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Leaning Towers of China
If we talk about a leaning tower, the first image that comes to mind is the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. But a little known fact is that China boasts many such leaning towers. Here we introduce five of the most famous ones.

Huqiu Tower (as the picture shows) has been named China’s Leaning Tower of Pisa by world architects. Situated outside Changmen, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, it is also known as the Yunyan Temple Tower. The tower was built in the later period of the Five Dynasties (907-960 AD) and is 47 meters high. It is a seven-story octangular building built with blue bricks. The pavilion structure is extremely complicated and its color is magnificent. In more than a thousand years the tower has gradually slanted due to forces of nature. Now the top and bottom of the tower vary by 2.32 meters.

Huzhu Tower of Tianma Mountain was built in 1079 in what is now Songjiang County, a suburb of Shanghai, some 100 years earlier than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The tower is also octangular with seven stories, measuring 18.82 meters high. It was built from bricks and wood. About 20 years ago, a survey of the structure proved that the tower body was leaning seriously to the southeast, about 2.27 meters from its axle. The gradient has reached nearly 7 degrees now, even greater than that of the Pisa Tower.

Qianwei Town Leaning Tower is a brick and stone-structured tower situated in Suizhong County, Liaoning Province. The 10-meter-high three-story tower was built in the ninth century. Affected by the subsidence of its groundsill, the tower began to lean. About 30 years ago the gradient reached 12 degrees, twice that of the Pisa Leaning Tower.

Iron Tower of Yuquan Temple was built in 1061 in what is now Dangyang County, Hubei Province, 113 years earlier than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was the first iron-cast leaning tower in China, also called Buddha Stupa. The tower was founded with pig iron, weighing 53 tons and 17.9 meters high. It is octangular and has 13 stories. While building the tower, the architects took into consideration the strong north wind in the area and intentionally gave the tower a 1.5-degree slant north. As a result, the tower still stands erect after experiencing wind and rain for nearly 1,000 years.

Guilong Tower is located on the bank of Zuojiang River in Chongzuo County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. It is also called the “Zuojiang Leaning Tower”. The 25-meter high hexangular tower was built with blue bricks and is five stories. The top and bottom vary by one meter. Experts say the craftsmen deliberately tilted the tower to the left in consideration of the wind from the river and its geological position in the area. That’s why the tower still stands perfect after hundreds of years.

(China.org.cn by Li Jinhui April 14, 2003)

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