One of the most iconic landmarks in France. Some interesting facts about this La Dame de Fer (The Iron Lady)
The Eiffel Tower was designed and built for Paris World Exposition 1889, to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Over 100 architects presented their designs, but it was design & plan of the Gustave Eiffel’s company that was chosen.
The original height was 985 feet/ 300 meters, it was the tallest structure in the world until 1930. It was surpassed by Chrysler Building in New York. Several years after the completion, it was equipped with aerials for radio & television broadcast, which added another 24 meters to its height.
A 300 member-committee consisting of artists, writers and intellectuals protested the construction. They signed a petition and called the tower “useless and monstrous”, but their protests fell on deaf ears. The tower was an instant hit as nearly 2 million people visited the tower during the fair.
It was supposed to stand for only 20 years, was scheduled to be dismantled in 1909. Someone realized that its apex was the perfect place for a telegraphy antenna. During the WWI, the wireless telegraph transmitter helped to jam German communication.
The tower was closed during German occupation from 1940 to 1944.The French resistance fighters destroyed the cables for the tower’s lifts so that Nazis had to climb the stairs as they attempted to attach the ‘Swastika’ at the top. Hitler actually ordered the Governor of Paris to destroy the tower, fortunately his order was not carried out. Incidentally Hitler was born on the same year when the tower was inaugurated: 1889
The gastronomical restaurant on the 2nd floor is named after the author: Jules Verne. There are restaurants on ground floor and 1st floor, bar on the 2nd floor and a post office on the 1st floor. There is even a military bunker underneath the tower.
Gustave Eiffel ordered the list of 72 great French scientists & engineers to be engraved on the bottom of the first floor, each of whom contributed to the construction. Gustave kept a small apartment on the 3rd floor and housed a meteorology lab where he performed studies in physics and aerodynamics. Cosmic rays were discovered here.
French Car manufacturer Citroen used the tower as the giant billboard from 1925–34. It was recorded as the world’s biggest advertisement by the Guinness Book of Records.
The tower is painted every 7 years and requires 60 tons of paint. Color of the tower has changed over the years: it was reddish brown when it was first constructed. Today it is painted by a special color called ‘Eiffel Tower Brown’ which give its brilliant bronze color.
There are 1665 steps, 18,000 metallic parts joined together by 2.5 million rivets and 20,000 bulbs to make It sparkle every night. During winter the tower shrinks by about 6 inches.
Believe it or Not, the Eiffel Tower was originally intended to be built in Barcelona. The Spanish thought the tower would be an ‘eyesore’, rejected Gustave Eiffel’s plans.