The Eiffel tower in Paris is one of the notable landmarks today. Its unique shape, structure, and design have made it every tourist’s dream, you surely can’t say you’ve been to Paris without visiting this amazing piece of French engineering.
In this post, we’ll be discussing some interesting facts about this gigantic metal tower that may just surprise you.
1. It Was Completed in Just 26 Months.
Considering how big and complicated the tower’s design looks, it was completed relatively fast. It took the workers 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days to complete it. That is about 26 months in total.
2. Gustave Eiffel Didn’t Actually Design It
While the tower was named after Gustave Eiffel- the owner of the engineering firm that built it, it was actually designed by Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier- two engineers that worked for Eiffel’s company.
3. Its Design Was Inspired by The Latting Observatory in New York City
Eiffel admitted that the tower’s design was American-inspired. The Latting Observatory was only around for a few years- between 1853 and 1856. It was made primarily of wood and was destroyed by a fire that started in a nearby shop.
4. It Was Built As The Entrance to The 1889 World’s Fair
The tower was purposefully built as the centerpiece of the 1889 world’s fair to mark the 100th year anniversary of the French revolution. It was also built to be the tallest man-made structure at the time.
5. It Was The Tallest Building In The World For Decades
When it was constructed, the tower stood at 300 meters (984 feet)- the equivalent of a 75-story building. It was the tallest man-made structure on earth, overtaking the Washington Monument which was about half the Eiffel Tower’s height. It maintained this record for 41 years until 1930 when the Chrysler Building in New York was completed.
6. Some Extra Height Was Added Decades Later
The tower is a little bit taller than what it was initially. In the 1950s, broadcasting antennae were added to its top and some extra work was done in the year 2000 that increased its height by 24 meters (79 feet). Its current height is 324 meters (1063 feet).
7. It Was To Be Brought Down After 20 Years
The building was permitted to stay only for 20 years, after this, it was to be brought down. In fact, part of the design requirements from the city’s officials was that it should be easy to dismantle. The city decided against bringing it down when it had become a prominent symbol, and a useful communication tower.
8. Gustave Eiffel Owned The Rights To Its Commercial Exploitation For 20 Years
Because Eiffel footed a huge chunk of the tower’s costs, he was given the commercial rights to this building for 20 years, after which it became the property of the City of Paris.
9. It is The Most Visited Paid Monument in The World
About 7 million people pay to visit this iconic mega-structure every year. Out of this figure, about 75% are foreigners. Also, more than 300 million people have visited it since it was first commissioned in 1889. This gives some insight as to how popular the tower is. Here are some tips to help you save money on a trip to Paris.
10. There Were Protests Against its Erection
Not everyone agreed with the city’s decision to permit the tower’s construction, in fact, prominent architects, painters, artists, and sculptors protested against it. In a publication, the tower was likened to the tower of Babel and even to a black factory chimney. There were huge concerns that it will dwarf other important artistic French expressions with its huge size and metallic design.
11. It has 3 Floors Available To Visitors
The Eiffel tower is not just a huge metal structure, it has three floors that house exhibition rooms, restaurants, shops, and even a special room that recreates Eiffel’s office with wax figures of him, Thomas Edison and Claire- Eiffel’s daughter.
The first two floors can be accessed by elevators and stairs while the topmost floor can only be accessed by elevators.
12. It’s Made of 7,300 Tons Of Metal
The impressive tower is very heavy too. It was constructed with 7,300 tons of puddle iron, 18,038 iron parts, and 2.5 million rivets to put the structure in place. When you add the weight of its extra features like shops, rooms, antennae, and elevators, the combined weight is about 10,100 tons.
13. It is Hand-Painted Every 7 Years
Once in about 7 years, 25 specialists paint the tower by hand. The painting typically takes about 18 months to complete and incredibly involves about 60 tons of paint. This is done to preserve the integrity of the metal and costs about 4 million Euros to accomplish.
14. It was almost destroyed by Hitler
During the Second World War, during the German occupation, the French resistance cut the cables to the tower’s elevators, making it less accessible to the Germans. When the allies were closing in on Paris, Hitler ordered the German governor of Paris to destroy the tower. Thinking Hitler was insane, the governor- General Dietrich von Choltitz didn’t obey this order.
15. There Are More Than 50 Replicas Around The World
There’s a chance that you might have seen a structure that looks like the Eiffel tower in another city. While most of the replicas aren’t exactly the same design and height, they are usually very similar and on different scales. Popular examples are:
- Blackpool Tower (UK)
- Tokyo Tower (Japan)
- Las Vegas Eiffel Tower (USA)
- Eiffel Tower of Window of the World (China)
- Paris, Texas Eiffel Tower (USA)
- Eiffel Tower- Paris, Tennessee (USA)