Pisa Straightens Up, While Other Towers Battle for ‘Leaning-est’ Title

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Christian Charisius / Reuters

A 15th century church with its tilting tower is pictured in the small northern German village of Suurhusen November 7, 2007, has one of the leaning towers in contention to replace Pisa as the tower with the most lean.

One thing that the righting of the beloved Leaning Tower of Pisa certainly didn’t straighten out was the claim on the new king of leaning towers. The engineering feat that straightened the Italian tower from nearly 6 degrees of lean to under 4, ensuring it could remain a tourism hotbed, has a handful of other cities claiming their towers are the new leaders of leaning. It will take some careful measuring to figure out which one is tops.

The leader remains a tower connected to a church in the village of Suurhusen, in northern Germany. The bright red roof obviously tips away from the church and at 5.19 degrees (as measured in 2007) the Guinness World Records team in London named it the “Farthest Leaning Tower.” But not all Germans aren’t so sure that tower should be named the winner. At least three other German towers have clamored for the top title, and the New York Times reports that a Swiss tower might be the real top leaner.

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High in the mountains of St. Moritz, the 12th-century tower of St. Mauritius has a pronounced lean and requires hydraulic jacks to straighten it as the ground continues to shift underneath. The Times reports that the tower, named for a church that once stood nearby, took a drastic leap toward its demise after a an earthquake in 1976 shook up the lean considerably. But the tower remains standing and even open to the public for those who want to climb to the top.

While tourism has certainly jumped at all the leaning towers making the news, folks in Pisa have also seen their tourism numbers go straight up. We won’t truly know the new leaning leader until someone starts measuring all the old towers in Europe, but all this talk of towers simply means you have more options to go get your picture taken while you pretend to hold up the leaning tower of your choice.

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