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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Eiffel Tower Turns 126 Years Old Today!

Happy Birthday Eiffel Tower!

Photo Courtesy of Holland America Line

Wow I can't believe the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris, France 126 years ago today!  The Eiffel Tower has always been one of my absolute favorite landmarks.  Although I have never had the opportunity to visit Paris yet, it is on my list, and one day I will be there. 

In honor of the Eiffel Tower's birthday I thought it would be fun to learn more about it's history.  Here are two incredible articles that provided detailed information about the birth of the Eiffel Tower and how it has influenced and impacted the world over the last 126 years!

Photo Courtsey of Wikipedia

Here are 10 interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower that I found on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiffel_Tower).

1. The Eiffel Tower was named after the engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower.

2. It took 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days to complete the construction of the Eiffel Tower.

3. The height is 324 meters (1,063 feet) tall – which is about the same height of an 81-storey building.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

4. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930.

5. Because of the addition of the aerial atop the Eiffel Tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 5.2 metres (17 ft).

6. The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second. The third level observatory's upper platform is 276 m (906 ft) above the ground the highest accessible to the public.

Photo Courtsey of Wikipedia

7. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift (elevator) to the first and second levels. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level.

8. The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.98 million people ascended it in 2011.
The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010.

9. The Eiffel Tower is married.  In a commitment ceremony in 2007, Erika Eiffel, an American woman, "married" the Eiffel Tower.

10. Maintenance of the tower includes applying 50 to 60 tonnes (49 to 59 long tons; 55-66 short tons) of paint every seven years to protect it from rust.

Photo Courtesy of Business Insider
via MoonSoleil on Flickr

Here are 13 cool facts I found on Business Insider (http://www.businessinsider.com/eiffel-tower-facts-2015-3)

1. The Eiffel Tower wasn't the brainchild of Gustav Eiffel. Instead, his senior engineers Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier designed the building. Gustav Eiffel wasn't overly interested in the project, but sent the engineers to the head of the company’s architectural department, Stephen Sauvestre. With Sauvestre's edits, Eiffel got behind the final plans and bought the rights to the patent.

2. The Eiffel Tower in numbers. 300 workers, 18,038 pieces of wrought iron, 2.5 million rivets, 10,000 tons, 984.25 feet high.

3. The tower was built as a symbol of modern science. Or as Eiffel himself said, “not only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living.” At the time that the tower was being built, another technology was also in its infancy — photography. As the tower was assembled, many photographers captured series of photographs to show the tower’s construction.

4. At the time of its construction, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest building in the world. It wasn't until 1930, when New York City’s Chrysler Building rose to 1,046 feet, that the tower lost that title.

5. The Eiffel Tower's elevators weren't operational at first. On May 6, fairgoers were allowed to enter the tower, but the 30,000 visitors had to climb 1,710 steps to reach the top. The lifts finally entered service on May 26.

6. Parisians originally hated the Eiffel Tower. Newspapers received angry letters that said the tower didn't fit into the feel of the city and there was a team of artists that rejected the plan from the get-go. One apocryphal story says that novelist Guy de Maupassant said he hated the tower, but ate lunch at its restaurant every day. When he was asked why, Maupassant replied that it was the only place in Paris where he couldn't see it.

7. It changes height by the season. Because it’s made with puddled (wrought) iron, the tower’s metal expands when exposed to the summer sun, causing the structure to rise by as much as 6.75 inches.

8. The Eiffel Tower was only meant to stand for 20 years. But the French military and government began using it for radio communication and later telecommunication. When the permit expired in 1909, the City of Paris decided to keep it.

9. The Eiffel Tower has stood up to quite a lot during its lifetime. It transmitted radio signals during WWI and during WWII the elevator wires were cut so that the Nazis could not use the tower (after Allied troops entered the city, the elevators were fixed). It has even survived a fire on its top floor and over 250 million visitors from around the world climbing on it.

10. The tower is not painted one uniform color. To counteract atmospheric perspective, the tower is painted darker at the top and becomes gradually lighter toward the bottom.

11. Every seven years, 50 to 60 tons of paint are applied. The new layers are needed to protect the tower from rust.

12. It’s not just a tourist attraction. The Eiffel Tower has housed a newspaper office, a post office, scientific laboratories, a theater, and the first level becomes an ice rink every year.

13. It is the most visited paid monument in the world. The tower attracts almost 7 million visitors every year, 75% of them from other countries.

Photo Couretsy of Business Insider
via Bibliotheque Nationale de France

For more cool facts on the Eiffel Tower, visit the monument's website here: http://www.toureiffel.paris/en.html

Also be sure to check out the full articles about the Eiffel Tower on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiffel_Tower) and on Business Insider (http://www.businessinsider.com/eiffel-tower-facts-2015-3)

Have you been to the Eiffel Tower?  Or do you have plans to go someday like I do?  What was your favorite fact about the Eiffel Tower?

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