The Huzhu pagoda leans over Tianma village in Songjiang suburb, its seven-story structure so lopsided it seems in imminent danger of toppling over altogether.
It was built in 1079 — well before Italy's famous Leaning Tower of Pisa — by Gen. Zhou Wenda to house five Buddha relics given to him as a reward by Emperor Song Gaozong of the Southern Song dynasty. But from the start, it began to tilt.
"Part of the foundation was built on rock, part of the foundation was built on mud," explains Yang Kun, who works at the Songjiang Museum and has studied the pagoda's history.
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