The most leaning tower in the world is in Rheinhessen


Es simply missing a Galileo Galilei. Then the history of Gau-Weinheim would have been quite different for centuries. But here, deep in Rheinhessen, unlike in Pisa, no case tests were undertaken and no case laws were discovered, as the famous polymath is said to have done in his native city of Pisa in the 16th century from the world-famous Leaning Tower there. Here in Gau-Weinheim there is just a tower. Everyone in the village knew that it was a bit “schepp”, as the Rheinhesse says instead of “skewed”.

But for many decades no one suspected that it was as crooked as it is, and on the “least” side even more crooked than the Tower of Pisa or any other tower in the world. “In all my 73 years here in town, I’ve always been joking about whether the tower will fall over soon,” says Hans-Bernhard Krämer, mayor of the community with barely 400 inhabitants around 30 kilometers south of Mainz.

Tower crooked, age unknown

It hasn’t fallen over yet, and even now that Erwin Gottschlich is pointing the way inside, it doesn’t look fragile at all. On the mezzanine floor, made of wooden slats in the tower, you can feel the inclination. The ground drops by a good 20 centimeters over the four meters from one side of the tower to the other. “Unfortunately, we don’t know why that is,” says Gottschlich.

Record hunter: Mayor Hans-Bernhard Krämer (left) and Erwin Gottschlich, founder of the initiative to nominate the “leaning tower in the world”


Record hunter: Mayor Hans-Bernhard Krämer (left) and Erwin Gottschlich, founder of the initiative to nominate the “leaning tower in the world”
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Image: Domenic Driessen


A few years ago, he took on the tower and its past, being responsible for global control unit programming at Opel, GM and Stellantis until he retired. The local archive stored in Darmstadt was burned during the Second World War, and Gottschlich has been looking for documents for some time now. One of his last hopes is the chronicle of the diocese of Mainz, where somewhere there might be a mention of Gau-Weinheim and the tower right next to the church.



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