10 Famous Buildings That Are Leaning (And Aren’t In Pisa)
Everyone's heard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but what many don't realize is that there are tons of other famous leaning buildings all over the world - some even more tilted than Pisa's. This list highlights some of the world's most famous unintentionally leaning structures - from ancient Chinese pagodas to 21st-century skyscrapers. You might be surprised to learn what man-made blunders and natural disasters made these towers end up this way.
- Photo: Daniel Ramirez / Flickr
Of all the famous buildings that are leaning, the Millennium Tower takes the cake as the youngest. Completed in 2009, the Millennium Tower in San Francisco has already tilted two inches to the northwest AND sunk sixteen inches. After a lot of finger-pointing, experts determined that this is due to the building's support beams being drilled only 80 feet down into dense sand as opposed to 200 feet down into sturdy bedrock – a measure taken to cut construction costs. Oops.
- Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Public domain
Built in 1858, the Parliament Clock Tower (AKA "Big Ben") leans northwest approximately .26 degrees. Engineers say this is likely due to underground construction projects over the last few decades. Though subtle, surveyors say that the lean will continue to worsen over time. Look like we might have another Pisa on our hands.
Suurhusen Church Tower - Suurhusen, GermanyPhoto: optikorakel / Flickr
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Germany's Suurhusen Church Tower has the biggest unintentional lean of any building in the world. Built on swampy land, the church's foundation of oak logs kept it stable and upright for centuries. However, extensive land draining in the 18th century caused the foundation to become unsettled and the tower began to lean.
- Photo: taver / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0
The "Due Torri" were both built early in the 12th century as status symbols by the Asinelli and Garisenda families. Originally similar in height, the now-smaller Garisenda tower had to be shortened in the 14th century due to an unstable foundation and a dangerous lean. The towers have sparked numerous legends about romance and squabbles and were even mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy.
Our Dear Lady At The Mountain Church Tower - Frankenhausen, GermanyPhoto: fchmksfkcb / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
Known as Oberkirche (Upper Church), the church of Our Dear Lady at the Mountain in Bad Frankenhausen, Germany, was built in 1382. The church's granite tower stood straight until the 17th century, when sink holes from surrounding salt mines caused the tower to start tilting. It leans at an angle of 4.8 degrees, which is greater than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Tiger Hill Pagoda - Souzhou, ChinaPhoto: serg_ulixes / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
With a stout tilt of roughly 3.59 degrees, the Tiger Hill Pagoda is one of the most well-known leaning towers of China. The pagoda was constructed around 960 CE and stands 148 feet tall on top of Tiger Hill in Souzhou, China. The tower leans because two of its support columns have cracked, but don't worry: it was reinforced with concrete, so it's safe now (probably).