When we think of Paris, the first thing that comes to mind is the Eiffel Tower. If history had been different, those of us alive today would most likely be completely unaware of the historical icon. The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889, and since that time, over 200,000,000 people have visited it, which makes the Eiffel Tower the most visited monument in the world. The Eiffel Tower was erected for the Paris Exposition, and was inaugurated by the Prince of Wales, who went on to become King Edward VII. The tower was the entrance arch to exposition, and was the most visited site during the Exposition. As they were preparing for the Exposition, seven hundred proposals were submitted in a design competition. In the end, it was the radical design of French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel that was unanimously chosen. Eiffel was assisted in the design by two engineers, Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nougier, and architect Stephen Sauvestre.
Believe it or not, there was some controversy over the winning design. The Paris city government actually received a petition, signed by about 300 people in a effort to prevent the city government from constructing the tower. Some famous personalities like Guy de Maupassant, Emile Zola, and Charles Garnier also signed the petition. They felt that the Eiffel Tower would be useless and monstrous, and it endangered French art and history. Wow!! Today, they would be stunned at the beauty it posses, especially when it is lit up at night.
Of course, the tower was ultimately built and it was given out for a 20-year lease. When the lease expired in 1909, it was planned to tear down the iconic tower. In the end, it was its antenna that saved the tower, as it was used for telegraphy. The tower also played an important role in capturing the infamous spy Mata Hari during World War I. Following these events, the tower gained acceptance among the French. As 1910 arrived, the Eiffel Tower became a part of the International Time Service and the French Radio has been using the tower since 1918. The French Television started using the height of the tower from 1957. I don’t really know if most of us knew about all the other uses for the Eiffel Tower, other than the tourist attraction most of us connect with it.
Today this fantastic structure of iron and rivets is iconic symbol of Paris and people from all over the world come to Paris just to marvel at this man-made wonder. The stunning photographs that have been taken from all angles, and the romantic appeal for so many couples of all ages and nationalities have worked together to make the Eiffel Tower famous.