Apr
14
2009

What is the Eiffel Tower?

Eiffel Tower in the rain - courtesy McPig - CC-BY

Eiffel Tower in the rain - courtesy McPig - CC-BY

The Eiffel Tower is an immense tower of exposed latticework supports made of iron built in Paris, France, and it has become a popular tourist attraction and a global symbol of that country. It is one of the most easily identified structures in the world.

The tower is named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel and is the tallest structure in the city. The tower was built as the entrance arch for the World’s Fair celebrating the centennial of the French Revolution. Three hundred workers joined together 18,038 pieces of iron using two and a half million rivets before the tower was inaugurated on March 31, 1889.

Paris got the tower almost by accident.  It was originally planned to build it in Barcelona for the 1888 World’s Fair.  Paris received the tower only because Barcelona turned it down. The tower had much criticism from the public when it was built. They were calling it an eyesore, and newspapers were filled with angry letters.

The tower was due to be demolished in 1909 but as it proved useful for communication purposes, it was allowed to remain. The communication factor helped win the First World War and for that reason it still stood as a victory monument. In August 1944, when the Allies were nearing Paris, Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to demolish the tower. Thankfully, Von Choltitz disobeyed the order.

For more information about Paris

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