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Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa

T835/0307

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Credit

RAFAEL MACIA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RAFAEL MACIA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Leaning Tower of Pisa (La Torre Pendente), Italy. This bell tower is part of the Cathedral of Pisa. The construction began in 1173, but was not fully completed until 1360. The tower is 55 metres tall, weighs over 14,000 tonnes, and consists mostly of limestone. Even during its construction, the tower began to lean. This was due to subsidence of the ground underneath the tower. The tower appeared to be stable by 1817, but, in 1838, the surrounding land was dried out and large amounts of earth were removed. This drastically worsened the situation, and the top of the tower is now more than 5 metres off centre. The tower was closed in 1988. Ongoing projects are attempting to stabilise the tower.

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