People don’t have to live in Paris to know about the Eiffel Tower. Even if they have never visited the Eiffel Tower, they still know about the structure that first opened to the public on March 31, 1889. That was two years after construction started on the Eiffel Tower on January 28, 1887. The Eiffel Tower is recognized all over the world by its unique shape as it towers over the City of Light. However, a lot a people don’t know much about the interesting history surrounding the Eiffel Tower.
According to The Christian Science Monitor, the Eiffel Tower was not accepted when it was first opened to the public 126 years ago. It was not always seen as a thing of beauty. It was once compared to a street light. Critics believed the structure was bad for the beautiful skyline of Paris. They described it as an eye sore and thought it destroyed Paris’ identity.
Initially, the tower was used as the entrance to the 1889 World Fair, and the tower was set to be taken down after the fair ended. The 20-year lease on the land for the World Fair expired in 1909. Officials were willing to give the word for the building to be taken down, but they decided to let it stand because it was used as an antenna for radio and television transmission.
The Eiffel Tower is visited by about 7 million people each year. Over 250 million visitors have visited the site since it first opened to the public. It has been reported that the Eiffel Tower gets more visitors than any other paid attraction in the world. About 500 employees work at the Eiffel Tower to keep it operating on a daily basis.
The Eiffel Tower is named after Gustave Eiffel, whose construction company designed the framework for the Eiffel Tower, as well as for the Statue of Liberty in New York. To celebrate the opening of the tower to the public, Eiffel climbed all 1,710 steps and put a French tricolor flag at the top.
Even though the Eiffel Tower is 986 feet tall, it is not the tallest structure in the world. When it was first designed, it was the world’s tallest building, and it maintained that record for four decades. Three buildings in New York are much taller than the Eiffel Tower. The 1,046-foot Chrysler Building was built in 1930, and the 1,250-foot Empire State Building was completed in 1931. The new World Trade Center towers over the Big Apple, reaching for the sky with a height of 1792 feet, making the landmark building the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere and the fourth tallest on the planet.
Have you ever visited the Eiffel Tower? If not, is it on your bucket list?
[Images via Thierry Chesnot / Getty Images and Getty Images]