The Eiffel Tower in Paris is one of the most well known structures in the world, the iron lattice tower is an icon of France and has been one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country and the world. (Details: Tourist information of the Eiffel Tower.)
Eiffel Tower is named after Gustave Eiffel, who was a local engineer in Paris, it was his company designed and built the tower, and the tower is Gustave Eiffel's most notable work, one of the other notable works designed by him is the interior framework of the Statue of Liberty.
Eiffel Tower was built as the centerpiece of and the entrance to the 1889 Exposition of Paris, a World's Fair to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution.
The tower is located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France.
Eiffel Tower stands 324 meters (1063 feet) tall, about the same height as an 80-story office building, or an 100-story residential building, it is the tallest structure in Paris.
The tower was initially built to be 300 meters tall(984 feet), that height gave it the title of world's tallest man-made structure upon its completion, surpassing the 169 m(555 ft)-tall Washington Monument in America, and the tower kept holding that title for 41 years, until being replaced by the 319 m-tall Chrysler Building in New York City in 1930, now the Chrysler Building is shorter than the Eiffel Tower since a 24-m long antenna was added to the top of the Eiffel Tower, increasing its height to the current height of 324 meters.
Eiffel claimed the idea of building a tower as the centerpiece of the world's fair was inspired by the Latting Observatory built in New York in 1853.
The shape of the tower and its structural details was designed by Maurice Koechlin in joint with Émile Nouguier, both of whom were working in Gustave Eiffel's engineering company as senior engineers, they came out the idea of the basic shape of the tower in 1884, five years before its completion, the idea is a great pylon that consists of four lattice girders, which stand apart at the base and come together at the top, joined together by metal trusses at regular intervals.
Then the two engineers asked the head of company's architectural department, Stephen Sauvestre, to contribute to the design. Sauvestre added decorative arches to the base of the tower, a glass pavilion to the first level, and other embellishments, these few elements are the only non-structural elements on the tower, the four decorative arches added by Sauvestre serves to make the tower look more substantial and attractive.
The tower's base is square, measuring 125 meters (410 ft) on each side. The lattice tower is made of wrought iron that weighs 7,300 tons, and the addition of lifts, shops and antenna on the top have bring the total weight to approximately 10,100 tons, that's about the total weight of 5500 cars.
There are 3 levels with usable space, the first and second levels can be seen on the two distinct bridging structures at lower portion of the tower, the third level can be found at the top of the tower, just under the antenna.
The First Level has two restaurants, a bar, a 250-seat theater, and a private apartment.
The Second Level also has a restaurant, which has its own lift to access.
The Third Level(top level) has a bar and a viewing platform at a height of 276 meters(906 ft), it's a very popular tourist destination.
There's also a small apartment on top level, it was reserved for Gustave Eiffel to entertain guests, now the apartment is open to the public, the rooms are still decorated in the style of old times, and there are lifelike wax figures of Eiffel and some of his notable guests displayed in the apartment.
The three levels can be accessed by taking lifts or climbing staircases, there are over 300 steps from ground level to the First Level, same as that of from First Level to Second Level. A total of 1710 steps are needed to climb up to the viewing platform on the top level, for this, visitors usually ascend to there by lift.
The color of the body of tower is lighter at the top, gradually getting darker towards the bottom to complement the Parisian sky. The color was originally reddish brown, and changed to a bronze color known as "Eiffel Tower Brown" in 1968.
To prevent the tower from rusting, around 60 tons of paint are added to the tower every seven years, it has been repainted for about 20 times since it was built.
There are 20,000 light bulbs on the Eiffel Tower, every night Eiffel Tower will be lit up in orange color, the color of the lights will be different on days of festivals or special events. The top of the tower has high-powered searchlights installed, making the tower a beacon in Paris' night sky.
A list of the names of 72 French scientists, engineers and mathematicians is engraved on first level of the tower in recognition of their contribution to the building of the tower.
The design of Eiffel Tower had drawn criticism from many celebrities of that time, including some most important figures in Paris like Guy de Maupassant, Adolphe Bouguereau and Charles Gounod, they depicted the tower as useless, hideous, and monstrous, believing it will ruin the city views of Paris as that it can overwhelm other landmark buildings of the city while appearing like a gigantic smokestack.
