The leaning tower of Pisa, located in Tuscany, Italy, is a part of the Cathedral Square, which is declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. The ancient city of Pisa, which was once an important trading center, has become world famous today, due to this tower.
The peculiarity of the leaning tower of Pisa is that it is tilted to one side. This makes it unique and unlike any other ancient tower in the world. You will be amazed to know that when its construction started in the year 1173, this was not how it was supposed to be!
Why the Leaning Tower of Pisa Leans to One Side?
Before finding answers to this question, let's know the history behind this tower as well as the ancient city of Pisa. Unlike what people commonly believe, the city of Pisa was not constructed by the Romans. In fact, it is the Etruscans who had built this amazing city and that too adjoining a lagoon!
As for the leaning tower, it took a number of centuries to construct it and become what it is today. Mainly due to the wars which most of the Italian cities were engaged in with one another in the twelfth and the thirteenth century, the construction of this tower was halted many times. In fact, the seventh floor of this tower was constructed as late as 1319!
It is believed that after its third floor was built, its construction was stopped, so that the tower could stabilize. The soil below the tower was so soft that it was feared if any more floors were built, the tower would give away. So, the construction was halted for about a century and thereafter, when it began, taller floors were built on one side.
The idea behind this was that building taller floors would correct the fault and make the tower straight. However, the result of this came out to be completely different. The tower started to lean in the opposite direction i.e. southwest! And that's how it stands till today!
As the lean of the tower is what makes it distinguishable, the architects began devising ways to strengthen the tower and at the same time, keeping the lean intact. By the year 2008, they were able to achieve this and now, it has a strong foundation and has been declared that it would not lean anymore than to the extent it is leaning today!
The leaning tower of Pisa, built with white marble and standing 56.70 m from the ground, attracts tourists from all over the world. Today, after the restoration work has been completed, it leans at an angle of about four degrees.
Due to the restoration work, there is no longer any fear that the tower is going to collapse. The popularity of the leaning tower of Pisa can be gauged from the fact that over a million tourists come to visit it each year!