The Eiffel Tower – 5 Fascinating Facts
The Eiffel Tower stands as one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world with millions of people making a trip to Paris each year to see it. But, as they say, context makes a difference, so knowing some of the history behind the tower can very well enhance your trip.
It was built as an entrance arch for the World’s Fair in 1889
The 1889 World’s Fair was hosted in Paris to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Artists from across the country submitted plans for a structure to mark the entrance to the fair on the Champ-de-Mars, a public green space in the heart of Paris, in the hopes of being considered for the momentous project.
It was originally 985 feet tall
The Tower stood at 300 meters, 985 feet, tall when it was finished in March of 1889. Surprisingly, this measurement isn’t constant as the Tower can shrink by up to six inches in cold weather.
It was the world’s tallest structure until 1930
The Eiffel Tower was the world’s tallest building for 41 years until it was overtaken by New York’s Chrysler Building, which reached a height of 1046 feet. With its spire, the Empire State Building became the world’s tallest building a year later, at 1454 feet. An antenna was added to the Eiffel Tower in 1957, raising its height by 67 feet and causing it to become 6 feet taller than the Chrysler Building.
It was meant to stand for only 20 years
The Eiffel Tower was never planned to remain perpetually atop the Champ-de-Mars, and it was scheduled to be demolished in 1909 until someone recognised that its apex would be ideal for a telegraphy antenna. During the First World War, the wireless telegraph transmitter assisted in the jamming of German communications at the Battle of Marnes in 1914.
A fresh coat of paint is applied to the Eiffel Tower every 7 years
The monument, which is owned by the City of Paris and operated by the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE), requires about 60 tons of paint to be refreshed. The SETE employs over 500 people in various capacities, including security, tour guides, post officers as well as managing the Tower’s shops, boutiques and restaurants.