The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy might lose its claim to fame…in a couple thousand years. The tower known worldwide for its iconic tilt has actually been straightening out over the past two decades. It’s now leaning about an inch-and-a-half less than it was 20 years ago.
Concerns over the tower eventually collapsing have always been prevalent. The tower started tilting almost immediately after its construction in 1173, though it hasn’t actually been in danger of collapse until 1990, when it was closed for 11 years for restoration. The project included attaching braces and weights to the structure, as well as removing soil from one side, to encourage straightening. Now, however, it’s projected to become so stable, its famous tilt may look slightly less dramatic.
Its ability to withstand time and the elements, while retaining its patented tilt, is considered nearly miraculous. Attempting to explain the phenomenon, George Mylonakis, civil engineering professor at Bristol University, told CBS News, “The walls are particularly thick and so the whole structure is very stiff,” which may be the reason why the structure remains standing despite many strong earthquakes.
Don’t worry, though. You’ll still be able to take a “pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa” picture on your next trip to Italy. At this rate, it would take thousands of years for the tower to completely straighten.