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Turkey's leaning minaret rivals Tower of Pisa
Turkey's leaning minaret rivals Tower of Pisa

Minaret of Harput Ulu mosque in Elazig tints further than medieval Italian tower

World Bulletin / News Desk

The angle of an 11th century mosque minaret near the eastern Turkish city of Elazig has drawn comparisons with Pisa’s famous leaning tower.

The red brick minaret of Harput Ulu mosque in Alayaprak is currently sloping 6.8 degrees away from the perpendicular -- 1.3 degrees greater than the Tower of Pisa’s current list, which, according to the organization that looks after the World Heritage site in northwest Italy, is 5.5 degrees.

The Selcuk-era mosque -- the first built with an open-air courtyard -- was constructed in 1157 by King Fahrettin Karaaslan of the Artquid dynasty that ruled the region in the 11th and 12th centuries.

Seventeen years later, the Tower of Pisa was erected as a bell tower for the city’s cathedral.

While not achieving the same degree of fame as its rival in Pisa, the minaret has attracted visitors to Elazig for many years.

“The inclinometer has measured the inclination four times a day for two years,” Ismail Aytac, a Turkish-Islamic art historian at nearby Firat University, said.

“The final results have revealed that the current inclination is 6.8. The two-year measurement course also revealed that the leaning degree of the minaret has not changed in two years.

“We guess that the inclination was caused by the shift in the ground and earthquakes.”

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