It’s by far the most famous landmark of the Tuscany region of Italy; the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Torre pendente di Pisa). It’s construction began in 1173 and for 5 years it stood straight. As soon as they started building the third floor in 1178 though, the tower began leaning. But why does the tower lean?
This is due to the fact that the ground on one side of the tower was incredibly soft, composed mostly of clay and fine sand that could not support the weight of the structure.
At the beginning, the tower had a slight lean of about 0.2 degrees but it grew to a be 1 degree as soon as the construction on the seventh floor began. Unsure of what to do, the builders stopped the construction for about 100 years*. The tower was finally concluded in 1370 with the addition of the 8th floor. However, the extra weight of the last floor made things even worse, and the tower gained another 1.6 degrees. (the article continues after the ad)
As soon as it was finished, architects and engineers started working on how to correct and monitor the lean. In 2008, after major repairs, they have finally announced that the tower is, for the first time in its history, no longer moving and it will remain so for the next 200 years.
* Researchers believe that it was this delay in construction that saved the tower as it gave the soil time to compress.
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Main Article Photo: Creative Commons, Barney Moss / Flickr
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Sources: Leaning Tower of Pisa Facts | 11 Things You Didn’t Know About the Leaning Tower of Pisa