We are in the midst of a Ferris wheel craze. In 2009.

Stefany Anne Golberg in The Smart Set:

ScreenHunter_03 Feb. 12 02.03 There’s an international battle going on. The prize is height, width, rotation. Its weapons are not guns, nor tanks, nor arrows. The weapons of this battle are wheels. Ferris wheels.

This year, Germany will unveil the Great Berlin Wheel. Upon its completion, the wheel will be 606 feet high — as high as two football fields are long, as high as three Niagara Falls. It will be taller than what’s currently the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, the Singapore Flyer, a soon-to-be-disappointing 541 feet high. This year, China also plans to unveil the Beijing Great Wheel. At an awesome 682 feet high, it will be taller than both the Great Berlin Wheel and the Singapore Flyer (which only debuted as the world’s tallest Ferris wheel last year).

China has, in fact, built wheels in six cities since the start of the new millennium. The Great Dubai Wheel, at 607 feet, is set to enthrall visitors to Dubailand some time in 2009. There’s the Great Orlando Wheel in Florida (400 feet), and Australia’s four-story-high Southern Star, which just opened last month. There are whispers that a Great Wheel might hit Mumbai, though no one can say when. Or how tall.

In August of 2008, Iraq officials unveiled plans for the Baghdad Eye. Its inspiration — the 440-foot London Eye, built in 1999 — was the instigator of all this recent wheel-mania. At a proposed 650 feet, the Baghdad wheel would soar above the London Eye and most of its competitors, giving locals and visitors alike a spectacular view of the city.

More here.