The History of the Eiffel Tower

Hi everyone, Today’s post is about The Eiffel Tower as exactly One hundred and thirty-three years ago today construction had first begun on what is now a main attraction in Paris, it has become one of the most visited attractions Paris as to offer. So how did this fine architect structure come to be?

How The Eiffel Tower Come to Be?

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, not just for being the most romantic place to be, but for what it as to offer with its unique features that defines it, in addition to love, lights, art and croissants it is also renowned for its breathtakingly beautiful architectures. From the enchanting Art Nouveau Entrances to its elegant Gothic Cathedrals, the capital city exhibits its French architecture at its finest, which includes the Eiffel Tower amongst its features.

The unofficial emblem of Paris is the most recognizable, being the Eiffel Tower. There are not many that is aware of its unique history and controversial beginnings. Here I will be telling you the story behind the tower that stands so tall over the city, for over a hundred and thirty years.

The Reason Why the Eiffel Tower was Built?

The company Eiffel et Compagnie is owned by French engineer and architect Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel who had designed and constructed the tower for the Exposition Universelle, or worlds’ fair, in 1889.

Gustav was selected from over 100 entries, he and his company were hired to build it, as they wanted it to act as an entrance to the event, where people all around the world would gather to experience its avant-garde attractions, including events from musical shows, theatrical performances and so that they could show off their inventions and anything to do with any scientific findings.

The Design

The idea for the design of the Eiffel Tower was presented to Gustav Eiffel-by-Eiffel et Compagnie engineers Émile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin. They imagined it to be a great pylon, that would consist of four lattice girders which stood apart at the base, and would then come together at the top, and joined together by the metal trusses which would be evenly spaced out.

Gustav had agreed to build upon their vision. Along with his team, he and some top engineers and architects that included Maurice Koechlin, Émile Nouguier, and Stephen Sauvestre, who designed the tower’s signature arches, and imagined it to be three-levels high, a whopping 1,063-foot tower made of wrought iron.

The Architects Maurice Koechlin, Emile Nouguier, Stephen Sauvestre

Eiffel wanted to showcase his engineering skills, by commemorating the French Revolution with his accomplishment, and because the world’s fair would fall one hundred years after its onset. To Eiffel the structure was so much more than its entrance, to him it was “an expression of France’s gratitude.”

The Eiffel Tower Caused Controversy

Even though the design for the fair was given the go ahead, there was some members of the public that was not happy about the design that would stand so tall over the city. Fearing that the line between art and engineering was in danger of blurring the lines, a protest begun featuring composers, artists, writers, architects, and others that were passionate about the untouched beauty of Paris. They filled out a petition (which was named Protestation des artistes contre la tour de Monsieur Eiffel, or “Protest Against the Tower of Mr. Eiffel”). In February 1887, but it was already too late as the construction had already begun on it in January.

The tower opened to the public a few days after the debut of Exposition Universelle in May 1889. Due to the elevators not working until the end of the month, the visitors had to walk all the way up to the top, by climbing its 1,665 steps to the tower. Even though they came across opposition about the tower being constructed, 30,000 people happily made their way up to the top of the tower without using an elevator.

After the Exposition Universelle

The Eiffel Tower was originally intended as a temporary fixture was to be demolished after twenty years. However, in desperation to save it his masterpiece, Eiffel suggested that the tower be used as a radiotelegraph station. His pitch worked, and the tower then became a permanent Parisian fixture, a setting that would become well known across the globe and where people associate the Eiffel Tower as being the epicentre of Paris.

Today, it brings in a staggering 7 million visitors and is one of the most visited paid monument in the world, it remains the tallest building in the City of Lights and continues to captivate the tourists and locals alike with its sky-high silhouette.

32 Facts You May Not Know About the Eiffel Tower

Here are some amazing and interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower.

  • The Eiffel Tower was completed on March 31, 1889. For forty-one years this was the tallest structure in the world, that was until the Chrysler Building was built in 1930 in New York.
  • This is one of the most visited attractions in Paris, welcoming almost seven million visitors a year, with 75% of them being foreigners, making it the most visited monument that you must pay for in the world.
  • Most visitors in percentage are French 10.4%, Italy 8.1%, Spain 8.1%, USA 7.9%, Uk 7.4%, Germany 5.8%, and Brazil 5.5%.
  • It stands tall at 324 metres, which includes its antennas and weighs 10,100 tonnes.
  • During the cold weather the tower shrinks by almost six inches.
  • The Architect and engineer behind the tower was Gustav Eiffel who was also involved in the disastrous attempt by the French Canal in Panama, which damaged his reputation badly because of his failed venture.
  • It is possible to climb all the way up to the top, by climbing its 1,665 steps, but most people would rather take the lift.
  • For eighty-four years the tower was the tallest structure in France, until the construction of a military transmitter in the town of Saissac in 1973.
  • The lifts travel a combined distance of 103,000 km a year – two and a half times the circumference of the Earth.
  • The Millau Viaduct completed in 2004, is taller standing at 343 metres.
  • A con artist named Victor Lustig, had sold the tower for scrap metal on two occasions.
  • Since the tower’s first opened, it has had more than 300 million people that have visited the tower.
  • The construction of it took two years, two months’, and five days. Which was 180 years fewer than Notre Dame, Paris’ other great attraction.
  • It costs 19 euros to take the lift to the top of the tower.
  • Gustav Eiffel had also designed the interior elements of the Statue of Liberty.
  • Gustav died while listening to Beethoven’s 5th symphony.
Architect and Metals Expert Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel
  • In 1905 a local newspaper organised a stair climbing championship at the tower. M. Forestier won, taking three minutes and 12 seconds to reach the second level.
  • Pierre Labric won a bet that saw him cycle down the stairs of the tower in 1923. He was arrested by police.
  • Repainting the tower requires 60 tonnes of paint, which is done every seven years.
  • The tower appears in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill. There is a scene in the Jules Verne restaurant, and a fight in the stairway.
  • There are 80 replicas of the tower scattered around the world, including one is in Las Vegas, Blackpool, England, Sidney, Australia and one at the world theme park in Shenzhen, China.
  • The Eiffel Tower and Margaret Thatcher share the same nickname, La Dame de Fer “The Iron Lady”.
  • A French car manufacturer Citroen had used the tower to place a giant billboard on it between 1925 and 1934. The company’s name was emblazoned on the tower for all to see, using a quarter of a million light bulbs and was put in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s biggest advertisement.
  • In 2008 a woman with a fetish for objects married the Eiffel Tower, changing her name to Erika La Tour Eiffel in honor of her marriage to the tower.
  • The tower comprises of 18,000 metallic parts, joined together by 2.5 million rivets.
  • When the tower reached its 125th anniversary of when it was completed the British Virgin Islands marked the occasion, by a special tower shaped $10 coin.
  • The tower sways around six to seven centimetres (2-3 inches) in the wind.
  • The names of each of the 72 engineers, scientists and mathematicians can all be found engraved on the side of the tower, each one contributed to the structure you now see.
  • Gustav had kept a small apartment on the third floor for entertaining his friends. It is now open to the public.
  • There have been several aviators to have flown their aircraft under the arches of the tower. In 1926 Leon Collet was killed after he tried and failed at attempting it.
  • Have you ever wanted to build your own Eiffel Tower? Well… there is a LEGO set for that: it contains 3,428 bricks.
  • There are 20,00 lightbulbs that are used on the Eiffel Tower to make it shine every night.
The Eiffel Tower shining bright at night.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Stay busy, safe, and well and I shall see you all next week!

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