The history of the Eiffel tower is a piece of national heritage. It has long served as the representation of France and Paris. But when Gustave Eiffel finished building it in 1889, the tower wasn't even close to being the Parisians' favorite landmark; it was only meant to be a temporary feature in the city's landscape.
History of the Eiffel Tower: the beginning
For 127 years, the most visited tourist destination in Paris has reached the city's skies. It wasn't meant to last, even though it is currently a symbol of France. Without a doubt, the 1889 Universal Exposition marked a turning point in the history of the Eiffel Tower.
Gustave Eiffel's design was chosen from among the 107 submissions in a competition held to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution with the goal of "building on the Champ-de-Mars an iron tower with a square base, 125 meters wide and 300 meters high." Stephen Sauvestre, an architect, and engineers Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier stood by his side.
The Iron Lady dealing with doubters
The history of the Eiffel Tower was not a simple one. Many people at the time opposed the structure and expressed their opposition in a letter titled "Artists Against Mr. Eiffel's Tower," claiming that the tower posed a threat to Paris' aesthetic appeal. An iron tower built right in the middle of Paris was viewed as unacceptable because it stood in stark contrast to the sophistication and refined beauty of the city. Verlaine, for instance, gave the Eiffel Tower the moniker "Skeleton of Beffroi" to highlight how awkward the enormous tower looked and how it would inevitably "disfigure" the city.
The construction of the Eiffel Tower (1887-1889)
Despite the commotion, the frail iron tower would survive the day. It's critical to understand the construction process of the Eiffel Tower in order to comprehend its history. The actual building process took two years.
- The project started in June 1884, and the initial drawings were completed.
- The construction starts on January 28th, 1887.
- On April 1st, 1888, the initial phase was finished.
- Finished on August 14th, 1888, was the second phase.
- On March 31st, 1889, the tower's third and final stage of construction came to an end.
- Inauguration day for the Eiffel Tower was March 31, 1889. Gustave Eiffel climbed the Tower's 1,710 stairs to place the tricolor French flag atop it. The Tower was 312 meters high at the time.
The tale of how a temporary structure became a symbol of France
The construction of the tower's licensing rights under the convention had already been predetermined to expire after 20 years, at which point it would be completely destroyed. However, during the Universal Exposition, Tower received two million visitors. After such remarkable success, the structure came to represent the might of French industry. Tower experienced the same level of success at the 1900 Universal Exposition. Gustave Eiffel went to great lengths to demonstrate the Tower's scientific value in an effort to stop its destruction. However, the Tower's use as a radio antenna tower, first for military communications and then for ongoing radiotelegraphy communications, would ultimately prove to be its saving grace. In fact, the Tower served a variety of purposes during the First World War.
The Eiffel Tower's success story
About 7 million people climb the Tower each year. Due to its widespread success, numerous nations have built replicas of the Tower that are almost exact replicas of the original. Is it possible to envision Paris without the Eiffel Tower. Don't miss the Eiffel Tower light displays while you are visiting Paris; they have been entertaining visitors and locals alike since the end of the XIXth century.