"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How Important is a Good Foundation?

Today we are going to travel. On this trip we will be making a stop in Italy and another one in Egypt.  No one needs a passport or a visa, but we do need thinking caps.
Before we get started though, I’d like to tell you a little about the journey we are going to take.  We will be exploring two ancient structures, both still standing.  They both have a story to tell, and though mysterious it may seem, their stories are a question for us.  Let’s get started.
 Nestled by the Arno River, sits the beautiful Town of Pisa Italy perfectly back dropped by the tall Tuscany Hills. Near the Historical center of this beautiful town sits the famous Miracle Square, with its Cathedral, Baptistery, and of course the Bell Tower.  The Bell Tower, otherwise known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is going to be the main interest for this stop in Italy.  
Picture Used from telegraph.co.uk

The tower has a rich history dating back to the time when the foundation was laid beginning in 1173, but we do not have time, in this brief visit, to explore its vast history, so we will just try to catch the highlights before we have to go on to our next stop in Egypt. 
One of the questions that some of you may be asking is “Why does this tower lean?”  This is actually a very easy question to answer.  In 1178 when the work had progressed to only the second floor, it was discovered that the Tower was sinking.  This was due to a mere three meter foundation, set in weak, unstable soil. The village of Pisa actually got its name in 600 B.C. from a Greek word meaning “Marshy Land” and the Free Standing Bell Tower of Miracle Square is not the only thing “sinking” in Pisa.  The Cathedral and Baptistery are also sinking, and it is interesting to find that there are several other “Leaning Towers” in this same city. 
The Towers weight is estimated at an astounding 16,000 tons.  It is no wonder that the Tower is slowly sinking with the inadequate foundation it has, set in the soil that it is set in.

Used from fabmums.com

In 1990 it was discovered that the Tower was leaning an amazing 5.5 degrees over its foundation.  That is some 16 or so feet that the top was leaning out over the base.  Immediately crews were set to work to bring the tower into a more stable position.  Loose sandy soil was dug out from the High side in an attempt to bring the Tower the other way.  Heavy weights were then applied, once again to the high side, causing it to settle even more.  In the end the Tower was brought to a safer lean of 3.99 degrees.  They might have been able to bring it the rest of the way, but they left it somewhat leaning because “The Leaning Tower of Pisa” is a tourist attraction and they most likely would have lost the attraction when they lost the lean. 
For over eight hundred years this amazing Tower has been standing.  But what a different story we could have told, if only it had had the foundation it needed.  Just think for a moment with me, If it had the foundation it needed, it may have still been an attraction for Tourists, but it would have never needed all the time and work that was put into it to try to save it. How badly do we need a good foundation to plant our feet upon?
Well I do fear that our time here in Pisa has come to a close, but I will not soon forget this amazing Tower and its story.  As we prepare to travel to Egypt you may want some cool clothes as it may get quite warm.  But besides that, let’s get stated. 
Join us again for part two next time.  “How important is a good Foundation part 2”

Information for this post was gleaned from:  Wikipedia; towerofpisa.info;  TLC Family;  BBC News for 1990 on Leaning Tower of Pisa;  and a few other sites.   

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