Can You Match the Leaning Tower to the Country? (Pisa Is Only the First Question!)


By: Bambi Turner

7 Min Quiz

Image: Linghe Zhao / Moment Open / Getty Images

About This Quiz

If it weren't for a certain tower, visitors to Tuscany might skip right over Pisa and head straight to larger cities like Florence, Milan or Genoa. Yet the 800-year-old bell tower of the Pisa Cathedral continues to draw a staggering number of tourists to this town on the Arno River. They come to marvel at the marble tower, which sits at an odd angle in the Piazza del Duomo or Cathedral Square. Rising 183 feet above the ground, the structure tilts to one side at a roughly 4-degree angle, making it appear that it's about to topple over at any moment. To keep the pillar standing strong, tourists position themselves all around the square, hands pressed in front of themselves as friends capture photographs of them supposedly supporting the tower's load. Pro tip — it's almost as much fun to watch these tourists pose for photo ops as it is to actually tour the tower and take in the view!

And yet, while the Leaning Tower of Pisa gets all the attention, it's not the only spire tilting towards the Earth. In fact, the angle of the Pisa pillar isn't even all that extreme, compared to others around the globe. So how did these towers get their tilt? Some lean simply due to faulty engineering, such as building on unstable soil or failing to create an adequate foundation to support planned loads. Others were built to last but ended up listing to one side, thanks to earthquakes, floods or even acts of war. Finally, some of these towers were designed this way on purpose, with the pitch meant more as a feature than a flaw.

Know where the world's slanted spires can be found? Prove it with this quiz!

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has been tilting since it was first under construction in the 12th century. Where can you visit this angled wonder?

A 9-foot-thick foundation clearly wasn't enough to support the 183-foot bell tower at the city cathedral in Pisa, Italy, as evidenced by its 4-degree lean. While Mussolini tried to fix the tower when he was in power, his efforts actually made things worse. Millions of dollars were spent on restoration in the late 20th century, stabilizing the structure.


Where can you find Suurhusen, a tower 150 miles west of Hamburg that Guinness calls the world's most tilted?

Leaning a full degree further off-kilter than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the 90-foot-tall brick tower at Suurhusen in Germany tilts at a whopping 5 degrees. Built in the 15th century on a foundation of oak tree trunks, the structure's severe tilt is at least somewhat camouflaged by the surrounding trees.


This country's clock tower sits on the banks of the Thames, and no matter what you've heard, it is NOT called Big Ben!

Believe it or not, even the iconic Palace of Westminster Clock Tower in London, England, has a slight slant. Completed in 1859 using brick, limestone and cast iron, its top is 9 inches away from pointing straight up at the sky. Don't worry — the massive bell named Big Ben, which sits inside the tower, is still hanging in there.


Built by the Song Dynasty during the 10th century, Tiger Hill Pagoda is situated in which Asian nation?

The Yunyan or Tiger Hill Pagoda is so off-kilter that it's earned the nickname the Leaning Tower of China. Completed in the 10th century, it was rebuilt and renovated many times over the centuries to reach its final form, which includes seven octagonal stories stretching up 154 feet.


Which nation is home to the Teluk Intan tower? Hint ... its capital city is Kuala Lumpur, where you can find the world's tallest twin towers.

The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, became the tallest twin towers in the world when they were completed in 2004. Outside of the capital, the Teluk Intan Tower along the Perak River is also worth seeing. While only 85 feet tall, it has a distinctive tilt, thanks to soft ground and a heavy, unbalanced tank used for storing water.


Just west of the capital city of Warsaw, the leaning tower of Torun has been off-kilter for centuries. Where can you visit this tower?

Since it was completed in the 13th century, the leaning tower of Torun, Poland, has served as a defensive tower, a prison and a cafe. Titled off-center thanks to an inadequate foundation, the tower is just 50 feet tall. According to legend, sinners will find that they can't keep their balance inside the medieval Gothic structure.


Which country, which was once ruled by Saddam Hussein, has been home to a leaning tower nicknamed "the hunchback" in the city of Mosul?

Iraq's Minaret of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri was built in the 12th century, but it was both tilted and marred by a bulge that earned it the nickname "the hunchback." After standing for centuries, the 148-foot tall structure was mostly destroyed in the 2017 Battle of Mosul.


