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  • Welcome to the magnificent Tower of Pisa, perhaps more commonly known as the Leaning

  • Tower of Pisa. This 56 meter high tower is world famous, not only for its beautiful looks,

  • but mainly for its heavy tilt. But why is the tower leaning the way it does? I tell

  • you that in just a minute. The Tower of Pisa was built as a part of Piazza

  • dei Miracolli and is the piazza's third oldest structure, after the Cathedral and the Baptistry.

  • More precisely, an inscription located to the right above the entrance to the tower,

  • tells us that the construction started on august 9th, 1173.

  • One of the purposes of the tower was to serve as the bell tower for the cathedral. However,

  • the main purpose of the tower was to show the world the wealth and power of the city

  • of Pisa. During these times, Pisa with its mighty fleet was one of the strongest and

  • most powerful Italian cities. They had successfully raged war all over the Mediterranean Sea and

  • the new tower needed to reflect these victories. This is why the tower in front of you looks

  • completely different than an ordinary bell tower.

  • A few years after the construction started, the tower began to lean towards the southeast.

  • This due to the fact that the tower was built on a poorly laid foundation, only three meters

  • deep. The tower was also built on weak, unstable subsoil which allowed the foundation to slightly

  • shift direction. This caused one side of the tower to sink into the ground. When this happened,

  • five years had passed since the start of the construction and the tower had progressed

  • to the third floor. With this, the construction halted for almost a century.

  • The halt in construction was not because of the problems with the leaning tower, but because

  • the Pisans were almost continually engaged in battles with Genoa, Lucca and Florence.

  • The halt in construction allowed time for the underlying soil to settle. This most likely

  • saved the tower, as without the interference of wars, the tower would almost certainly

  • have toppled. In 1272, the construction of the tower resumed.

  • In an effort to compensate for the tilt, the engineers built upper floors with one side

  • taller than the other. This made the tower begin to lean in the other direction; instead

  • of southeast it began to lean southwest. The completion of the tower would however take

  • another 100 years, as several smaller wars interfered. With the completion of the bell

  • chamber in 1372, one of the most unusual monuments of all times stood finished.

  • The tower is been subject to several restoration and stabilization projects; not only due to

  • the towers instable nature, but also due to its age and exposure to wind and rain.

  • The first stabilization project was initiated in the 1960ies, when the engineers realized

  • that the tilt was increasing in combination with softer foundations. Many methods for

  • stabilizing the tower were discussed, including the addition of 800 tons of lead counterweights

  • to the raised end of the base. Later, in 1990, a massive restoration and

  • stabilization project was initialized. During this project, the tower was closed to the

  • public and the bells were removed to relieve some weight. The plan was to straighten up

  • the tower by removing 38 cubic meters of soil from underneath the raised end using special

  • drills. In order to keep the tower stabile during this daring project, several heavy

  • cables were cinched around the third level and anchored several hundred meters away.

  • Apartments and houses in the path of the tower were also vacated for safety. In 2001, the

  • project was finally completed and the tower had been straightened by 45 centimeters, returning

  • to the exact position it had in 1838. After these massive reconstruction and stabilization

  • efforts, the tower was reopened to the public in December 2001 and was declared stable for

  • at least another 300 years. Prior to restoration work performed between

  • 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, but the tower now leans about

  • four degrees. This means that the top of the tower is almost four meters from where it

  • would stand if the tower were perfectly vertical. If you feel ambitious, and isn't afraid of

  • heights, I can highly recommend a trip to the top of the tower. While almost 300 steps

  • will take some time to climb, it will give you a great view of Piazza dei Miracolli and

  • the city of Pisa. Today, the Tower of Pisa is the region's number

  • one tourist destination -- attracting people from all over the world. It is listed as a

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site and inarguably one of the world's most famous towers.

Welcome to the magnificent Tower of Pisa, perhaps more commonly known as the Leaning

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◄ Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa [HD] ►

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    drsueec posted on 2013/08/27
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