Eiffel Tower Celebrates 125th Birthday

The Eiffel Tower is one of those iconic structures that almost everyone knows about and today it celebrates its 125th birthday.

It took two-years, two-months, and five-days to complete the monumental task back in 1889 and it has withstood both World Wars intact.

The Eiffel Tower is named in honor of one of its big supporters, engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the famous edifice, however, it was not always so popular.

Originally, many intellectuals and artists opposed the erection of such a monument in the Champs de Mars, located in the center of Paris, the capital of France, but the Eiffel Tower has weathered those and many other storms through the decades and it stands proud and beautiful in the City of Lights.

The massive structure was built thanks to the efforts of the about 300 works, who used 18,038 pieces of wrought iron to put together the design created by engineers Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier.

For 41-years the Eiffel Tower enjoyed the title of tallest building in the world, until the Chrysler Tower was completed in New York City in 1930.

The Tower stands at 1,063-feet tall and has three levels, some of which include restaurants for the hungry visitors that flock to one of the most recognizable buildings in the world.

For the convenience of tourists, there are several elevators or lifts, that can take those wishing to see the spectacular vistas of Paris the Eiffel Tower offers. For the physically fit, however, there is always the option of limbing to the top observation deck by taking the 1,665 steps to the top. The view is worth it.

The elevators travel an estimated 64,001 miles per year, which is equivalent to two-and-a-half times the circumference of the Earth.

Since the Eiffel Tower opened to the public 125-years ago it has been visited by 250 million people and it receives 7 million visitors per year, making it the most visited monument in the world.

One of the most interesting facts about the Eiffel Tower is that it shrinks and expands as weather conditions change.

During the Nazi occupation in World War II, the cables to elevators were cut and German soldiers attempted to attach a giant swastika to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but failed miserably when the strong winds at the top blew it away. The Tower was closed to visitors during the war.

In a more dramatic moment, in 1944, as Allied forced advanced to re-take Paris, Hitler ordered the military governor of Paris, Dietrich von Choltitz, to demolish the Eiffel Tower. He refused.

It is said that the Eiffel Tower played a part in World War I as well, when its transmitters interfered with German radio communications stopping their advance.

The Eiffel Tower is, nowadays, one of the must see attractions for anyone visiting Paris. If you are ever lucky enough to go, make sure you go all the way to the top. The view will take your breath away.

[Image via Shutterstock]