russia, and completed in 2006.

This tower is known as the “Zotino Tall Tower Observation Facility” and stands 304 meters (997 feet).

The same German organization, the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, was the main contributor to this project.

Zotto Tower Siberia
View of the “Zotto Tower” in Siberia / Wiki Commons