According to experts, the renowned tower of Pisa will continue to tilt for at least another 200 years. It may even remain erect, or almost so, indefinitely. A few ill-advised construction projects hastened the Leaning Tower's inexorably gradual descent over the ages; it slanted 5.5 degrees, its most acute angle ever, in 1990. But the main cause of its awkward posture is simply gravity. The tower is built from lightweight material (brick and wood) on a base of soft clay.
The site upon which the tower stands is an extremely unstable platform surrounded by deep wells. Over time, the weight of the building causes the foundation to deteriorate, which leads to more severe tilting. In fact, according to some scientists, the tower has been leaning since 1350 when the first construction phase ended.
The original intent was not to build a leaning tower but rather a simple wooden statue of Christ known as "Prisonseraphim." Only later was the structure given its current name after the famous tower in Flensburg, Germany. Although the architect hoped to complete the project before he died in 1364, he died before finishing the last stage of work. His son took over the project but did not live to see it completed either.
In 1420, the tower was begun again but finished only in 1516, more than a hundred years later. This second builder proved to be less skilled than his predecessor and used inferior materials.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is famous across the globe for its perilous tilt, but now specialists have shown that it is straightening out. The Surveillance Group, which oversees repair efforts at the tower, stated that the monument is "stable and very slowly lessening its lean." They also said that they expect the tower to be straight within 10 years.
The surveillance group used radar studies and other methods to make their discovery. They said that before the repairs began in 1995, there were large differences in height between the base and the top of the tower. But since then, the base has been rising at a rate of about 2 inches (5 cm) per year, while the top has been falling at a similar speed. This shows that the tower is straightening out.
The leaning tower has fascinated people for hundreds of years. In 1163, an earthquake caused such damage to the tower that it triggered a series of events that led to it being declared unfit for use. Over time, more severe earthquakes have continued to cause damage, leading to the need for ongoing repairs.
In addition to international attention, the leaning tower has inspired artists from all over the world. Many paintings, drawings, and photographs show the tower with its distinctive silhouette against a blue sky. One of the most famous images is by Eadweard Muybridge, who captured the moment the last piece of scaffolding was taken down in 1877.
Approximately a 10 degree angle The Tower of Pisa is 60 meters tall and leans at a 10 degree inclination till 1990. Despite being meant to be exactly vertical, it began to tilt during construction. The cause is not clear but may have been due to soil instability under the tower's foundation.
Towers are designed to be stable, so the imbalance caused by the missing stone must have been severe. The builders may have used heavy materials on the ground floor to counteract the lean, but even so, the Tower of Pisa was already leaning significantly before they finished building it.
The first recorded mention of the problem is in 1166 when work was stopped because the towers were becoming too unstable. They were still using wooden piles to support the floors above, which would have been easy to cut if anyone knew how much weight they were going to have to bear. In fact, the only reason the tower has survived this long is because it has been protected by large-scale repairs over the years. Otherwise, it would have collapsed long ago.
There are many theories about why the tower is leaning, but no one knows for sure. Some say that the original structure was not made of stone but instead used wood, which would make it more likely to collapse under its own weight during a strong windstorm.
The tower was stabilized as a result of restoration work completed between 1999 and 2001. Engineers placed weights on the structure's north end while removing earth from below, forcing it to sink back in that direction gradually. The Leaning Tower of Pisa still leans south, although at just 3.99 degrees. It is the only complete medieval tower to remain standing in its original location.
In response to questions about the safety of the tower, the City of Pisa has conducted studies which have concluded that the tower can withstand winds of up to 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) without any risk of collapse.
The main reason for the leaning of the tower is clear: during rainy seasons thousands of gallons of water per day pour into the base of the tower through cracks in the floor. The weight of this water, combined with the weight of the tower itself, causes the tower to lean in order to equalize its load.
However, some experts believe that the tower might eventually collapse under its own weight due to drying out of the ground underneath it.
The tower stands 48 meters (157 feet) high and rests on a base that measures 30 meters x 23 meters (98 feet x 77 feet). It originally had 36 levels, but only 8 remain today because of damage caused by lightning over the years.
Construction on the tower began in 1132 and lasted approximately 70 years.
The Pisa Leaning Tower is not only one of the most beautiful monuments in Italy, it is also apparently leaning towards the west.
This rare phenomenon occurs because they were built with dry masonry, and over time the presence of wind causes these towers to lean inwards.
There are other buildings in Piazza del Duomo that are believed to be leaning too, such as the Palazzo della Ragione. But because they are made of wood, they will likely fall over if the wind blows hard enough for more than a few days.
The leaning tower of Pisa has been undergoing repairs since 1996 when engineers discovered it was suffering from severe distress due to being used as a storage facility for grain during World War II.
Since then, experts have been working on a plan to restore the monument to its original form and give it new life as part of Piazza del Duomo. The idea is to use modern materials to rebuild what has deteriorated over time and create a workable solution for both the problem and the sculpture.