Leaning Tower of Nevyansk


January 24, 2022

The Leaning Tower of Nevyansk is an 18th century tower located in the center of Nevyansk, a town in the Ural Federal District located about 100 km north of Yekaterinburg. The tower is famous for its steepness and is the symbol of Nevyansk, which is also featured on the city's coat of arms.


The name of the tower's designer is not known, and the exact years of its construction are not certain either: according to some sources, the building was built between 1721 and 1725 at the behest of the industrialist Akinfij Nikitič Demidov (in Russian: Акинфий Никитич Демидов?), Son of Nikita Demidov, the progenitor of the Demidov dynasty. According to other sources, the works lasted until 1732 or even until 1745.The tower was recently renovated and houses a museum and a panoramic terrace.


The tower, built in brick, is 57.5 meters high and has a quadrangular base of 9.5 meters on each side. At the base, the thickness of the walls is about two meters.The first two floors are flanked by a portico surmounted by a gable roof supported by a particular wrought iron truss, with a span of 9 meters and 7.5 meters high The function of the tower is not completely clear: in addition to being a symbol of the power of the Demidov family, the structure was probably used as a clock tower and watchtower. It is possible that the foundation floor was also used as a prison. According to legends, the basement also housed a foundry for the production of counterfeit coins, but there is no evidence to support this rumor. According to some documents Akinfij Demidov used the second floor as an office and safe for storing gold and documents. Soot samples taken during the renovation work suggest that the third floor housed a laboratory with a furnace for working metals, especially gold and silver. The fourth, fifth and sixth floors, with a square plan, contain only the stairs for the upper floors. The three upper floors have an octagonal plan and are equipped with a balcony surrounded by wrought iron railings. The seventh and eighth floors house a particular clock made up of three dials and ten English-made bells capable of playing different melodies. The bells bear an engraving in Latin which testifies to their creation by Richard Phelps in 1730. Demidov appears to have paid 5 000 rubles for the clock, while the rest of the tower cost 4 207 rubles. The ninth floor was probably used as an observation point.The tower ends with a spire in the shape of an octagonal pyramid, on top of which there is a cast iron weather vane and a cast iron ball in the shape of a sun surrounded by rays with the function of Lightning rod, a system developed by Benjamin Franklin only in 1760. The sphere located on the top is actually a copy while the original, damaged by use, is kept in the museum inside the tower. At the base, the tower has a slope of about 3 degrees, which causes an imbalance of about 2 meters at the seventh floor. The upper floors were instead built with a slight counter-slope, and at the top the tower has a deviation from the vertical axis of 1.85 meters.

Legends about the origin of the slope

According to a legend, the tower was voluntarily built on a slope so that it projected towards the southwest, in the direction of Tula, the hometown of Akinfij Demidov. Another legend tells that, at the end of the works, Demidov climbed to the top of the tower together with the architect who had designed it. Here he asked him if he would be able to build another even more beautiful tower, and when the architect answered yes he Demidov pushed him further.

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