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Interesting Facts About The Eiffel Tower

Paris, the global hub of art, culture, and fashion, welcomes over thirty million tourists from around the world each year. Though gourmets take delight in the cafe culture of the Parisian streets, while fashion connoisseurs drop by high-end designer boutiques along Rue du Faubourg, no one can leave Paris without paying a visit to La Tour Eiffel- or, as we, the commoners, call it, the Eiffel Tower.

One of the world’s most conspicuous landmarks, the Eiffel Tower was named after Gustave Eiffel, the renowned engineer whose firm is attributed with its designing and construction. It was designed to serve as a dramatic entrance to the 1889 Paris World Fair and vaunt modern France’s engineering domination to the whole world. Not only did Gustave’s creation served the purpose of becoming the cynosure of every eye in that fair, but it also became a global icon of France that continues marveling people even a century later. Today, Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid monument in the whole world; however, this wrought-iron tower does not reveal its secrets to every soul mounting on it. Want to know some flabbergasting facts about Eiffel Tower that even the Parisian do not know? Keep reading this article!

Eiffel Tower Was Not Always Considered a Piece of Art

Though today Eiffel Tower is considered one of the world’s greatest marvels of structural art, this was not always the case. When Gustave’s engineering firm first proposed the idea of a 300-meter tall tower, it faced criticism from leading artists and architects of France. They believed building such a skyscraping structure was unfeasible and would diminish the importance of Paris’ historical monuments. This controversy fueled the long-standing spar between architects and engineers when all the leading architects joined arms to send a petition against Gustave’s idea called “Artists against the Eiffel Tower” to the ministry.

It Celebrated the Title of World’s Tallest Building Till Almost a Semicentennial

With a whopping height of 300 meters (984 ft), it became the first man-made structure in the world to pass both the two hundred and three hundred height marks. When it was first opened, Eiffel Tower became the tallest man-made structure in the world, surpassing even the Washington Monument. It held this title for forty-one years from 1889 to 1930 till the Chrysler Building was built in New York City.

Gustave Eiffel Was Not the One Who Designed Eiffel Tower

Despite being the namesake of Gustave Eiffel, this architectural wonder was not designed by him; in fact, it was two senior engineers from his firm, Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, who came up with the design of the Eiffel Tower. They drafted a sketch of their idea after a competition was launched to create a centerpiece for the 1889 Paris World Fair. Together with Stephen Sauvestre, the firm’s head architect, they came forward with a flawless design and won the competition.

A Secret Apartment At The Top

Despite being the namesake of Gustave Eiffel, this architectural wonder was not designed by him; in fact, it was two senior engineers from his firm, Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier, who came up with the design of the Eiffel Tower. They drafted a sketch of their idea after a competition was launched to create a centerpiece for the 1889 Paris World Fair. Together with Stephen Sauvestre, the firm’s head architect, they came forward with a flawless design and won the competition.

When approving the design of its namesake, Gustave Eiffel cleverly added a private apartment at its top. From the vantage point of his apartment, Gustave could see the whole of Paris under him. Henri Girard, the author of La Tour Eiffel de Trois Cent Métres, reported in his book that many aristocrats would offer Gustave money to rent his private chambers, but he would dismiss every single one of them, which lead him to be the object of envy among Parisians. Although, he did host some special friends like Thomas Edison there. Recently the chamber was opened for public visits and people were surprised to see how contrasting his apartment was from the tower itself. It is a homey place with paisley wallpaper and simple wood furniture – nothing as majestic as the steel structure in which it is contained.

The World’s Tallest Building Was Not Supposed to Survive This Long

Parisians originally built the Eiffel Tower to commemorate the French Revolution centennial at the 1889 Paris World Fair and showcase the industrial might of France. They had planned to demolish it after twenty years, but Gustave persuaded them against it. He installed a radio antenna and wireless telegraph transmitter in the Eiffel Tower to prove its usefulness. Moreover, by that time, it had already become a global icon. So the government eventually decided that demolishing a landmark that showed their domination would not fair well to their reputation, and thus, it was saved by its namesake’s cleverness.

It Cost a Gigantic Fortune to Built the Eiffel Tower

As mighty as the tower is, its cost price is even more colossal. Historians report that it cost the French about 7.8 million gold Francs to construct the Eiffel Tower. If you think a million euros is a huge sum to spend, imagine how much 7.8 million gold Francs would cost in the 18th century!

It Expands and Shrinks Every Year

As weird as this might sound, the Eiffel Tower is not stationary! The mountainous structure is made of wrought iron, and like every other metal, its shape is affected by the weather. During summers, the sun heat causes the Eiffel Tower to expand to about seven inches, while in winters, the cold causes it to contract to seven inches.

There Are Names Engraved On the Tower

Gustave was appreciative of every person who contributed to the construction of the Eiffel Tower and wished to recognize their efforts. He paid tribute to them by engraving the names of seventy-four scientists, engineers, and mathematicians on the Eiffel Tower itself. During a repaint of the tower at the beginning of the 20th century, the engravings were covered up but were restored later in the century. You can see the names of great French engineers like De Dion, Goüin, and Jousselin carved on the wrought-iron even today.

There is a Secret Military Bunker Beneath the Eiffel Tower

Though only constructed over a century ago, Eiffel Tower has seen its fair share of war and bloodshed through the course of history. Situated on one of the busiest and liveliest streets of Paris, no one would expect that concealed in its massive structure is a secret military bunker. The symbol of serenity and majesty hides underneath its southern leg is a French military bunker. This mysterious bunker leads to the French Ecole Militaire through a long tunnel. Though visitors usually mount the Eiffel Tower, many now wish to go underneath it to witness the history and legend. The secret bunker has now become a small museum that is open to visitors.

The Takeaway

the Eiffel Tower at night.

After reading this article, you can boast about your knowledge of the Eiffel Tower when visiting France! You will no longer be a layman when touring this majestic landmark; in fact, you will know which nook and cranny to look in to reveal its secrets.

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