The Great Tower of Pisa is a free-standing bell tower located in the city of Pisa, in the Italian region of Tuscany. It is one of the most iconic and famous landmarks in the world, and is considered a symbol of the Italian Renaissance. The tower is also known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, due to its distinctive tilt.
History of the Tower
The Tower of Pisa was built over a period of 199 years, from 1173 to 1372. The tower was initially designed to be perfectly vertical, but the foundation was built on unstable ground, causing the tower to lean. The lean was not noticed until construction was already underway. After this, the construction was stopped for almost a century, until the lean had stabilized. Further construction was then done in an attempt to correct the lean, but it was unsuccessful. The tower was finally completed in 1372.
Architecture of the Tower
The Tower of Pisa is a cylindrical structure, approximately 55 meters (180 feet) tall and made of white marble. It has seven stories, with the bell chamber at the top. The walls are approximately 2.5 meters (8 feet) thick at the base, and 1.2 meters (4 feet) thick at the top. There are 294 steps leading up to the top of the tower.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Tower of Pisa is most famous for its distinctive lean, which is caused by the unstable foundation. The tower currently leans at an angle of 3.99 degrees, and is estimated to be stable for at least another 200 years. In the past, the lean has been as high as 5.5 degrees. To prevent further leaning, the tower is currently undergoing stabilization efforts, which include the installation of steel cables and counterweights.
Notable Features of the Tower
The Tower of Pisa is home to several notable features, including:
- The Bell Chamber – Located at the top of the tower, the bell chamber houses the bells that ring out over the city of Pisa.
- The Staircase – The tower is home to a winding staircase, which leads up to the bell chamber.
- The Gallery – Located at the top of the tower, the gallery provides a stunning view of the city of Pisa.
Restoration and Preservation Efforts
The Tower of Pisa has been undergoing restoration and preservation efforts since the early 20th century. The most recent efforts have focused on stabilizing the tower, as well as restoring the marble facade. In 1987, the tower was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in 1990, the tower was added to the World Monuments Fund’s list of 100 Most Endangered Sites.
The Great Tower of Pisa is one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks in the world. It is a symbol of the Italian Renaissance, and its distinctive lean has made it a popular tourist attraction. The tower is currently undergoing restoration and preservation efforts, and is estimated to remain stable for at least another 200 years.