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The Lean, Mean Tower of Pisa

#8 Science in History

15th December 2001

On this day, 2001, the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa is reopened following years of restoration.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most famous landmarks in the world and has been a source of fascination for centuries. However, it was closed to visitors for many years due to its precarious state.

In 2001, after an extensive restoration project, the tower was reopened to the public. The restoration project was a massive undertaking that took more than a decade, and $27 million, to complete. The goal was to realign and stabilize the tower to make it safe for visitors while preserving its historical integrity.

Engineers used a combination of techniques, including soil extraction and lead counterweights, to slowly correct the tilt of the tower. They also added a new foundation and reinforced existing walls with steel cables.

The Tower began to lean shortly after construction began in 1173. The builders attempted to compensate for the lean by making the upper stories slightly taller on one side than the other. It was completed, nearly 200 years later, in 1372.

The tower remains one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions. Visitors can climb the 294 steps to the top of the tower and take in breathtaking views of the surrounding city. The reopening marked an important milestone in the tower’s history, serving as a reminder that even ancient structures can be preserved and enjoyed by future generations.

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