Architectural flaws from the past or modern day jewels?

By Sergio González | 11:42

Who built the Tower of Pisa has never settled but a bunch of coincidences made it possible to still stand. This leaning ode to poor planning in historical structures was started in 1172, a time of wealth and splendor in Pisa, as the campanile -bell tower- that had to attract parishioners to Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral.

Italian cities were independent from each other and were constantly competing with each other in every possible field. They aspired to be admired by their urban beauty and Pisa thought that a heavy marble tower -14,700 tons- on unstable soil seemed a like a good idea. As soon as the second floor was built, the tower gained interest in the mechanics of gravity resulting in a huge deception for Pisans.

War struck Italy and lasted for several centuries, which unwillingly saved the tower. Warfare demands halted the construction allowing it to harden and settle. 344 years were needed before  Pisans finally heard the bells ringing.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was meant to exist because, despite any flaws, the whole piazza is so beautiful that even an allied sergeant at World War II couldn’t obey his orders to strike the place when they discovered the Germans were using it as an observation tower.

Pisa is a historical city, well-known for its famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, but also for its many marvelous monuments,churches and cathedrals, shops, university, and restaurants. Right in the middle of all the action you will find the NH Cavalieri with its extremely convenient location in this stunning city, right by the train station and just ten minutes from the airport. You can also have a quick bite to eat at Il Cavaliere restaurant in a friendly and well-lit space that welcomes you with the best seasonal products, regional and international dishes, and a market-fresh menu that changes weekly. What more could you ask for? 

The Bent Pyramid, historic structure correction ‘on the go’

 

The story behind Meidum Pyramid flaw is one of overreaching.

We are in Egypt, circa 2615 BC.

Huni is going to be the last pharaoh of his dynasty (the third for Egyptologists) and he knows it. He wants a huge pyramid for posterity to remember his name but there’s a huge problem: Imhotep. How could Huni overcome his father’s architect, inventor of the first step pyramid in Egypt?

Huni wasn’t a man easy to impress so he enhanced his architect’s original plans several times while the building was already ongoing. A terrible mistake. Anyway, the pyramid was doomed from the beginning: it had been founded on sand, not on rock.

With all this delay, Huni died before the completion of the pyramid and his successor, Sneferu, had his own plans. The new arrangements  messed with the former ones to eventually collapse the entire construction. Locals call this epic fail the ‘fake pyramid’, el-haram el-kaddab.

Pyramid building is a lot of trouble -they call it pharaonic for that reason- and it seems Sneferu didn’t have enough because he engaged in another colossal fail, the Bent Pyramid.

The Bent Pyramid, located south of Cairo, begun with 54 degrees of inclination but finished at 43º, what gives it its funny look. Archaeologists don’t agree why it happened. Some point to Meidum collapse as the reason; fear seems an acceptable motivation. However, it was most probably due to instability issues during the construction -Sneferu built another one afterwards, the Red Pyramid, at 43º degrees which nicely defies times in the Egyptian desert.

Truth be told, the Bent Pyramid is considered the transition between stepped pyramids and limestone covered smooth ones, of which this otherwise fail is one of the best preserved historical structures in Egypt.

The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful ancient structures man has ever made and so inspiring that legends, myths and tales have bloomed around it even before it was completed in 1653 in Agra, India.

Some of these stories counterfeit each other but there’s a popular tale still told by locals about the brilliance of an architect whose destiny was sentenced by his own geniality.

Everybody has heard that Taj Mahal is a mausoleum for the very much mourned wife of India’s Mughal emperor Shaa Jahan but this story tell us that his chief architect, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, was already building a Taj Mahal for his own lost wife when the emperor saw the construction. Jahan immediately fell for the project and hired Ustad, who was forced to give up his own work and labor for the emperor.

The mind needed to design such overwhelming magnificence surely was clever enough to foresee what the Shah had reserved for him after the mausoleum had been completed. Jahan had a very unpleasant surprise for Ustad but the architect had eternal revenge in the form of flaw in Taj Mahal’s dome.

The emperor forbade Ustad from finishing his little Taj and made sure of it by cutting off his hands but Ustad made Taj Mahal imperfect by adding a little hole on top of the dome that let a drop of rain -a mourning tear if you feel poetic- erode the empress tomb year after year.

Apart from this self-intended architectural revenge, Taj Mahal is perfect. The minarets, the four 40-meters high pillars, are built slightly leaning outwards not to damage the tomb in case Ananta –the snake on where the Earth lies, according to Hindu tradition- decides to shake the ground.

Strictly speaking, these are architectural flaws, not intended by anybody. However, tourism has a soft spot for the unique and these are also some of the most visited monuments in the world. 

Photo credit: he gave his life for YOU

Photo credit: kairoinfo4u

Photo credit: M4rvin

 

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