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Town gets help to save Europe's wonkiest tower

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Town gets help to save Europe's wonkiest tower
Photo: DPA
15:45 CET+01:00
Federal funding will save the famous leaning tower of Bad Frankenhausen in Thuringia, which is both taller and wonkier than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

“I'm unbelievably happy that we managed to get lucky with the rescue,” Bad Frankenhausen mayor Matthias Strejc told n-tv.

“The government recognizing our leaning tower as a landmark with special national significance and an above-average positive impact on the town makes us very proud.”

The 56-metre tower leans 4.6 metres away from the vertical, half a metre more than the better-known Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Because of underground caves the tower has inched further sideways from a lean of 2.2 metres in 1920, although the subsidence has been slowed by big investments since German reunification.

Now €950,000 of federal cash will go towards solidifying the foundations and keeping it from falling over completely.

Bad Frankenhausen had been seeking help to stabilise the tower for years after taking it over from the Evangelical Church in Thuringia.

The state government had already refused several applications for funding despite the town's conviction that the tower was a powerful tourist draw.

Now the tower has become one of 21 projects the government will support with a total of €50 million of funding as part of the National Urban Planning Projects programme launched on Wednesday.

They were chosen by a jury of MPs, academics and urban planning experts from among 270 applications submitted earlier this year.

“The extremely large resonance of the government's call for submissions exceeded everyone's expectations,” Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said.

“We want to highlight these projects and bring them into public view.”

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