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Eiffel Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Eiffel Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Eiffel Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Eiffel Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Eiffel Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Eiffel Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Eiffel Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Eiffel Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Eiffel Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Eiffel Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Eiffel Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Eiffel Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

Eiffel Tower photograph.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
This image is available as a print or poster.

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The Eiffel Tower
(La Tour Eiffel)

Built: 1887-1889
Designed by: Gustave Eiffel
Type: Tower
Maximum Height: 984 feet / 300 meters
Maximum width: 410 feet / 125 meters
Maximum length: 423 feet / 129 meters
Location: Champ de Mars, Paris, France
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U ndoubtedly, one of the great monuments of the world, the Eiffel Tower only narrowly escaped demolition shortly after it opened. Built for the 1889 International Exposition -- the equivalent of today's World's Fair -- the tower was erected to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution and straddled the main entrance to the fair. While the Eiffel Tower has welcomed 32,250,297 people to L'exposition de Paris, Parisians did not welcome the tower at first. This icon sparked protests, and much grumbling among the people of the time who felt it was dangerous, ugly, and did not reflect their city's culture. In an attempt to appease the opponents, the space between the tower's four legs is filled in by ornate arches. In spite of their appearance, these massive spans serve no practical function. They are strictly ornamental and do not help support the structure, which was the first object built to withstand the forces of the wind as well as gravity. Only now, more than one hundred years later, can we see the tower in context. It has aged gracefully and no longer stands in stark contrast to the ornate architecture that has survived in modern Paris. Once the exposition was over, plans were made to dismantle the Eiffel Tower. The monument that brought howls of displeasure because it represented that which was modern, new, and very un-Parisian, was actually saved by technological advances. Engineers realized that the structure would make a perfect broadcasting tower. Even today, a television mast stands at the top of the Eiffel Tower, bringing its overall height to 1,056 feet. The potential destruction of the tower became the basis for one of the greatest con jobs in history. Several companies were fleeced for millions of dollars by a man who convinced them he was working for the French government and took bribes in order to sway the nonexistent demolition contract their way. The tower gets its name from Gustave Eiffel, the man who designed the monument, and also did the girder work for the Statue of Liberty now in New York harbor. Looking at its open frame, it comes as no surprise that Eiffel was a bridge engineer when he entered the competition along with 100 other people to design this lasting monument to French culture. It was his knowledge of trusses and spans that allowed the tower to reach a maximum height with minimal construction. In fact, it took just two years for it to reach its pre-television height of 984 feet. In spite of this height, the Eiffel Tower has just four floors. All are served by specially designed elevators that, instead of running up a vertical track, move along a curve dictated by the tower's sloping form. Reaching the top level presents visitors with a visual delight -- a 40-mile view of Paris and its environs sprawled out in a spider web pattern inconceivable from the ground.

  • The Tower is made of 12,000 pieces of pre-formed steel put together like a big puzzle.
  • There are 7,000,000 rivets holding the tower together.
  • It was the first tower tall enough that it had to be designed to counter the effects of wind.
  • The passenger elevators run along the same tracks that the construction cranes used during assembly.
  • A piece of iron from the Eiffel Tower is sealed in a time capsule at the top of the John Hancock building in Chicago.

  • June, 2001: A 38-year-old Frenchman has parachuted off of the Eiffel Tower because his friends bet him he wouldn't do it. The man went in with a group of tourists and hid until after closing time. He jumped from the 940-foot level and was arrested as soon as he touched ground.
  • 22 July, 2003: A fire breaks out in an equipment room at the top of the tower. 8,000 tourists are evacuated and the monumnet closed while smoke billows into the Paris sky. The blaze is caused by overheated cables. The smoke is enhanced by a fresh coat of paint on the tower.
  • 10 December, 2004: A skating rink is opened on one of the Eiffel Tower's observation decks. The rink is 188 feet off the ground, and slightly larger than a standard tennis court. It can handle 80 skaters at a time.
  • January, 2005: The skating rink is closed.

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