The “Ugly” Structure.
Little did you know that the Eiffel Tower was dubbed to be the ugliest structure in France. As a matter of fact, the Paris’ artistic community, about a group of 300 artists, sculptors, writers, and architects sent a petition to the commissioner of the Paris Exposition, pleading for the construction of the “ugly tower” that would dominate Paris like a “gigantic black smokestack” to be halted but their petition wasn’t granted.
In other to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution and to demonstrate France’s industrial prowess to the world, a centerpiece (masterpiece) was needed for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris and a contest was opened to construction companies to design a plan . A French civil engineer, Gustave Eiffel, his engineering firm, along with a French architect, Stephen Sauvestre, submitted a design and guess what? They won the contract!.
The construction of the latticed wrought-iron tower began in July 1887 and was completed in just over two years, on March 31, 1889.
Facts about the Eiffel Tower
- The Eiffel Tower is 1,063 feet (324 meters) tall, including the antenna at the top. Without the antenna, it is 984 feet (300 m).
- The world’s tallest structure until the Chrysler Building was built in New York in 1930
- It is the second tallest structure in France after the Millau Viaduct.
- The French have a nickname for the tower: La Dame de Fer, “the Iron Lady.”
- The first platform is 190 feet above the ground; the second platform is 376 feet, and the third platform is almost 900 feet up.
- The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second levels.
- The Eiffel Tower has 108 stories, with 1,710 steps. However, visitors can only climb stairs to the first platform. There are two elevators.
- One elevator travels a total distance of 64,001 miles (103,000 kilometers) a year.
- It was built to sway slightly in the wind, but the sun affects the tower more. As the sun-facing side of the tower heats up, the top moves as much as 7 inches (18 centimeters) away from the sun which causes the tower to grow about 6 inches.
- The Eiffel Tower weighs 10,000 tons.
- There are 5 billion lights on the Eiffel Tower.
- The tower was intended as a temporary structure that was to be removed after 20 years. But as time passed, people no longer wanted to see the tower go.
- Many antagonists of the project publicly apologized after completion and the success of the tower during and after the World Exhibition.
- As time passed by, most French people became proud of it and never saw it as ugly anymore.
- A meteorology laboratory is on the third floor of the tower.
- In 1910, the city of Paris renewed Eiffel’s concession for the tower because of the structure’s usefulness as a wireless telegraph transmitter.
- The French military used the tower to communicate wirelessly with ships in the Atlantic Ocean and intercept enemy messages during World War I.
- The tower is still home to more than 120 antennas, broadcasting both radio and television signals throughout the capital city and beyond.
The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel tower, named after Gustave Eiffel, up until now, is an enduring symbol of Paris, France. According to the Official Eiffel Tower website, more than 7 million visitors every year and over 250 million people from around the world have enjoyed visiting the tower.
The tower’s three platforms are home to two restaurants, several buffets, a banquet hall, a champagne bar and many unique gift shops. Educational tours of the tower are available for children and tourist groups.
Important information for intending Tourists.
Although visiting times varying by season, the tower is open to visitors 365 days a year. From June to September, the tower remains open until after midnight. Visitors can expect to pay between $13 (10 euros) and $19 (14.5 euros) per person for access to the tower’s three public lifts and 704 stairs (rates vary). Tickets, including group-discounted tickets, can be purchased at the Official Eiffel Tower website online or at the ticket office at the foot of the tower.