The History of the Eiffel Tower
It can be seen from almost any spot in Paris, towering over the buildings that surround it. Each year, millions of tourists come from all over the world to see one of the world’s most identifiable structures. But when it was built in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was intended to only remain in place for twenty years.
Gustave Eiffel and his team of engineer’s built the tower in preparation for the Universal Exposition at the World’s Fair of 1889. The exposition was set to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the French Revolution, with the Eiffel Tower serving as a monument. The design of the tower was chosen from an open competition for a structure that would serve as a centerpiece for the exposition.
As the Eiffel Tower was being constructed, it came under fire artistically from those who debated the close connection between architecture and engineering. Artists decried the structure a “useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower,” believing it would tower over the city like a “gigantic black smokestack.” While some of these protestors had a change of heart once they saw the finished product, still others would continue to hold a negative view of the Eiffel Tower over the years to follow.
The city planned to take over the Eiffel Tower and tear it down in 1909, but the structure proved very useful for radio communications during the first World War. In 1980, the city discussed relocating the tower to Montreal for use during the World’s Fair there. However, Eiffel Tower operators vetoed the idea, allegedly because they were afraid the structure would never return to Paris.
Today, the Eiffel Tower is the most visited paid monument in the world, remaining the tallest attraction in Paris. It is among the most recognized monuments worldwide and remains a fitting monument to French history.
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