The slightly less Leaning Tower of Pisa after 8-year makeover

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London, Dec 14 (ANI): The Leaning Tower of Pisa finally got its beauty back after it was cleaned and partially straightened in an eight-year restoration project.

Restorers used chisels and hi-tech laser technology to scrub grime from the more than 24,000 blocks of stone that make up the 183ft tall tower, reports the Telegraph.

The world famous monument has also had its famous list partially corrected after engineers managed to straighten it by 18 inches from the vertical, returning it to its 1838 position.

"The stones were in an appalling state, mainly due to air pollution, though tourists and pigeons played a part," said Anton Sutter, the Swiss-born leader of the 20 million pounds restoration effort.

The tower had also been badly damaged by sea salt - Pisa was once on the coast and became a powerful maritime republic until its harbour silted up.

"The columns (of the tower) are decorated with capitals: flowers, ghoulish faces, fantastical animals," said Sutter.

"But sea salt carried on the wind and rain water that collects in certain areas because of the tower's tilt have damaged many.

"We've taken out the concrete used in past restorations and cleaned up the pigeon dirt, graffiti and handprints left by tourists," Sutter added.

The structure, declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1987, was closed to the public in 1990 when it was found to be nearly 15ft off the vertical.

"The tower was on the verge of collapse, but we managed to stop the tilt and secure it. It's now out of risk for at least the next 200 years," said Giuseppe Bentivoglio, from the Opera Primaziale organisation that preserves the tower. (ANI)

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