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Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is the most recognizable landmark in Paris and is known worldwide as a symbol of France. Named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel, it is a premier tourist destination, with over 5.5 million visitors per year.

Table of contents
1 Background
2 Events
3 Reproductions and Imitations
4 See also
5 Access
6 External links


The structure was built from 1887-1889 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle (1889), a World's fair marking the centennial celebration of the French revolution. It was inaugurated on March 31, 1889, and opened on May 6. 300 steel workers joined together 18,038 pieces of steel, using two and a half million rivets. Considering the safety standards in place at the time, it is remarkable that only one worker died in the construction of the tower, (during the installation of Otis Elevator's lifts (elevators).

The tower is 300 metres tall, (986 feet), not including the television antenna on top, which adds another 20 meters, and weighs over 10,000 tonnes (over 21,000,000 pounds). It was the tallest structure in the world for forty years. Maintenance on the tower includes 50 tons of three garded tones of brown paint every 7 years. Depending on the ambient temperature, the top of the Eiffel Tower will shift away from the sun by eight centimetres because of expansion of the sun-warmed metal.

Perhaps predictably, the tower met with resistance from the public when it was first built, many thought it would be an eyesore. Today it is widely considered to be one of the most striking pieces of architectural art in the world.

One of the great Hollywood movie clichés is that the view from a Parisian window always includes the Eiffel Tower.

Originally, Eiffel had a permit to leave the tower standing for 20 years, more than recouping his expenses, but as it proved valuable for communication purposes, it was allowed to stay after the end of the permit. When Hitler visited the tower in the dawn hours during his visit to Paris in 1940, French workers had cut the elevator cables, preventing him from making the ascent.


On January 12, 1908, the first long-distance radio message was sent from the tower.

View from the Tower across the River Seine, showing the Trocadero gardens and the Palais de Chaillot. A pleasure boat cruises on the river.

Father Theodor Wulf in 1910 took observations of radiation at the top and bottom of the Eiffel Tower, discovering more than was expected at the top, and thereby detecting what are today known as cosmic rays.

In 1925, the con artist Victor Lustig twice "sold" the Eiffel Tower for scrap.

In 1929, the Tower lost the title of the World's tallest structure when the Chrysler Building was completed in New York.

When Adolf Hitler visited Paris in World War II, the lifts were put out of action by the French so that he would have to climb the 1792 steps to the summit - the part to repair them was allegedly impossible to obtain because of the war, though it was working again within hours of the departure of the Nazis. He chose to stay on the ground.

On January 3, 1956 a fire damaged the top of the tower.

In 1959 the present radio antenna was added to the top.

In the 1980s an old restaurant and its supporting iron scaffolding midway up the tower was dismantled; this was purchased and reconstructed in New Orleans, Louisiana, originally as the Tour Eiffel Restaurant, more recently known as the Red Room.

In the year 2000, flashing lights and several high power searchlights were installed on the tower. Since then the light show has become a nightly event. The searchlights on top of the tower make it a beacon in Paris' night sky.

The tower received its 200,000,000th guest on November 28, 2002.

At 19:20 on July 22, 2003, a fire occurred at the top of the tower in the broadcasting equipment room. The entire tower was evacuated; the fire was extinguished after forty minutes, and there were no reports of injuries.

View from the Tower down the Champ de Mars, with the Tour Montparnasse (Montparnasse Tower) in the distance.

Reproductions and Imitations

Several reproductions of the Eiffel Tower (often smaller-scale) are found in:

See also


External links