31 March 1889

The Eiffel Tower is officially opened.

The Eiffel Tower, one of the most iconic structures in the world, has a rich history:

Concept and Design: The idea for the Eiffel Tower was born as part of preparations for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) held in Paris to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The French government wanted a monument to symbolize modern engineering prowess. Gustave Eiffel, a French engineer, won the contract for the project.

Construction: Construction began in 1887 and was completed in 1889. The tower was built using wrought iron, a relatively new material at the time. It took over two years to construct, and it involved thousands of workers. Remarkably, despite the immense size of the structure, it was completed on time and within budget.

Controversy: Initially, the design of the Eiffel Tower faced criticism from some artists and intellectuals who saw it as an eyesore that clashed with the aesthetics of Paris. They formed a group called the “Committee of Three Hundred” to protest against its construction. However, over time, public opinion shifted, and the tower became widely beloved.

Role in Communications: In the early years of its existence, the Eiffel Tower played a crucial role in advancing communication technology. It served as a radio transmission tower, aiding in the development of wireless telegraphy. During World War I, it intercepted enemy communications and played a significant role in France’s war efforts.

Cultural Symbol: Over the years, the Eiffel Tower has become an enduring symbol of Paris and France itself. It is a global icon of romance, culture, and sophistication. Millions of tourists visit the tower each year to enjoy its breathtaking views of Paris and to experience its grandeur firsthand.

Renovation and Maintenance: The Eiffel Tower has undergone several renovations and maintenance projects throughout its lifespan to ensure its structural integrity and safety. These efforts have included repainting the tower every few years to protect it from corrosion and maintaining its elevators and observation decks.

World Records: At the time of its completion, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest man-made structure in the world, standing at 300 meters (984 feet). It held this title until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York City in 1930. However, with the addition of broadcasting antennas, the Eiffel Tower now stands at 330 meters (1,083 feet) tall, including its antennas.