The Eiffel Tower is a wrought iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. It was built in 1887–89 as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair. It was initially criticized by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but it has become a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world.
The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world. The tower is 324 meters tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building, and the tallest structure in Paris. Its base is square, measuring 125 meters (410 ft) on each side.
The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second levels. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the climb from the first level to the second. Although there is a staircase to the top level, it is usually accessible only by lift.
History of The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel company’s design won, and construction of the wrought iron tower began in July 1887. Construction of the tower was completed in just over two years, on March 31, 1889. But not everyone in Paris was thrilled with the idea of a giant metal monument looming over the city.
When construction of the tower began on the Champs de Mars, a group of 300 artists, sculptors, writers and architects sent a petition to the commissioner of the Paris Exposition, pleading him to halt construction of the “ridiculous tower” that would dominate Paris like a “gigantic black smokestack.”
But the protests of Paris’ artistic community fell on deaf ears. Construction of the tower was completed in just over two years, on March 31, 1889.
- Gustave Eiffel used lattice wrought iron to construct the tower to demonstrate that the metal could be as strong as stone while being lighter.
- Gustave Eiffel also created the internal frame for the Statue of Liberty.
- Construction of the Eiffel Tower cost 7,799,401.31 French gold francs in 1889.
- It was the tallest man-made structure until the Chrysler Building was built in New York in 1930.
- The tower was built to sway slightly in the wind, but the sun affects the tower more. As the sun-facing side of the tower heats up, the top moves as much as 7 inches away from the sun.
- The Eiffel Tower weighs 10,000 tons.
- There are 5 billion lights on the Eiffel Tower.
- The French have a nickname for the tower: La Dame de Fer, “the Iron Lady.”
- The first platform is 190 feet above the ground; the second platform is 376 feet, and the third platform is almost 900 feet up.
- The Eiffel Tower has 108 stories, with 1,710 steps. However, visitors can only climb stairs to the first platform. There are two elevators.
- One elevator travels a total distance of 64,001 miles (103,000 kilometers) a year.