Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 17:35 UK

Pisa's leaning tower 'stabilised'

By Mark Duff
BBC News, Milan

The leaning tower on Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa. File photo
The tower draws large crowds of tourists every year

Italy's famous leaning tower of Pisa has stopped moving for the first time in its 800-year history, engineers who have worked to stabilise it say.

The man in charge of the team monitoring the 26m euros (20m; $40m) project says the tower should remain stable for at least another 200 years.

It took the team more than 10 years to stabilise the tower.

The work involved extracting some 70 tonnes of earth from the northern side to encourage the tower to right itself.

Title lost

The tower continued to move towards a more upright position when the work finished.

Now, though - seven years later and 48cm (19in) straighter - hi-tech monitors embedded in the soil beneath its foundations and in the tower itself show that it has stopped moving completely.

Even while it was being built, in the late 12th Century, workers noticed that it was starting to tilt. Their attempts to compensate resulted in the completed tower being very slightly bent.

As if to underline the success of the project, the leaning tower recently lost its title as the world's wonkiest piece of architecture to the steeple of a small church in Germany.


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