The Eiffel Tower rises at the northwest end of the Champ de Mars public park in Paris, near the River Seine. It has become the most popular symbol of this city and France, and one of the most famous buildings and landmarks in the world.
This structure was built by Gustave Eiffel and his team. Thanks to his experience in designing large iron foundries, in 1889 Gustave Eiffel was able to erect this tower over 300 meters high for the World Exhibition, which was planned to be held in Paris.
The history of the tower
Although an excellent engineer, Gustave Eiffel’s success still lay in his entrepreneurial talent. In 1887, he signed a contract under which the French state and the city of Paris would have to provide him with a grant of 1.5 million francs – this is 25 percent of the total cost of construction. To receive the remaining funds, Eiffel created a joint-stock company with a capital of five million francs, half of which was contributed by three banks, and the other half by Eiffel himself. The foundations for the structure were laid in January and completed by June 30, 1887, after which construction began on the iron parts of the structure.
The workers who were involved in the construction of the Eiffel Tower were immune to vertigo from high altitude. Therefore, during the work there was only one death, and even then after hours.
The construction of the first platform turned out to be the most difficult, or rather, bringing it to a horizontal position. Construction work was complex, progressing slowly but steadily.
On March 31, 1889, the tower was officially opened when Gustave Eiffel and a group of officials visited it. At this time, the elevators were not yet working, and they had to climb on their own feet. Most of the officials have remained at the lower levels, but a small group reaches the top, where they place the tricolor of France. This procedure is followed by 25 volleys fired from the lower level.
The tower was officially opened to the public on May 6, 1889. It instantly becomes a hit, and long queues formed from those wishing to climb it. By the end of the exhibition it was visited by about 2 million people.
The original contract with Gustave Eiffel was that the tower structure should be dismantled after 20 years. But the object is a huge success, only by the end of the year more than 34 costs for its construction were paid, and after a while the Eiffel Tower found a new use for itself.
In 1898, Eugene Doucrett conducts a telegraph session between the Eiffel Tower and the historic Pantheon. And after another 5 years, General Ferrier used the object for his scientific experiments in the field of wireless telegraph communication. After that, the authorities of Paris, seeing that the Eiffel Tower was providing economic assistance to the city, decided not to dismantle it and did not fail.
Since 1960, international tourism began to develop, and the number of visitors to the tower gradually increased, reaching 6 million people a year. Today, the Eiffel Tower belongs to the Paris City Hall and is considered the most photographed and most frequently visited landmark in the world.
17 amazing facts about the Eiffel Tower
1. The construction of the tower took 2 years, 2 months and 5 days, and the construction of the tower cost 7,800,000 francs. 50 engineers and about 300 workers were involved in its construction.
2. The height of the tower structure (together with the antenna) is 324 meters, the width is 125 m, its structure contains more than 18 thousand metal parts and 2,500,000 rivets, it weighs 10,100 tons. The top can be reached by 1792 steps, which is the year of the proclamation of the first French Republic.
3. Before the construction of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930, the Eiffel Tower was considered the tallest structure in the world.
4. After the tower was erected, it was assumed that it would stand in Paris for 20 years, after which it would be dismantled. But scientific experiments were started with its help, in particular the first radio broadcasts, because of which it was abandoned.
5. Just below the top of the tower, Gustave Eiffel built a secret apartment. There he met with his colleagues – scientists, who even carried out experiments in a small laboratory attached to this apartment. Today, this apartment is still there and is open to curious visitors. Inside, wax figures of Eiffel himself and his daughter greet the American scientist Thomas Edison.
6. When the tower was built in 1889, there were much lower buildings in Paris than today, and it was visible from almost all sides. But many of the Parisians did not even want to look at her. The Parisian intelligentsia, led by Alexandre Dumas and Guy de Maupassant, starts a campaign against it, exposing the tower as a useless and ugly structure that spoils the landscape in the French capital. They paint apocalyptic pictures where the tower leans and falls on the Louvre and Notre Dame. Maupassant himself began to come every day to the base of the Eiffel Tower to have lunch there. According to him, here was the only place in all of Paris where he could not see her.
7. After dark, every hour for 5 minutes, the Eiffel Tower flashes with thousands of lights.
8. Since its inception, the Eiffel Tower has been repainted 18 times, while changing its color several times. First it was red, then yellow, then brown. It takes about 60 tons of paint to completely repaint the structure.
9. In restaurants located in the structure of the tower, an average of 2 marriage proposals are made every day.
10. An interesting fact – the tower becomes up to 17 cm higher in summer due to the expansion of the metal under the influence of sunlight.
11. In January 1908, the first long distance radio message was transmitted from the Eiffel Tower.
12. In February 1912, the Austrian Franz Reichelt, who works as a tailor, having made a parachute in the form of a raincoat, jumps from the tower, but the design of his parachute does not work and he dies.
13. In 1925, a swindler named Victor Lustig manages to sell the tower for scrap, and before he was captured by the police, he was able to repeat it twice.
14. When Adolf Hitler visited occupied Paris in 1940, the elevator cables were cut by the French to force Hitler to climb all the stairs to the very top, but he did not. After that, the expression appeared that Hitler conquered France, but he could not conquer the Eiffel Tower.
15. Adolf Hitler in August 1944 ordered General Dietrich von Goltitz, who was the commandant of the city, to destroy Paris with all its sights (including the tower). The general disobeyed the order and managed to convince Hitler to keep the tower for radio communication.
16. At the very top of the tower is a radio antenna, which was used during World War 2 to intercept messages from German intelligence.
17. After avoiding destruction in 1944, the Eiffel Tower fell under the control of the Allies, in particular the Americans, who immediately placed their radar on it.