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Pisa - UNESCO World Heritages in Tuscany Pisa - leaning tower

Pisa is famous for so called “leaning tower”, although it is not the only wonder of architecture in the city. Cathedral complex Campo dei Miracoli was granted the World Legacy status in 1986. It includes the leaning belltower, Santa Maria Magiore Cathedral and baptistery. These buildings build up common ensemble which captivates with the whiteness of marble and harmony of style: refraining arches are crowned with orbed windows. Campo Santo is a graveyard which is not far from Campo dei Miracoli. The holy ground which covers the graveyard was brought here from Jerusalem by sea in XIII century. Deterrent frescoes remind of punishment for sinners in the other world.

The history of the building and the “leaning” of the belltower is not less amazing than the tower itself. Erection started in 1173 and by the end of XIII century half-built tower began to incline. The top storey along with belfry were shifted in order to keep the balance and the belltower started to lean another way. At the moment 54 meter tower has a vertical 5 meter declination. Not surprisingly the visiting of the belltower is a rare case for the sake of security. The architects seek the medium for salvation of the glorified tower till present days.

You will love Pisa not only for its architecture but also for its traditions. Historical performances take place in summer in the frames of annual city festival on the bridge Ponte di Mezzo.

You will get aqcuainted with a great number of unique buildings going down the Arno bay: Madonna dei Galetti Church, XVIII century, Palazzo Upeccingi, XVI century, Palazzo Agostini, XV century. The buiding of the church San Paolo a Ripa d´Arno is dated by XI century and it used to be the main church before the Cathedral had been built and is also known as Duomo Vecchio. San Piero a Grado is the basilica, which is situated on the left bank of the Arno, where according to the legend the Fisherman landed on his return from Turkey to Rome. The contrast of tuff, black and white marble gives severe visage of the Roman-Pisan church. Basilica is dated by XI century though the western wing keeps the relic of the early Christians. San Zeno abbey is the masterpiece of the Roman culture and it is one of the oldest buildings in Pisa (X century). Santa Caterina church which was build on the place of the ancient chapel dates back to XIII century. Santa Maria della Spina church entreasures the unique legend of Jesus Christ crown of thorns. The church was situated on the sandy riverbank and was constantly damaged by the floods. In 1871 it was moved to a safer place and you may visit it there nowadays.

A number of Pisan monuments of architecture are the work of the legendary Giorgio Vasari. Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri church erected from his design was later decorated by splashing paintings of Pisan artists. Horologium Palace (Orologio) emerged from two towers united by Vasari with one huge arch. Later there was established the library of Higher school. The Higher school itself originated by Napoleon was disposed in Palazzo dei Cavalieri (the Palce of Knights) famous for its leaning marbl staircases and stands on Piazza dei Cavalieri (Square of Knights) with a form of irregular polygon. You may not miss the University of Pisa – one of the oldest and prestigious in the world and Lorenzo de Medici ordered to erect the main building of Palazzo della Sapienza (the University Palace).

There is a Charterhouse not far from Pisa. White marble façade with staircases from both sides of the main church emphasizes its nobility and pride. In 1943 the monks passed the Charterhouse to the state and since then it hosts the Museum of history of art and the Museum of natural history.

Photo: Eugeniy Tikhonov

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