Street art is best known as murals that cover entire walls—and sometimes even the buildings themselves. It has the incredible ability to turn the world into an outdoor gallery, but there’s one surface that’s often ignored: staircases. When painted, public stair art is a stunning and unexpected canvas for portraits, geometric patterns, and intricate mosaics. Each rise of a step is one fraction of a larger image. When viewed at the base of the staircase, the individual elements come together for an awe-inspiring effect.
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Here are 18 of the most stunning steps from around the world.