Sunday, March 31, 1889 was the day the Eiffel Tower was dedicated to the city of Paris. To celebrate such a momentous event – and commemorate its 124th anniversary – here are some amazing facts about this iconic structure.
- Construction on the 108 storey, 324 meters (1063 feet) tall, 10,000 ton Eiffel Tower commenced January 26, 1887 and was opened two years, two months and five days later.
- When the tower officially opened, it was the tallest structure in the world. Not until 41 years later was it superseded by New York’s Chrysler Building. Today, the Eiffel tower is fifth tallest building in France. On a clear day you can see approximately 42 miles from the top of the tower.
- The original purpose of the Eiffel Tower was to serve as the entrance arch for the 1889 Exposition Universelle, a World’s Fair celebrating the centennial of the French Revolution. The tower was only intended to remain part of the Parisian skyline for 20 years, it was saved when it was found useful for scientific experiments.
- The Eiffel Tower is named after its principal designer and contractor, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. An architect and civil engineer, before the tower, Eiffel worked to design the interior structural elements of the Statue of Liberty. Following the completion of the Eiffel Tower, he went on to design structures and buildings around the world. After his retirement, Eiffel contributed significant research and findings to the fields of meteorology and aerodynamics.
- The Eiffel Tower is painted every seven years. 60 tons of paint are required to cover it entirely.
- The tower’s 20,000 light bulbs (5,000 on each side) glitter for five minutes every hour on the hour, from nightfall until 1 a.m.
- Approximately seven million people visit the tower every year with 75% of them coming from outside France.
The Eiffel Tower is open 365 days a year. Summer hours are 9 a.m. to midnight (June 15th to September 1st). During the rest of the year the tower, the hours are 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. A ticket to ride an elevator all the way to the top of the tower is €14.50 for one adult there are reduced rates for children and visitors with disabilities. Find out more at tour-eiffel.fr.
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Photo: James Whitesmith