Slightly north of Yekaterinburg lies a mysterious tilted tower in the city of Nevyansk. Which country is home to this 189-foot marvel?

The tower next to the golden-domed Old Believer's Church in Nevyansk, Russia, has titled 3 degrees off center since it was built in the 18th century. No one knows exactly what it was used for through the years, but there is physical evidence to suggest that shackled slaves were kept in the tower for some unknown purpose.


Known as the Due Torri in the local tongue, where can you find the Two Towers of Bologna?

The Two Towers of Bologna serve as symbols for this city in northern Italy. The taller of the two measures 318 feet and is known as Asinelli, after the family that commissioned the construction in the 12th century. It leans, but not nearly as much as its shorter neighbor, Garisenda.


In the city of Leeuwarden on the shores of the North Sea, the Oldehove church tower tilts dangerously to one side. What country is home to this site?

Northeast of Amsterdam in the Netherlands lies the tiny city of Leeuwarden. At its center lies a 16th-century Gothic tower, the only remains of the stone church known as Oldehove. The unfinished 128-foot tower has leaned ever since it was built, but it still manages to hold a pair of massive bells.


You'll have to venture to Shanghai in which eastern country to view the inclined Huzhu Pagoda on Tianmashan Hill?

Built as part of a major Buddhist temple complex in the 11th century, the leaning Huzhu Pagoda is on Tianmashan Hill in Shanghai, China. Standing 66 feet high with seven levels arranged in an octagonal design, the tower has a 7-degree tilt, despite a foundation that extends to the bedrock.


New towers can sometimes lean just as much as ancient ones, as evidenced by the Millennium Tower near the Golden Gate Bridge in which nation?

Completed in 2009, the glass modernist Millennium Tower at 301 Mission St. in the U.S. city of San Francisco stretches hundreds of feet into the sky. Unfortunately, it also tilts to one side, leading residents to file lawsuits related to cracks and other damage to their apartments inside.


Name the location of the Leaning Temple of Huma, which is located about 400 miles west of a city once called Calcutta?

Dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, the Leaning Temple of Huma was built in the 17th century. While it is obviously tilted, no one knows whether this incline was done by design or not. It's built on a solid rock foundation, but it's possible floods or earthquakes over the years have knocked it out of level.


The Minaret of Jam sits along the Hari River, more than 350 miles west of Kabul. Which nation is home to this ancient structure?

Built in the 12th century, the circular Minaret of Jam is still covered with elaborate tile and stucco designs that have withstood the centuries. Despite a 3-degree lean, this remote tower in the Ghor Province of Afghanistan has been standing strong for hundreds of years.


A lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay near the former Sharps Island leans 15 degrees to the side, thanks to an ice floe. What country claims this structure?

The Chesapeake Bay meanders through Maryland on the east coast of the U.S. In 1881, the Sharps Island lighthouse was hit by an ice floe and carried off down the bay with its keepers trapped inside. Rebuilt the next year, the lighthouse was hit by another chunk of ice in the 1970s. This collision knocked the structure 15 degrees off-center, but it stayed firmly in one spot. These days, the entire Sharps Island is submerged.


In what country can you find the tilting church tower in the spa town of Bad Frankenhausen? Hint ... it's midway between Frankfurt and Berlin.

The stone tower at the Church of Our Beloved Ladies leans 5 degrees and hasn't stood straight since it was completed in the 1640s. Located in the German town of Bad Frankenhausen, the church no longer has a roof, but its basic structure remains in place on the banks of the Wipper River.


Some say Nero watched Rome burn from the location where the Tower of the Militia now stands. What country is home to this tilted structure?

The Torre delle Milizie or Tower of the Militia was built around the year 1200 in Rome, Italy. Sometimes it is called Nero's Tower because some say it stands on the site where the powerful Emperor watched a fire destroy Rome. The 160-foot structure tilts a few degrees off-center, thanks to a 14th-century earthquake.


Legend has it that the spire on the Church of St. Mary in Chesterfield is off-center because of a sneeze. Where can you see it for yourself?

