125 years ago, on April 1st, the Eiffel Tower was officially completed in Paris after 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days of construction, as the gateway for the 1889 World’s Fair in honor of the 100th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. As it is one of the most recognizable monuments ever, it is advisable to know some facts about it, especially if you’re planning to go to Paris.
The Eiffel Tower Wasn’t Gustav Eiffel’s Idea
Instead, his senior engineers Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier designed the building. Gustav Eiffel wasn’t crazy about the project, so he sent the engineers to the head of the company’s architectural department, Stephen Sauvestre.
With Sauvestre’s edits, Eiffel got behind the final plans and bought the right to the patent. It was built with by workers, 18,038 pieces of wrought iron, 2.5 million rivets. It weighs 10,000 tons and is 984.25 feet high.
Traditionally, A Little Parisian Hate
Parisian residents originally hated the Eiffel Tower, calling it an eyesore and newspapers received angry letters that said the tower didn’t fit into the feel of the city, and there was a team of artists that rejected the plan from the get-go.
There’s one interesting story about a novelist, Guy de Maupassant, who said he hated the tower, but ate at its restaurant every day for lunch. When he was asked why, Maupassant replied it was only place in Paris he couldn’t see it.
A Symbol Of Modern Science
As Eiffel himself said, “not only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living.”
At the time that the tower was being built, photography was in its initial phase.
As the tower was built, many photographers captured series of photographs to show the tower’s construction.
More Than A Tourist Attraction
The Eiffel Tower has housed a newspaper office, post office, scientific laboratories, a theatre, and the first level becomes an ice rink every year. It is the most visited paid monument in the world, attracting almost 7 million visitors every year (75% of whom are from other countries).
The Tallest Building In The World…Once
At the time of its construction, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest building in the world. It lost its title in 1930 when New York City’s Chrysler Building rose up to 1,046 feet.
Take A Walk!
The Eiffel Tower’s elevators weren’t operational at first. On May 6, fair goers were allowed to enter the tower, but the 30,000 visitors had to climb 1,710 steps to reach the top. The lifts finally entered service on May 26.
The Eiffel Tower has stood up to quite a lot during its lifetime. It transmitted radio signals during WWI, and during WWII the elevator wires were cut so that the Nazis could not use the tower (after Allied troops entered the city, the elevators were fixed). It even survived a fire on its top floor, and over 250 million visitors from around the world climbing on it. That’s one sturdy building!
Paint Me Like One Of Your French Girls
The tower is not painted one uniform color, but it’s painted darker at the top and gradually lighter towards the bottom, to counteract atmospheric perspective. Every seven years, 50 to 60 tons of paint are applied to protect the tower from rust.