Eiffel Tower in France, Paris

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

Background

Probably one of the most famous structures in the world, the Eiffel Tower was engineered by Gustave Eiffel, who also designed the Statue of Liberty. Construction began in 1887, and was completed in 1889. It has become an international cultural emblem of France, where it is located in Paris. It is one of the world’s most visited sites, and it is now 127 years old.

Description

The tower is 324 metres tall including its antennas and is known as the 30th tallest tower in the world. It weighs 10,100 tonnes. To get to the top, you have to take 1665 steps, or you could opt for the elevator. It was built for the 1889 World Fair in Paris. It is a wrought iron structure. The structure was criticised to be unstable, but Gustave used graphical methods in determining its strength, and conducted experiments to prove its resistance to wind. The Eiffel tower is lighter at the top and gets darker nearer the base. To prevent it from rusting, 60 tonnes of paint are used every seven years to maintain it. There are several tourist attractions, including an immersion show with a transparent floor, a cultural path, and restaurants and bars. You can also access the office of the brain behind the colossal project. It is composed of 18000 metallic parts, held together by 2.5 million rivets. 20,000 light bulbs keep the tower lit at night. It took 300 workers to complete the Tower.

Quick Facts

  • The World Fair was hosted in 1889 as the 100-year anniversary of the French Revolution, and the Eiffel Tower was exhibited as part of it.
  • It was the tallest structure in the world, until the Chrysler Building in New York City broke its record after 41 years.
  • The lifts in the tower travel a total distance of 103000 kilometres per year, which is two and a half times the Earth’s circumference.
  • Gustave was a leading engineer in a failed attempt to build a canal in Panama. He seems to have made quite a comeback with projects like the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty under his belt.
  • Around 7 million people visit the tower each year, which makes it the most visited, and highly-paid monument of the world.
  • It was intended for the tower to hold ground for 20 years before being disassembled, but the need of a wireless telegraph transmitter necessitated its existence.
  • Wind causes the tower to sway six to seven centimetres.
  • The Eiffel Tower shares nicknames with Margaret Thatcher: ‘The Iron Lady’.
  • Most visitors are either French, Italian or Spanish.
  • A con artist actually managed to sell the tower for scrap metal – not once, but twice.
  • Stunt artists love getting up to their daredevil tactics at the tower. Famous cases include those of Reichelt, who jumped with a parachute, but fell to his death; and aviator Collot who tried flying his plane under the tower but crashed it instead.

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