Huzhu Pagoda is a Chinese Pagoda located on Tianmashan Hill in the Songjiang District of Shanghai. It is known for its leaning angle, surpassing that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
History & Background
As its inclination is greater than that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it is called No 1 leaning tower in the world. According to the record of the Annals of Songjiang Fuzhi, Huzhu Pagoda behind Yuanzhi Temple was built by Xu Wenquan, a country gentleman in Hengshan in the second year of Emperor Yuanfeng's reign in the Song Dynasty (1079).
Over time, Huzhu Pagoda has fallen into bad repair and became seriously damaged. Ming Zhai Xiao Shi written in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) describes: In the 53rd year of Emperor Qianlong's reign in the Qing Dynasty (1788), Yuanzhi Temple set off firecrackers and offered sacrifice to the god, the sparks flew to the pagoda top and set it on fire.
The fire burned down the pagoda's core, wooden ladders, floor slabs, eaves and top. Only the brick part was left. Some time later, somebody found coins in the period of Emperor Yuanfeng, so he removed the bricks to look for more coins. Many local people followed him. As a result, at the northwestern corner of the bottom floor, a hole with a diameter of about 2m was formed. Since then, the pagoda inclined day by day.
In 1982, Shanghai cultural heritage authority made a field investigation of the pagoda. The investigation result indicates: Huzhu Pagoda leans southeastward. Huzhu Pagoda was listed as a heritage site under the protection of Shanghai in 1980. The municipal cultural heritage authority set up "Tianmashan Huzhu Pagoda Research and Renovation Team" in 1982, started renovation in 1983 and completed the renovation and maintained the "leaning" character in 1987.
The pagoda is an octahedral tower with seven levels and a height of around 20 meters. The tower leaned to the southeast at an angle of 6.51 degrees in 1982 and has since then tilted even further to an angle of 7.10 degrees. The top of the tower is displaced 2.27 meters from the position it would have if the structure was aligned perfectly. The leaning is most likely caused by the tower being built on two different surfaces, with one side on the mountain's bedrock and the other on stone ballast.
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