The town of Chesterfield, England, is home to the massive Church of St. Mary. This 14th-century Gothic structure has a 228-foot spire at the top that twists and leans to one side. This twist could be the result of a sneeze by the Devil, as some claim, or it may simply be due to a lack of structural support. Many people died of the Plague during the time it was constructed, and it's possible that the work was completed by inexperienced carpenters.


The Gate of Europe Towers in Madrid are inclined by design, but do you know which country can claim these slanted spires?

Also known as the KIO Towers, the Gate of Europe Towers in Madrid, Spain, are inclined toward one another at 15-degree angles. Built in the early '90s, the 374-foot structures have matching helipads on top, with one painted red and one blue so pilots can tell them apart from the sky.


Forget canals — the Bell Tower of Burano sits on an island in the Venice Lagoon. Where could you hire a gondolier to take you to see this leaning tower?

Beyond the standard canals in Venice, Italy, there is also an entire lagoon surrounding the city. Within this lagoon sits the island of Burano, which is home to the Church of San Martino and its leaning bell tower. If you're ever in the area, check out the brightly painted homes, the colors of which are tightly regulated by the local government.


Located in Wales, Caerphilly Castle appeared in several episodes of "Doctor Who." Which country served as the backdrop for these episodes?

One of the largest castles in England, Wales' Caerphilly Castle was built in the 13th century and stood tall until it was transformed into a ruin by Oliver Cromwell's forces in the 1600s. Various towers still stand on the site, but some, like the southeast tower, tilt up to 10 degrees.


Which country is home to a tilting temple in the state of Uttar Pradesh — the same state that is home to the Taj Mahal?

Make a detour on that Taj Mahal visit and check out India's Temple of Varanasi. Built in the 19th century, it's at such a low elevation that it's almost always submerged in water, leaving part of the building poking above the surface at an odd angle.


At which country's UNESCO World Heritage Site can you find the many tilted towers and temples of Bagan? Hint ... this country used to be Burma.

Just southwest of Myanmar's capital of Mandalay lies the ancient city of Bagan. Home to more than 3,000 temples built between the 10th and 13th centuries, the complex covers 40 square miles. While many of the buildings are out of level, one stone structure in the Khaymingha complex is so slanted that it's earned the nickname the Leaning Tower of Bagan.


Do you know which country built an inclined tower at the stadium they used to host the 1976 Olympics in Montreal?

Canada welcomed the world to Montreal to watch the 1976 Olympic Games. The stadium used to hold the opening ceremonies included a tower tilted at 45 degrees. A funicular inside carried guests at an angle to the top. The tower is still in use today, but it has been transformed into office space.


Can you name the country where you can view a half-size replica of the famous tower in Pisa, just northeast of Chicago's O'Hare Airport?

In the U.S. state of Illinois, the city of Niles is home to a perfect half-size replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Like the original, it leans, but this one measures only 94 feet. It was built in 1934 to hide a water tower and equipment for two nearby swimming pools.


Sandwiched between Poland and Hungary, name the country where you can view the leaning clock tower of Banska?

On the Hron River in central Slovakia lies the town of Banska. A tilted clock tower in the town square once served as a watchtower, and visitors who climb the 101 steps to the top can take in a view of the Low Tatras Mountains.


The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda can be found near a massive cache of clay soldiers known as the Terracotta Army. Which country is home to these landmarks?

The Silk Road passed through China's Shaanxi Province, so it's no surprise that this area is full of ancient wonders. In addition to the Terracotta Army, which is still being uncovered by archaeologists, the area is home to the Wild Goose Pagoda. Built in 652, it was repeatedly damaged and restored over the centuries, and it now stands just a few degrees off-center.


Can you choose the country that is home to the leaning tower of Pas-de-Calais, which sits just a mile from the English Channel?

La Tour Penchee in Pas-de-Calais, France, served as a military tower during WWII, disguised as a church steeple to confuse enemy fighter pilots. The tower got its severe lean after the war ended and a planned demolition failed.


When Disney decided to open a new park in Shanghai, this nation relocated some residents to new apartment buildings, which later developed a lean. What country is this?

To accommodate a new Disney theme park in Shanghai, the Chinese government built new housing in Pudong to relocate citizens away from land zoned for the park. Unfortunately, those who moved into Buildings #17 and 18 in the Xinyuan West Community found that the twin 15-story buildings shared a foundation. This caused them to lean and eventually butt into one another along the roofline.


