The Eiffel Tower: The History of a Landmark
When one thinks of Paris, one major structure comes to mind: The Eiffel Tower. This cultural icon has been in existence for almost a hundred and twenty years and continues to stand over the people of France today. It serves as a hub for tourism and telecommunications for the city of Paris. But back when the Tower was originally constructed, the citizens first saw it as an eyesore and disliked its strange design.
Architect and engineer Gustave Eiffel designed the landmark as an entrance arch to the Exposition Universelle, which was a World Fair that marked the hundred-year celebration of the French Revolution. Originally, Eiffel planned to display his creation at the Exposition Universelle in Barcelona in 1888, but his plans were rejected. After getting approval from officials in Paris, Eiffel began construction on the Tower with three hundred workers in 1887. Construction was risky, as the structure was an open frame without and interior floors except for the two on the inside. One person died during the process, but otherwise the project went smoothly.
The Eiffel Tower was inaugurated on March 31, 1889 and opened to the public on May 6, 1889. Initially, the people thought of the Tower as an atrocity. Many thought the structure was weird in design and did not fit in with the rest of the city. Eiffel was given a permit that would allow the Tower to stand for 20 years (until 1909) and then it would become possession of the City of Paris. The City intended to destroy it; however, the Tower helped with the city's communications network and they decided to keep the building.
Many events have passed throughout the Tower's existence. It was the world's tallest building until 1930 when the Chrysler Building was completed in New York City. The sides of the Tower were used as advertising space for a French automobile company until 1934. The Tower saw Adolph Hitler's Nazi regime and was a sign of the people's rebellion against his campaign to take France. Overall, the Eiffel Tower had been through the thick and thin of the city's history.
Today, the Eiffel Tower is a booming tourist site. There are restaurants on each floor and guests can climb many staircases to the top of the Tower for a widespread view of Paris. In the winter season, the first floor serves as an ice skating rink. The Tower also broadcasts FM-radio and television frequencies all over France. Ultimately, the Eiffel Tower has become one of the most iconic buildings in Paris.