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Lean and Mean
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the more challenging wooden building puzzles with 189 pieces. It's designed for ages 8 and up. Assembled, the Leaning Tower puzzle measures 5" x 4.6" x 11.5" (12.7 x 11.68 x 29.21 cm).
3D wooden puzzles come die-cut on 3mm-thick sheets of high-grade wood, complete with sandpaper. They include a picture of the final assembled model and a numbered chart to help you out if you get stuck. Painted, varnished, or left as natural wood, historical puzzles deliver a challenging, educational and creative activity. No tools or glue are necessary, although you might want to use a bit of white glue if you're assembling your model for permanent display. Some pieces may come pre-painted. Background illustration is not included. President not included.
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Are You Curious...?
Most major medieval Italian cities prided themselves on their free-standing bell tower called a campanile. Pisa's tower was begun during a golden age in 1173. By the time workers got busy on the second floor in 1178, the tower had already begun to sink due to an inadequate foundation set in unsuitable subsoil. Construction stopped while nearly a century of on-again, off-again warfare with other city-states gave the soil time to settle. By 1272 the Pisans were ready to have another go at it. In an attempt to set things straight, they built new floors with one side slightly taller than the other, resulting in a curved tower. More wars interrupted the project again. The seventh floor wasn't finished until 1319 and the bell chamber was finally added in 1372 -- 199 years after the foundation was laid.
Thanks to Allied restraint, the tower narrowly escaped destruction when the Germans used it as an observation post during WW2. By 1964, the Italian government launched an effort to keep this major tourist attraction from falling over. 800 tons of lead counterweights bought the structure some time. In 1990 the tower was closed to the public. First they removed the bells to lighten the top. Then they removed 50 cubic yards (38 cubic meters) of soil from underneath the higher side, straightening the tower by 18" (45 cm) to its 1838 position. The Leaning Tower was finally reopened in 2001 and proclaimed stable for another 300 years. Unfortunately, it continued to move. Engineers removed more soil in 2008 and announced that the tower had finally stopped moving for the first time since it was built. Now they say it should be good for another 200 years.