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Who would have thought that the city of San Francisco is a city of staircases? Created out of necessity as a way to navigate the hilly terrain of this magnificent city is a marvellous staircase made of mosaic tiles. Located high on a hill in San Francisco’s Sunset neighbourhood, at the corner of 16th and Moraga Ave is the tiled mosaic external straight staircase. Inspired by the Santa Teresa steps of Rio de Janeiro, the steps are set with 163 separate mosaic panels created with the cooperation and help of local artists, volunteers, and the local community. It was the San Francisco Parks Trust that sponsored the project. Help poured with the efforts of 300 residents and more than 220 tile contributors within the neighbourhood, with the project finally finished on August 18, 2004. The individual set of unique mosaic tiles was laden with depictions of fish, birds, flowers and turtles. Artists Aileen Barr and Collete Crutcher spearheaded the creation of the 163 mosaic panels that were applied to the step risers. Sponsors handmade the tiles and names embedded within the mosaic. KZ Tile, a major San Francisco tile setting company, agreed to set the risers and tile through the use of rough and non-slip tiles. The inauguration ceremony was held a few days after completion. Chinese lion dancers danced up and down the stairs with firecrackers, and the sounds of beating drums and gongs, with the members of Nguyen Dance Company following after them. The ribbon cutting was facilitated by Prof. Francesco Pignataro, Mayor of Caltagirone, Italy. The successful event was covered by Italian national television, several local San Francisco newspapers such as the Beacon and the Chronicle and a Sicilian newspaper. The area is free to explore for anyone. Visitors are left in awe not only because of the stairs, but after reaching the top. At the highest point, you will find another set of stairs across the street and to the right which leads to a small hill to a park and viewpoint. The Grand View Park, locally known as Turtle Hill, provides an incredible breath-taking view of the city of San Francisco. Meanwhile, to the left is the famous Golden Gate Bridge while the Pacific Ocean lies quietly on the left. Images courtesy of http://californiathroughmylens.com, http://www.artaic.com and http://untouristsf.com