German steeple beats Leaning Tower of Pisa into Guinness book

Other News Materials 9 November 2007 00:55 (UTC +04:00)

( AFP ) - A 15th century church steeple in Germany has snatched the accolade of the most tilted tower in the world from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Guinness Book of World Records confirmed on Thursday.

The 27-metre-high (86-feet-high) steeple in the northern village of Suurhusen tilts at an angle of 5.19 degrees compared to just 3.97 degrees for the Pisa tower.

In a ceremony to mark Guinness World Records Day on Thursday, the book's editors handed over a certificate to mark the accomplishment to church officials.

"We have always known it, but now it's official," said the pastor of the church, Frank Wessels.

According to local historian Tjabbo van Lessen, the church was built in marshy land in 1450 on foundations of oak tree trunks which were preserved by the water in the ground.

When the land was drained in the 19th century, the wood rotted, causing the tower to tilt.

The steeple was closed to the public in 1975 for safety reasons, but re-opened 10 years later after being made safe.

Suurhusen is a village of 1,200 residents near Germany's border with the Netherlands.