Tower of Pisa leans faster

The Herald, November 10, 1985

ROME. – The leaning tower of Pisa is tipping faster than in the early 1970s and would collapse within 25 years if it continues at the current rate, an Italian scientist and tower expert said.

The 806-year-old tower has leaned at an average rate of 1,26 millimetre a year in each of the past three years, Professor Gero Geri of the university of Pisa said.

That compares to a rate of only half a millimetre a year from 1974 to 1976.

LESSONS FOR TODAY

The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Rome is a remarkable monument and one of Italy’s most renowned monuments, which has earned a place as one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World. The town of Pisa, where it is located, single-handedly owes its most-frequented status to this architectural marvel.

The tower is famous for its unintended tilt, which was noticed five years after construction started in 1173. The tower started shifting due to shallow foundations of 3m and unstable subsoil. The 56m-high tower took nearly 200 years to build.

On August 9 this year, the tower marked its 850th anniversary. Although it has managed to stay put over a very long time, it almost collapsed several times, which elicited increased surveillance.

Each year, the tower undergoes a tilt check-up. Measurements for 2022 show that the building has righted itself by an additional four centimetres since 2001. An assessment in 2005 declared the monument safe for the next 300 years.

The tower was built as the third and final structure of the city of Pisa’s cathedral complex. In particular, it was built to serve as the complex’s bell tower. However its purpose is now to make money.

The tower attracts  over 5 million visitors and generates about 21 million Euro annually. Visitors can still view the magnificent marble tower’s original 7 brass bells if they manage to climb 269 steps.

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