Who among us would not like to be in the most romantic, magical and beautiful city on earth – Paris ?! Here you can stroll along the Champs Elysees, admire the most recognizable landmark of Paris on the Champ de Mars – the Eiffel Tower, an aerial trellis beauty standing on the left bank of the Seine.
From the history of creation
The Eiffel Tower, which the author of the project himself called simply “a three-hundred-meter tower”, was conceived as a temporary structure for the World Exhibition of 1889, timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.
How the idea was born
The city authorities announced a competition for the best architectural structure that could become the pride of France. At the same time, the building was supposed to bring income and be easily dismantled later as unnecessary.
Engineer Gustave Eiffel submitted his project for a 300-meter iron tower to the commission, which was approved by the authorities in Paris. The construction required 7.8 million francs. The state allocated only 1.5 million to Eiffel. The engineer agreed to contribute the missing amount from his personal funds, subject to the lease of the tower he built for 25 years.
The agreement was concluded, and in 1887 construction began, which had to be completed in 2 years, by the time the exhibition opened.
Construction history and uniqueness of the project
The tower was built as soon as possible. After 2 years, 2 months and 5 days, by the efforts of three hundred workers, its construction was completed. The “Iron Lady”, as the Parisians called her, was assembled like a children’s designer. At first, the pillars were built, and then they were connected using platforms.
The fast pace of construction is due to the perfectly executed drawings, which indicate the absolutely exact dimensions of all metal parts. Until now, the drawings of the Eiffel are considered ideal, and now it is possible to build an exact copy of the iron beauty from them. The assembly required 18,038 metal parts and 2.5 million rivets. The tower is equal in height to an 80-storey building.
Despite its huge dimensions, it turned out to be light and graceful, as if woven from lace, although the whole structure weighs 10 thousand tons. The weight of the coating paint is 57 tons.
The construction was carried out very carefully. A huge pit was dug into which 4 10-meter blocks were installed under each leg of the tower.
A special hydraulic jack ensured the perfect horizontal level of the blocks.
All wrought iron parts were made in the Eiffel’s own factory. Several parts on the ground were assembled into single blocks, rivet holes were drilled into them in advance. Each of these blocks weighed no more than 3 tons, which facilitated installation at a height.
When erecting the tower, Eiffel used such unusual construction tricks that the tabloid press predicted an imprisonment in a psychiatric clinic for him. He installed a small crawling crane moving up the rails of the future elevators. This accelerated the rise of structures to a height and eliminated the possibility of accidents during such high-rise construction.
On March 31, 1889, Eiffel invited willing officials for the first ascent. To do this, it was necessary to overcome 1710 steps. The tower was named after the engineer who built it. At that time, he could not even imagine that she would glorify and perpetuate his name.
The base of the Eiffel Tower is a pyramid with four pillars, which are connected by an arch at a height of 60 meters. On it is a square platform with sides of 65 meters. This is the 1st floor. The next 4 supports rise from this platform. At a height of 116 meters, they form another vault. The second site is located on it – the square is 2 times smaller than the first. This is the 2nd floor.
The pillars thrown up from the second platform, gradually joining together, form a giant column 190 meters high. On this colossal rod, at a height of 276 meters from the ground, there is a third square platform with sides of 16.5 meters.
There is a domed lighthouse here. And above it, at a height of 300 meters, there is a small one and a half meter platform – the third floor of the tower.
The height of the Eiffel Tower today is 324 meters, thanks to the television antenna installed on it.
In order for the tower to better meet the aesthetic tastes of the Parisian public, the architect Stéphane Sauvestre suggested sheathe the basement supports with stone and connect them with the ground floor with patterned arches. And also place spacious glazed rooms on the floors, give the top a rounded shape, and use various decorative elements to decorate it.
The names of 72 prominent French scientists and engineers, including those who helped design and build the Iron Lady, are engraved on all four sides of the Eiffel Tower’s plinths.
Why the French didn’t like the Eiffel tower
Now no one can imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower. But it was not always so. After its construction, it caused strong discontent among many townspeople. The Parisian bohemia indignantly demanded the removal of “the ridiculous tower, this awkward skeleton.” They called it an ugly, tasteless, huge iron pipe, a street lamp and a leaky candelabrum.
