The Colosseum: World's Sinking Cities and Crumbling Sites

PHOTO: The Coliseum
Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

All over the world, many of our beloved cities and landmarks are sinking at alarming rates. From rising sea levels to crumbling foundations, some of the world's wonders may not be here for our descendants to enjoy.

Here are some of the cities and landmarks that may fall victim to the earth and sea.

PHOTO: The Coliseum
Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images
The Colosseum

Rome's Colosseum is sinking. According to the Guardian, the ancient amphitheatre is approximately 15.5 inches lower on its south side than on its north. Officials believe vibrations from busy roads and a subway line close to the Colosseum may have contributed to its deterioration.

Fortunately for the city's iconic structure, help is one the way. A $30 million restoration project, funded by the founder of luxury shoemaker Tod's, is slated to begin in December. The restoration is expected to be completed in two and a half years.

PHOTO: Tourists relax at central Rome's Trevi fountain monument on August 12, 2010.
Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images
The Trevi Fountain

Several stone laurel leaves have fallen from Rome's popular Trevi Fountain, which has raised concerns that one of the city's most famous landmarks may need its first major restoration in two decades.

According to The Telegraph, snow that fell in the city during an unusual winter cold spell likely worsened already-present cracks in the monument, causing chunks to fall. The pieces that fell reportedly came from the left side of the fountain.

Workers removed other pieces Monday that appeared to be in danger of falling on tourists and passersby.

With the city short on funds, an appeal for monies has begun for the 250-year-old Baroque masterpiece. The Trevi Fountain is considered one of the most celebrated tourist attractions in Rome.

PHOTO: The Matterhorn
AWL Images/Getty Images
The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn, one of the most celebrated mountains to pierce the sky, is slowly crumbling because of the increasing temperature of the Earth, according the Daily Mail.

Sitting on the border of Switzerland and Italy, the mountain stands 14,690 feet tall, with its characteristic steep sides.

University of Zurich researcher Stephan Gruber told The Independent, "There has been a big increase in the number of rock falls in the past decade that can't be explained simply by the fact that we're looking out for them more now."

Researchers theorize that melting water is seeping into the cracks of the mountain, freezing and then thawing again, causing large parts of the mountain to crumble.

PHOTO: The Taj Mahal, India, is shown.
Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images
The Taj Mahal

Architects believe the Taj Mahal, built more than 350 years ago as a symbol of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's love for his wife, could slowly be sinking. According to the BBC, one of the minarets of the building has tilted by 3.5 centimeters over the last 30 years.

The Taj Mahal was built on the Yamuna River and its ebony foundation requires a steady stream of moisture from the river to maintain stability. But now the river dries up completely during the summer months, causing the breakdown of the foundation and resulting tilt.

PHOTO: The Grand Canal with the Rialto Bridge in the background, Venice, Italy.
Miles Ertman/Getty Images
Venice, Italy

Venice, also known as La Serenissima, "the most serene one," has sunk about 11 inches, according to the BBC. But the greater threat is the sea level. As the city is sinking, the sea level is also rising.

The government created the MOSE project to help keep the water from overtaking the city. The project began in 2011 and is a series of 78 gates to keep the water off the land.

PHOTO: A screen grab of a time-lapse video of the art installation Plunge, on the Duke of York Column in London, Feb. 5 2012 is shown. Plunge, by artist Michael Pinksy, was intended to illustrate the effects of climate change.
ArtsadminUK/YouTube
London, England

A new art installation by Michael Pinsky uses lights to show the predicted sea level of London in the year 3111, according to the artist's website. He used recognizable landmarks, like Paternoster Square, seen here, to show what could be underwater in 1,000 years.

"At one level the viewer can extend an imaginary line from the monument across London placing themselves deep below the water's surface, at another level the illumination suggests a protective shell proposing that we still have chance to change this situation," Pinsky wrote on his website.

PHOTO: Zocalo Square, Cathedral and El Palacio Nacional, Mexico City, Mexico.
Robert Frerck/Getty Images
Mexico City

Mexico City is sinking at an alarming rate. The capital city was built on an island in the middle of a lake in the 1500s by the Aztecs. Flooding has been a huge problem ever since. Attempts to control the flooding have not been fruitful.

And as the population grew, so did the problem. Parts of the Mexican capital are sinking by as much as eight inches per year, according the AZcentral.com.

PHOTO: An aerial view of French Polynesia, Bora Bora Island.
Sylvester Adams/Getty Images
Bora Bora

The island of Bora Boa, a vacationers dream, is slowly sinking. According to Internationalcuruit.com, the tropical island is sinking at a rate of one centimeter per century. And for an island that is estimated to be four million years old, that is an alarming rate.

PHOTO: An aerial view of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
The Washington Monument

The 2011 earthquake that rocked the East Coast of the United States did some serious damage to the Washington Monument, leaving it cracked and maybe even causing it to sink. According to the Associated Press, the repairs for the damage from the 5.8 earthquake could be up to $15 million and America's most recognizable landmark could remain closed until August 2013.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...