A severely leaning tower is all that remains of the city wall of Dausenau, a town located between Cologne and Frankfurt in the western part of what country?

The watchtower of Dausenau, Germany, leans a whopping 5.24 degrees. That should make it the world's most leaning tower, but Guinness denied this town that record in 2010, calling it a ruin rather than a true tower.


Where did Greek refugees build the now-leaning Venetian-style Bell Tower of San Giorgio dei Greci, after fleeing the Ottomans in the 1500s?

After fleeing the Ottomans, Greek refugees settled in Venice, Italy, in the 1500s and built the Church of San Giorgio dei Greci. While the church is impressive for its blend of Venetian and Ottoman design, what really catches the eye is the bell tower, which tilts so much that it appears ready to crash into a nearby canal at any second.


Whether you call it a flag staff or a tower, you'll probably agree that the pillar of Ettumanoor Temple is leaning. Do you know where it's located?

Outside of Ettumanoor Temple in southern India sits a majestic golden tower that holds an idol of a bull at the top. Because of its intense tilt, it's surrounded by a copper fence to hold the pillar in place and prevent it from leaning any further.


Guess which country is home to the Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi, which was designed to tilt at an 18-degree angle?

The capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, is home to plenty of impressive skyscrapers, though none lean quite like the Leaning Tower, also known as the Capital Gate. This 520-foot modern structure with its 18-degree lean required 490 pilings sunk 100 feet deep to support its unusual design.


Which country, whose capital is Brussels, is home to the Leaning Belfry of Bruges?

The city of Bruges lies on the western coast of Belgium, near the North Sea. Built in 1240, the leaning tower known as the Belfry of Bruges controlled the schedule of the city and its citizens for hundreds of years via a system of ringing bells. Today, you can climb the 366 steps to the top of the tower for a small fee to take in the view.


The Szecseny Firewatch is located just northeast of Budapest, the capital city of which European Country?

First constructed in the 1700s out of wood, Hungary's Szecseny Firewatch was rebuilt numerous times over the years, most recently in 1893. While this Baroque structure still stands proudly in the heart of the city, it now tilts 3 degrees to the side and is slightly shorter, thanks to WWII bombings.


On the west coast region of this country lies the rugged land called Galway, home to a tilted tower at Kilmacduagh. Know where it's located?

The monastery at Kilmacduagh in western Ireland was constructed between the 7th and 10th centuries. While much of the structure was destroyed by enemy armies in the 1200s, a round tower on the site still stands to this day. Just under 100 feet tall, it lists to one side and has only a single entrance — located one story above the ground.


It's possible that the Iron Tower of Yuquan, located just south of the Mongolian border, is inclined by design, but can you guess its location?

A Buddhist temple made from cast iron, the Iron Tower of Yuquan in northern China tilts 1.5 degrees to the north. Some theorize that this lean was part of the design, intending to help the tower withstand strong winds from the north. Considering it's still standing 1,000 years after it was built, the engineering team must have known what they were doing.


Only in this country would a leaning water tower, like this one in Groom, Texas, draw in the tourists, but do you know where it's located?

When truck stop owner Ralph Britten saw an old water tower for sale, he bought it and installed it near his Groom, Texas, business. Britten purposely drove the legs of the tank down into the soil in such a way that the tower tilted 10 degrees off-center, to attract attention. Though Britten's truck stop burned down long ago, the leaning water tower of Groom still draws visitors on this stretch of old Route 66.


There's more than one leaning tower just in the city of Pisa, believe it or not. Know where Pisa's San Michele Church is located?

Too many tourists at that more famous leaning tower in Pisa, Italy? Head to the east side of town to the Church of San Michele degli Scalzi. Built in the 11th century in the Romanesque style, it leans even more than that other tower everyone goes to see, yet it draws much smaller crowds.


Can you name the country where visitors flock to see a structure called the Dancing House, in the heart of Prague?

Most towers in this quiz have a lean that's not necessarily seen as a good thing. In the case of the Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic, however, the extreme lean is the product of a creative design team. Now serving as the headquarters of Nationale Nederlanden, the fabulous leaning building was designed in the Deconstructivist style by none other than Frank Gehry and Czech engineer Vlado Milunic.


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