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Let us pause for a while and take a peek at the fascinating wonders of nature, the majesty and the glory of God's creation and the spectacle of human engineering. Unfortunately, I cannot go to these places in as much as I want to so, I’m just taking this virtual expedition. I hope you can join me in this online adventure.

-Arnel S. Oroceo, the Author

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

One of the most famous structures in the world is the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It stands around 183 feet on the low side and around 186 feet on the high side. It has seven levels with a bell chamber at the top.

It has been a popular tourist destination in Italy. In fact, UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site. Many make funny poses at side of the tower as photographers capture with their cameras their incredible positions as if they are pushing it back up. It could have been an amusing experience.

I can say that the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a clear example of an error in construction. The tower has started in 1173.  However, after the construction of the second level by 1178, it has begun to sink because the foundation has been weak. It has been only 3 meters on wobbly layer of soil. That has halted the construction for about a hundred years.

In 1272, a new architect has resumed construction. He added upper levels but to correct the tilt, he built levels that are higher on one side, which have made the tower curve. However, due to war, the construction stopped in 1284.

Construction has continued again. The seventh level has been finished in 1319 and the bell chamber has been added in 1372. It has 7 bells at the top, which correspond to the seven notes in the major scale.

In 1964, the government of Italy has asked the help of multinational experts to prevent the tower from falling since the tilt has been increasing as time goes by without removing the tilt because if its historical and tourism value. Initially, they have applied lead counterweights on the high side of the tower. In 1990, Italian authorities has closed the tower to the public and the bells have been removed to ease some weight on the tower in order to implement the necessary repair according to a two-decade study of multinational experts. Finally, in 2001, the tower has been declared stable after removing 38 cubic meters of soil from beneath the high side of the tower.

It’s amazing that such a structure with a faulty foundation has received great historical significance instead of structural condemnation. I guess, that’s one reason that has made the Leaning Tower of Pisa truly incredible.

Image Above Courtesy of:
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