Der Schiefe Turm von Bad Frankenhausen® (Leaning Tower of Bad Frankenhausen®) is striking and spectacularly inclined and lends a special charm to the silhouette of the town.
The tower has been a landmark of the town and a popular subject for photographs for centuries. The church "Unsere Lieben Frauen am Berge" (Our Dear Lady on the Mountain) was built as a high Gothic church on the remains of a previous Romanesque building. The Gothic spire helmet burnt down in the 18th century and was replaced by Baroque lanterns. Extensions and alterations were made over the following centuries.
The tower is leaning more and more. Around 1900, after a large landslide, the slanted position of the tower became clearly visible and the first measures to save it started. Two supporting pillars on the eastern and northern side were supposed to prevent any further tilting - but the tower kept on inclining. In the 1930s, ring anchors were laid around the tower and the foundation was widened and, at the start of the 60s, the roof was removed, because it was infested with dry rot. Finally, in 1992, an association for the rescue of the church was founded. Until 2016 various measures were taken to preserve the tower, which is now 4.60 m out of plumb. In 2005, new measurements showed that the tower had developed an average subsidence rate of 6 cm/year in recent years. Two years later, 1 million euros in subsidies were made available and work to stabilise the tower was started. However, the project did not get off to a good start, as the tower had been threatened with demolition in the meantime. The purchase of the church by the city and its inclusion in the "Nationale Projekte des Städtebaus" (National Projects for Urban Building) funding programme has made it possible to secure the tower in the long term.
The steeple is tilted and was almost demolished due to the gypsum and salty subsoil. Deep below the city, water is dissolving salt and gypsum rock, which was deposited here about 250 million years ago in a huge sea. Dissolving the salt from the subsoil can cause the ground to sink. Der Schiefe Turm von Bad Frankenhausen is located on one of these subsidence areas.