The Leaning Tower of Pisa Is Straightening up Its Act

Nov 24, 2018

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It’s been known that the tower of Pisa leans, and as much as it is a sight to see, the tower has undergone some alterations to balance it out. Now, well over 800 years since it’s been built, the tower has made some good progress towards perpendicularity.

The tower of Pisa began its life as a bell tower, but its identifying features shifted as the building itself did. By 1178, five years after the building began construction, the building’s lean was prevalent. During the next 800 years, the tower of Pisa actually fell consistently by .05 inches per year due to soft ground beneath the building.

Out of fear that the building would collapse, columns were modified on certain floors to correct the lean not long after the building’s construction. However, by the mid-1990s, greater adjustments needed to be made. That’s when 750 metric tons of lead weights were installed into the building to correct the tilt, and they immediately took back 2 full inches of the lean. By 2008, visitors were finally allowed inside.

These days, the tower is looking more and more regular. During the past 20 years, the tower has shifted 4 centimeters, or 1.575 inches, into its intended upright position. And while it seems to be making some gradual shifts toward normality, the tower of Pisa’s website shows that the historical site still leans more than 5 meters off center.

Is it possible that we one day will not be able to stand back-to-back with the tower? Or pretend to push it upright? At this rate, it may take many decades before the building stands tall as it should, but it could be possible that if everyone makes a conscious effort to take pictures pushing the tower back, it may maintain its defining quirk.

H/T: The Daily Beast

Featured image by Imgorthand / Getty Images.

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