To these criticisms, Gustave Eiffel explained that the tower is distant enough from other landmark buildings, and when completed it will look better than what is shown in the design draft, the tower will be as great as the Pyramid in Egypt.
The criticism and protests didn't stop the project, because the tower had already been approved to build and was under construction.
After the completion of the tower, lots of protesters changed their mind, but there still were some people holding their initial attitude, like Maupassant, who is said to have lunch in the restaurant on the Eiffel Tower every day, because it is one place in the city that the tower itself can't be seen.
Since it was built in 1889, the Eiffel Tower had become a global cultural icon of France and the symbol of Paris. The tower is one of the most recognizable structures in the world, it has been featured in numerous literature, films, TV series and the like.
History of the Eiffel Tower
In 1886, an open competition was held for the centerpiece of the 1889 Exposition, in May of that year, Eiffel's proposal was chosen. The contract for building of the tower was signed in January 1887, and work on foundations of the tower started shortly.
The foundations were completed in June, followed by the erection of the ironwork.
The process of erecting the Eiffel Tower is very different from erecting a regular skyscraper, they created pieces of components of the tower in a factory in suburb of Paris, and shipped the finished components to the construction site of the tower using horse-drawn carts, then these components were joined together using rivets on the construction site, about 2.5 million rivets were used, no drilling or shaping was done on site.
Three hundred workers participated in the construction of the tower, excluding the workers in the factory for creating the components of the tower.
The tower was structurally completed in the end of March 1889, only some lifts, facilities and some minor elements were still being installed or built. The tower opened to public on May 6, nine days after the opening of the exposition, at that time still no lifts were in service, even so, there were still nearly 30,000 visitors climb up to the top of the tower through its staircases, before the lifts entered service on May 26.
If the Eiffel Tower was built today, it would cost about US$31 million.
The Eiffel Tower was permitted to stand there for just 20 years, it was to be teared down in 1909, but the City of Paris remained the tower as it was realized that the tower could be used for broadcasting purposes. This is not the only time the Eiffel Tower survived from potential demolition, in August 1944 during World War II, Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to demolish the tower, but Von Choltitz disobeyed the order, the Eiffel Tower survived again. And in 1967, the mayor of Montreal negotiated a secret agreement with Charles de Gaulle for the tower to be dismantled and temporarily relocated to Montreal to serve as a landmark and tourist attraction during Expo 67. The company operating the Eiffel Tower refused to do so, as they fear that the tower would not be permitted to be restored in its original location again.
In 1957, the current antenna atop the tower was added, bumping the height of the tower to 324 meters from 300 meters.
The Eiffel Tower is the most visited paid monument in the world, more than 250 million people have visited the tower since it was completed in 1889. And about 7 million people ascend the tower every year, this amount of people is two times of that of the Empire State Building in New York City. The admission ticket for observatory on the Eiffel Tower can be booked by clicking here.
As mentioned earlier, visitors can ascend to all 3 levels of the tower at different heights, the highest accessible position is the observation deck on the Third Level, it's at 276 meters(906 ft) high above the ground, and is the highest observation deck in Europe Union and Western Europe, by contrast, the second highest one is the observatory on the Shard in London, which is 245 meters high.
From the observation deck visitors can enjoy the panorama view of Paris, getting the clear aerial views of all the notable landmark buildings in the city, like the Seine, Notre Dame, the Louvre, Les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, etc.
A glass floor was installed on the First Level of the tower during the a refurbishment in 2014, visitors can stand on it to watch down at the views below it.
The Eiffel Tower is located at the intersection of the quai Branly and the Pont d'Iéna, on the Champ de Marscan, some convenient ways to get there is by metro or RER, by taxi, or simply walk towards the tower if it's not far from you. The nearest Paris Métro station is Bir-Hakeim and the nearest RER station is Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel.
There are lots of replicas of the Eiffel Tower around the world, the largest one is a 1:2 scale replica in Las Vegas, and Macau also has a 1:2 scale replica, just built in 2016.
Including the one in Macau, China has a total of three replicas of the Eiffel Tower, the most similar one is a 1:3 replica in Hangzhou, even its surrounding area is very similar to that of the original.
Aside from the replicas, the Eiffel Tower has inspired the designs of some other towers in the world, the most notable one of them is the Tokyo Tower in Japan, the tower is extremely similar to the Eiffel Tower in terms of shape and height, and it's also a iron lattice tower, being used as an observation tower for tourism.