Tower Facts



  • Romans, Byzantines and medieval Europeans built defensive towers in city walls and beside gates, giving them platforms for raining missiles on enemies.
  • Early churches had square towers as landmarks to be seen from afar. From the 1100s, European cathedrals had towers called steeples, topped by a pointed spire.
  • Spires began as pyramids on a tower, but got taller and were tapered to blend into the tower to make a steeple.
  • In the 17th and 18th centuries church spires became simple and elegant, as in Park Street Church, Boston, USA.
  • The tallest unsupported tower is Toronto’s 553 m-high CN tower.
  • The tallest tower supported by cables is the 629 m TV broadcast tower near Fargo and Blanchard in the USA.
  • The Leaning lower of Pisa in Italy is a 55 m high belltower or campanile: Building began in 1173, and it started to lean as the workers built the third storey. It is now 4.4 in out of true.
  • The Tower of Babel was a legendary tower built in ancient Babylon in the Near East. The Bible says God didn’t want this high tower built, so he made the builders speak different languages to confuse them.
  • The Pharos was a 135 m lighthouse built around 283 BC to guide ships into the harbor at Alexandria in Egypt.
  • The Tower of Winds or Horologium, was built in Athens around I00 l3C to hold a sundial, weather vane and water clock.
  • Big Ben is the clock in St Stephen’s Tower in London’s Houses of Parliament. The tower once had a cell where ‘rioters’ like suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst were held in Rig Ben first tolled in 1859.