Hundred years after the french revolution, a World Fair – Exposition Universelle – was organised in France in 1889. In 1887, it was decided that there should be a landmark for the celebrations in the memory of the 100th anniversary of the French republic. The structure was to be built as an arch entrance to the World Fair. There was a competition held to select the best design that showcased France’s expertise in science and engineering. A brilliant engineer who specialized in making metallic buildings, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel won, and was responsible for the construction of the Eiffel Tower. It took two years, two months and five days to complete and 132 workers and 50 engineers worked on it.
France loves the Eiffel tower now. The world loves it now. It has survived two world wars. But did you know that in the beginning Frenchmen did not like it very much? In fact, they thought that the metal lattice structure should be pulled down as it was an ugly “black spot” in the beautiful landscape of France. So it was decided to pull the structure down after twenty years of its completion. In 1909, it was almost demolished and the iron was to be sold as scrap. But somehow it got saved. How? It was proved that the tower could be used as a telecommunication tower – and that saved it. Can you imagine a world without Eiffel Tower? I can’t !
Summer-heat expands the metal in the tower where as cold winters shrink it. In those times, most of the landmark constructions were built out of stone so why did the French choose a metal building, which expands and contracts with seasons? The French wanted to show to the world that metal can be as strong as using stones and much lighter. Eiffel Tower is twice as tall as the Washington Monument and weighs 70,000 tons less. This building was an example for all upcoming skyscrapers. Standing at 986 ft tall and made of wrought iron, this chocolate brown beauty is the world’s most visited tourist destination.
Did you know?
- Alexandre Gustave Eiffel also designed the metal framework of another landmark, the statue of liberty.
- Eiffel tower gets covered in 3 shades of brown, with the darkest one at the bottom. The tower gets re-painted every seven years.
- If you stand on the top of Eiffel Tower, you can see 42 miles of Paris on a clear day. Wow!
- The winds can sway the Eiffel Tower by 7cm.