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History

When was the Eiffel Tower built?

The Eiffel Tower’s construction began on January 28, 1887 – 2 years before its unveiling. When digging started on the ground of Champs-de-Mars, Paris, hundreds of artists amongst sculptors, writers and architects sent a written petition to the commissioner of the Paris Exposition, pleading him to stop construction of the “useless and monstrous tower” that would dominate Paris like a “gigantic black smokestack.” The Eiffel Tower was widely criticized since the beginning because the thought of having a structure over 300 meters seemed impossible and the overall architectural design was disruptive compared to the Notre Dame, the Louvre, and other historical buildings.

Why was it built?

Whether you’ve been to France or not, you most likely know about The Eiffel Tower. But, do you know why it was built? The original plan was to have a proper centerpiece for the 1889 Exposition Universelle, a world’s fair to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. After several discussions, the fair’s committees envisioned “the possibility of erecting an iron tower on the Champ-de-Mars with a square base, 125 metersacross and 300 meterstall”. More than 100 projects were entered to design what today is known as The Eiffel Tower. During its construction, the tower exceeded different barriers: it was the first man made structure over 300 metres, and also surpassed the Washington Monument – an obelisk in Washington D. C.

Where is it?

The Eiffel Tower is located in Champ-de-Mars, in Paris, France. It’s a magnificent wide and open garden you can visit to have a taste of the true Parisian life. Considered one of the most important stops when visiting Paris where you can enjoy a lovely day, take a nice walk around the park, share a picnic with your loved ones, and there are even four different playgrounds where your children can play alongside other French families and thousands of tourists that come here everyday. It’s a beautiful and must-see site that you can enjoy before or after touring The Eiffel Tower.

Who was the architect?

There were several people involved in the design and development of the Eiffel Tower. The firm that was commissioned, Compagnie des Établissements Eiffel, which was owned by Gustave Eiffel. The original drawings were made by Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, two senior engineers that worked for the company, and there was also Stephen Sauvestre, the head of the architectural department, invited by Eiffel to help with the tower’s design. Sauvestre main contributions were the decorative arches to the base of the tower, a glass pavilion to the first level, the cupola at the top and even the color, as well as other embellishments that make the Eiffel Tower unique.

The man who sold the Eiffel Tower

Did you know the Eiffel Tower was sold, not once, but twice by the same man? His name was ‘Count’ Victor Lustig. Born in Austria, he ran several scams across Europe and America. But one of his more notorious deals was the sale of the Eiffel Tower. During a visit in Paris in 1925, he read in the newspaper that the maintenance was getting expensive, and designed an elaborate scheme to convince a group of wealthy men to buy it. He convinced one of them, André Poisson, and fled without conviction. Later, he attempted the same scam, but the police was alerted and he was forced to run to United States to avoid capture.

Why it's so important

The Eiffel Tower is the direct result of grand vision to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution, a historic event that changed the course of modern history. In 1889, it was considered the tallest man-made building over 300 metres; an object of controversy, admiration, and boldness worldwide. Although it was intended to last for only 20 years, it was saved thanks to different scientific experiments encouraged by Eiffel, which included the first radio transmission done from the tower, followed by telecommunications. The Eiffel Tower has been the centre of many international events, and will continue to stand out as one of the most controversial buildings ever made.

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