Ask 100 different people what reminds them of Paris and you will most likely hear – Eiffel Tower. We all know that this “Iron Lady” has always been the symbol of Paris. We also know why – this huge 1,063 ft high tower (which is equal to an 81-story building) can be seen from almost any point in the city. And from the top of the Eiffel Tower, the entire city of Paris and beyond can be seen. More than 200,000,000 people have visited the tower since its construction in 1889, making it the most visited paid monument in the world. On March 31st this year this incredible structure has turned 122 years old.
But ask yourself what interesting facts you know about Eiffel Tower and you may draw a blank.
To begin with this tower should not have even been there back in 1889. When French engineer Gustave Eiffel first decided to raise this structure in 1887 he met with much criticism from the public. Most famous cultural workers of that time even signed the document which said: “And during next years we shall see, stretching over the entire city, still thrilling with the genius of so many centuries, we shall see stretching out like a black blot the odious shadow of the odious column built up of riveted iron plates.”
One of the biggest Eiffel Tower “haters”, novelist Guy de Maupassant, even used to have lunch in the Tower’s restaurant – that was the only place in Paris where he couldn’t see this “disgusting” structure, he explained.
But time passed and the Eiffel Tower, instead of being the object of irritation, soon became an object of admiration.
Later on during the Second World War, just before Hitler came to Paris in 1940, Frenchmen disabled the lift drive which couldn’t be fixed because of the war. So Nazi soldiers were not able to climb to the top of the tower and raise their banner there. From that moment people began to say that Hitler conquered France but didn’t manage to conquer the Eiffel Tower.
The “Iron Lady” can also count about a dozen of interesting and unbelievable facts in its history.
Thus on February 4th 1912 an Austrian tailor named Franz Reichelt jumped from the first level of Eiffel Tower having self-made wings on his back and died of a sudden heart attack on his way down.
In 1925 a conman named Victor Lustig managed to “sell” the great tower for scrap metal twice. He persuaded two different powerful men to take part in financial support of the structure which was supposedly exposed to danger from the government.
From 1925 to 1935 illuminated signs of Citroën decorated three of the tower’s four sides. That became the highest advertising space in the word at that time.
In January of 1956 a sudden fire destroyed the top of the structure which was later reconstructed.
On July22, 2003 the top of the tower was on fire again. The fire could be put down only by night.
In winter of 2004 the first floor of the “Iron Lady” was reconfigured into an ice skating rink. This was some sort of an advertising of Paris as a 2012 winter Olympic candidate.
Until now, the Eiffel Tower has remained the same as it was 120 years ago due to 57 tons of paint used every 7 years to protect it from rust.
This huge tower doesn’t suffer from the wind too much. Even the strongest storm can give it only a 3.5 inch sway. And the sun can make the top of the tower shift away up to 7 inches.
The last suicide was committed from the tower in April 2008.
Today, the Eiffel Tower is used for TV and radio transmission, and cellular communication. It is not only the symbol of Paris now, but really its heart and fountain of life. Life full of opportunities and wonderful adventures. And a lot of people all over the world dream of coming to Paris just to see this wondrous creation.