One place that you must visit if you go to Italy is the Tower of Pisa. As you probably already know, this building represents centuries of history, making it a monument of great heritage value in the city of the same name.
It took centuries to build the tower, but the tilt that has made the building so popular started to become evident almost from day one.
It was designed to be the bell tower of Pisa Cathedral and is located in the Piazza del Duomo, in the Italian region of Tuscany.
There are many interesting facts about the Tower of Pisa that will grab your attention. So, please keep reading to find out what they are.
The building of the tower was stopped for 100 years:
Yes, you read correctly. The building of the tower began in 1173 and the work did not finish until 1370. During this period, the building work was affected by the military conflicts that took place in the city. Moreover, since the lean began to become evident not long after building began, all the building work was stopped for 100 years as a precaution for fear that it would collapse. It wasn’t until the problems with the subsoil below the tower were resolved that the work continued and was finally completed.
It was originally a vertical tower:
According to historical data, the tower was originally supposed to be vertical. However, shortly after building work began, the tower began to lean due to the shallow foundations and the fact that the ground conditions were not adequate for supporting such a building due to their unstable nature.
During the second stage of building work, the tower continued to lean. However, not in the same direction as it was originally leaning when building work was stopped at the fourth floor, but in the opposite direction!
Over the years, the lean became more evident and began to present a threat to the people visiting the tower. For this reason, between 1990 and 2001, the decision was taken to close the tower to the public and to reinforce the foundations in order to stop its movement. It is thought that, following this work, the tower will remain completely stable for another 200 years.
The Bell Tower:
During the final stage of the building work, the architect in charge put a bell tower on the top floor. The bell tower’s Gothic design contrasts with the rest of the tower’s Romanesque-style architecture. The bell tower contains seven bells and each one has the sound of a different musical note.
From its foundations, the tower is 58.35 metres tall and from ground level, it is 55 metres tall. It has a total of 8 floors and has an interior spiral staircase with 294 steps.
It is not the world’s most inclined tower:
Although the Tower of Pisa is famous for its lean, it is actually not the most inclined building in the world. This honour goes to the ¨Capital Gate¨ building in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. This building is considered to be a modern architectural masterpiece and is 160 metres tall, with an maximum inclination of 18 degrees to the west.
“Capital Gate” is recognised in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s farthest man-made leaning building. However, the reasons behind each building’s lean could not be more different.
Finally, I would like to mention one last fact that reflects the Tower of Pisa’s majesty and cultural value. The tower was built as part of an architectural complex known as “The Square of Miracles”, which is made up of the Cathedral (Duomo), the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Baptistery and the Cemetery (Monumental Cemetery), declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
This monument is currently among the most visited in the world and if you go there, you will find lots of tourists taking the typical photo holding up the tower.
You can buy entrance tickets on the internet and can organise a guided tour of the Cathedral and the Tower. You can also visit the bell tower and enjoy the beautiful views, but you need to bear in mind that the 294 steps separating you from the top are a real challenge.