The Most Famous Leaning Towers in the World (Part 2)

Nevyansk Leaning Tower, Russia

By far the youngest from the majority of the towers on the list (except for the Big Ben), the leaning tower of Nevyansk was built in the 18th century. The exact date of construction and purpose are unknown – some speculate it was a watchtower, belfry, a prison, and even a laboratory for chemical experiments during the Soviet era. A local legend says that the tilted angle of the tower was deliberate; restorers say that the defect occurred during construction and that the architects have tried to make things better using especially-cut bricks. Today the tower deviates for 3 degrees between its base and its middle part.

01-Nevyansk Tower, Russia_leaning tower via Flickr, by Alex Alishevskikh, license CC BY-SA 2.0

Leaning Temple of Huma

The only leaning temple in the world is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Shiva, and it is located in the Indian state of Orissa. It is not known whether its significant inclination was caused by faulty design or by accident, but it is interesting that, although the structure is tilted, its top is perpendicular to the ground.

02-Leaning Temple of Huma_leaning tower via Flickr, by varun suresh, license CC BY 2.0

Church tower of Suurhusen, Germany

Suurhusen is the most tilted tower in the world which is in such state by an accident. The Gothic bell tower made of brick dates from the late Middle Ages, and is located in north-western Germany; currently it is tilted at an angle of 5,193 degrees – beating the more famous Tower of Pisa by 1.22 degrees. It is built on a base of oak trunks that were originally laid in the swamp water. However, when the land was drained in the 19th century, the rotting wood caused the slope.

03- Suurhusen-2_leaning tower  via Flickr, by Markus Schroeder, license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

This is one you’ve probably heard of. The leaning tower of Pisa is the most famous leaning building in the world, although it is neither the oldest, nor tallest, not even the most tilted one. But, thanks to the open area around the bell tower of the cathedral of Pisa, the slope is very striking, since it provides countless opportunities for photography. The bell tower is over 55 meters tall; it was built on a base of barely 2.5m of thickness and began to lean almost immediately after the start of construction in 1173. Until 1178 the leaning had already reached the second floor. In 1272 the tower was still unfinished, and engineers were trying to compensate for the slope by making the other floors heavier on one side. Many measures were initiated to stabilize the tower, and in May 2008 the tower was declared fully stable – after removing the bells, the soil beneath the elevated side and “harnessing” the tower with cables. Engineers say that it is the first time since its construction the tower ceased to move and will remain in a relatively upright position at least in the next 200 years.

Tower of Pisa, Italy_leaning tower via Flickr, by Bob Hall, license CC BY-SA 2.0

Capital Gate, the Olympic Stadium and the Gate of Europe

It’s not just old buildings that are dangerously prone to “destruction”. See Capital Gate in Abu Dhabi, a mixed-use skyscraper that reaches a height of 158m with a dramatic inclination of 18 degrees to the west. In 2010 the Guinness Book of Records appointed Capital Gate tower as the furthest leaning man-made tower in the world.
Other deliberately leaning modern marvels are the tower at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal and the Gate of Europe in Madrid. Tower of Montreal is officially the tallest building in the world tilted to 175.5 meters, and the Gate of Europe actually consists of two buildings, 114 feet high, inclined towards each other at an angle of 15 degrees.

05-Capital Gate, the Olympic Stadium and the Gate of Europe_leaning tower via Flickr, by Paolo Rosa, license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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