Why Does The Tower of Pisa Lean?

  • by Hasan

I bet you have always wondered why does the tower of Pisa lean? The tower of Pisa wasn’t always leaning. In fact, it was designed to be straight and attract people based on its eye-catching architectural design.

But what happened? How did it get this way? Is it really safe or is it a disaster waiting to happen any minute now?

History

The tower is located in Pisa, Italy. It’s also the third-oldest structure in the city’s Cathedral Square. It’s construction was initiated almost a thousand years ago. The foundation for the tower was laid in 1173 and took nearly 200 years to complete.

It’s signature lean was discovered very early in its construction. When the second floor was completed in 1178, the ground underneath became loose and the foundation sank.

The iconic look therefore comes from a weak foundation.

That’s all there is to the tilt really. There’s no alien mystery here that we can discuss.

Modern architects suggest that the design of the buidling was flawed from the beginning.

When the flaw became apparent, the Republic of Pisa was already engaged in long-standing conflicts with different areas (Florence, Lucca, and Genoa) that are now a part of Italy.

The battles shifted the attention away from the construction of the tower and allowed time for the unstable soil to settle.

If there was peace in the region, the city would’ve probably revamped the design long before. It’s essentially a long-lasting war that gave us the tower in its current state.

In 1233, the construction began again and took a long time to complete, but finally finished in 1372.

The final height of the tower is almost 56 meters and it weighs around 14,500 metric tons.

Guinness world records

While the tilt was unintentional, two German buildings have challenged the tower of Pisa for natural tilt. They are the Leaning Tower of Suurhusen and the bell tower in the town of Bad Frankenhausen.

The title for the most “World’s Furthest Leaning Man-made Tower” is currently held by the Leaning Tower of Wanaka in New Zealand. It has a staggering tilt at 53 degrees.

https://wandering.world/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/The-Leaning-Tower-of-Wanaka.jpg

Survived earthquakes

While the tower definitely looks unnerving, it’s survived for a long time and has gone through a bunch of earthquakes as well.

While this confused people for a long time, researchers found out that the tower survived because of a mechanic known as dynamic soil-structure interaction. Long story short, the structure of the soil along with the tilt and structure of the tower allowed it to not resonate with the shaking ground.

The earthquake motion was effectively cancelled out allowing the tower to survive.

Are there any interesting facts about the leaning tower of Pisa that you know? Leave them in the comments below!

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