Ivan Gushchin: “The Syuyumbike Tower is known as leaning. It is famous all over the world just like Tower of Pisa”

Ivan Gushchin: “The Syuyumbike Tower is known as leaning. It is famous all over the world just like Tower of Pisa”
Photo: Ilya Repin

The Kazan Kremlin is testing a new technology that will give the opportunity to make measurements of architectural structures better and faster. Laser technology was first used to monitor the condition of the Syuyumbike Tower. The chairman of the Committee of the Republic of Tatarstan for the Protection of Cultural Heritage Objects, Ivan Gushchin, and the chief architect of the OSK company, Alexander Karpov, told Realnoe Vremya about why this technology was chosen, why the measurements began with this tower and how the new devices will be used in the future.

Is the Syuyumbike watch tower leaning?

One of the architectural symbols of Tatarstan has its own history, as well as many legends and secrets. There are several hypotheses about the construction of the tower. Even the inclination of the tower today can be found in the studies of the 1990s. According to the most current information, the lean is 1 m 98 cm.

Chairman of the Committee of the Republic of Tatarstan for the Protection of Cultural Heritage Objects Ivan Gushchin hastened to reassure: “The tower is known as leaning. It is famous all over the world just like the Tower of Pisa. However, there are no facts about the lean. In addition, in the 1990s, serious work was carried out to strengthen the foundations. If during the construction our foundations were about 1,5 metres in total, then in the 1990s, the correct engineering work was done related to the arrangement of 20-metre inclined piles. Therefore, the Syuyumbike Tower is out of danger. But since it is a world heritage site, it is very important for us to have an accurate picture of everything that is happening on the territory of the Kremlin.”

According to the most current information, the lean is 1 m 98 cm

Why does the tower “fall”?

There is no single version of why the tower “falls” yet. It was in order to find out the reasons for the deviation, this year it has been decided to conduct a special laser study of the building.

“There are 47 cultural heritage sites on the territory of the Kazan Kremlin, and the ensemble of the Kazan Kremlin itself is a cultural heritage site. Each building has its own history, and each of them requires attention. We decided to turn to new technologies. Laser scanning has caused a certain resonance, but nevertheless, we want to keep up with the times. For this, we organised engineering laser studies. [ ... ] With the help of them, a three-dimensional construction of cloud space takes place. [ ... ] All historical buildings can be transferred to an electronic database and their possible changes can be tracked," said Ivan Gushchin.

The scanning project cost less than a million rubles. Specialists will need to make 12 measurements and submit monthly reports. It is worth noting that such scan is cheaper and requires less time than conventional measurements. Other buildings in the future will also be scanned in this way. This will make it possible to create a kind of database of significant protected objects.

“The device is based on laser scanning technology. The world-class laser manufactured by Leica Geosystems scans the surrounding space. It rotates and takes a lot of points from each station to get a full image later. The equipment is equipped with cameras that capture colors, with the help of this, a point cloud is obtained, which serves as the basis for analysing the object in space," Alexander Karpov, the chief architect of the OSK company (engaged in laser measurement of the tower), told Realnoe Vremya.

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By Tatyana Novikova. Photo: Ilya Repin
Analytics Tatarstan