The Shard: Spectacular opening for Europe's tallest building

The Shard
The Shard shoots more than 1,000 feet into the air close to the Thames in London Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Europe's tallest building is being officially unveiled later in central London.

The Shard's tapered design and glass panelling have already made it one of the capital's most iconic landmarks.

Just yards from the banks of the River Thames in Southwark, it shoots more than 1,000 feet into the sky.

The Shard rises 1016 feet
The Shard towers 1016 feet above central London Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

The tower was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.

It will contain offices, exclusive residences, a luxury hotel, restaurants and a viewing gallery across 72 occupiable floors.

An additional 15 levels which make up the "spire", of which six have the potential to be used, while a further nine are exposed to the elements.

Although originally only nicknamed The Shard, after Mr Piano described the building as a "shard of glass" in the planning stages, the name has stuck.

The public will get their chance to admire the skyscraper from the inside when The View from The Shard attraction opens in February next year.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow that will allow visitors to soak up the view from 800 feet above London.

Building the Shard
The building reached its top height on the 19th June

Abdullah Saoud Al-Thani, Governor of Qatar Central Bank, said the Shard symbolised his country's long-term commitment to the UK.

The Shard is the newest London landmark and a beacon of the city of London's resilience and expansion, even during tough economic times.

It is a symbol of Qatar's belief and commitment to London both today and in the future.

The building will inaugurated by the prime minister of Qatar, Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani, and The Duke of York.

Londoners will be treated to a spectacular laser light show high above their heads.

The Shard's title of Europe's tallest building is likely to be short-lived.

The 1,089ft Mercury City Tower is set to be completed in Russia by the end of the year.