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Zaragoza, Spain

Leaning Tower of Zaragoza Memorial

A statue of a boy looks up at where the famous rival to the Leaning Tower of Pisa once stood.  

This statue of a small, lonely boy looks toward a once-famous leaning tower that’s been missing from Zaragoza’s skyline for more than a century.

Built in 1504, the 262-foot-tall (at its peak) tower began leaning soon after it was finished, likely because of its hasty construction. It kept tilting over time, looking as though it could topple over at any second. The tower became one of the most famous leaning towers in Europe and was said to rival the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

By the 19th century, the tower’s tilt had become so alarming the city council had no choice but to attempt to fix it. Hoping to salvage this iconic piece of the city’s skyline, officials removed its triple spire in 1878. But this still wasn’t enough. In 1892, the tower was demolished in what was described as the “greatest artistic crime committed in Spain.” Its bricks were recycled and used in the foundations of new buildings.

The sculpture commemorating the lost tower was placed in the Plaza San Felipe in the 1990s. Stand behind the boy and follow his gaze and you’ll see an image of the tower painted on the wall. A nearby shop contains a small museum dedicated to the structure, complete with photographs and pieces of the rubble.