Many were outraged by the shadow of the tower, and irritated by the fact that it can be seen from anywhere in the city.
The famous French writer Guy de Maupassant, who constantly came to dine at a restaurant on the first floor, answering the question why he dines here, categorically answered: “This is the only place in the city from where the Eiffel Tower is not visible.”
But visitors to the exhibition and guests of the capital liked the unusual structure very much. The success was deafening: in just 6 months it was visited by 2 million people. During this time, she almost completely recouped the construction costs.
The building was planned to be dismantled in 1909, 20 years after its erection, but after an overwhelming commercial success, the tower received an “eternal residence permit”. The exploitation of his brainchild brought Eiffel a lot of money.
Time passed and proved that all the protests were in vain. And Eiffel managed to turn his enemies into admirers. An unheard-of advertisement for the tower was brought by the concert of the opera composer Charles Gounod, who agreed to play “Concert in the Clouds” here, accepting an unusual invitation from Eiffel.
A team of workers brought the composer’s grand piano to a height of 376 meters, and the concert sounded, astonishing the bewildered audience. Eiffel himself, in order to finally defeat the skeptics, set up his personal office on the upper tier.
The dismantling was finally abandoned when the Eiffel Tower became the property of the capital. It was actively used for telephone and telegraph communications, the placement of radio stations. Since 1935, television programs have also been regularly broadcast.
What is interesting about the tower today
Today, the Eiffel Tower is the main attraction of Paris. Most tourists admire it. Even after 120 years, it remains the tallest structure in Paris and the fifth tallest in all of France. Despite its majestic size, the structure exerts pressure on the ground, equal to the pressure of a person sitting on a chair.
Information for tourists
At the foot there are ticket offices, an information desk with brochures and booklets. A gift shop is located on each floor of the structure. There is a snack bar and post office.
On the ground floor, visitors are greeted by a restaurant and a center where films about the construction of the Eiffel Tower are shown. There is also a fragment of an old spiral staircase leading to the upper floors and to the Eiffel’s own study.
Visitors coming from the north will see a gilded bust of its creator with a simple inscription: “Eiffel 1832-1923”.
On the second observation deck there is the Jules Verne restaurant and a small flooded ice rink.
The main goal of the overwhelming number of visitors is the third level. Elevators ascend to it, through the windows of which you can admire Paris. Those who wish can climb the stairs with 1792 steps. On the top floor, in an exquisite bar, you can celebrate your ascent with expensive champagne, a glass of which will cost 900 rubles in our money.
The tower has several dozen linear and parabolic antennas for broadcasting radio and television programs. The light of the lighthouse is visible for 10 km. Cell towers, a unique meteorological station, recording data on atmospheric pollution and radiation background, are located on the structure.
Immediately after the construction, the tower shone with multi-colored lights: a lighthouse was installed on the top, shining in the colors of the French flag, two searchlights and 10 thousand gas lamps. In 1900, the structure was equipped with electric bulbs. And in 1925, the owner of the Citroen company placed a grandiose advertisement on it. With the help of 125 thousand bulbs, images of the tower itself, the zodiacal constellations, as well as the products of the famous French automobile concern appeared in turn.
Over the years, the lighting of the Eiffel Tower has been modernized several times. In order to save money in 2015, electric lamps were replaced with LED ones. When night falls on the city, the symbol of Paris lights up with thousands of small lights. This is a spectacle of indescribable beauty, from which it is impossible to look away.
Usually the tower glows with golden lights. But during special events or mourning events, it is painted in the colors of the flags of different countries. The inscriptions are projected, symbolizing the upcoming event. In the evening, a light show – illumination – continues for 10 minutes every hour.
Patented tower color
During its existence, the tower was both yellow and red-brown.
Today its bronze color is officially patented and is called eiffel brown. Redecoration is carried out every 7 years and lasts a year and a half.
Each time the old paint coat is completely removed with high pressure steam. During a thorough inspection, the unusable parts are replaced with new ones.
After that, the tower is covered with two layers of paint, which requires 57 tons.
The color is not uniform everywhere, it is painted in different tones of a bronze color – from dark at the base to lighter at the very top. This is done so that the structure looks harmonious against the background of the sky. Interestingly, even today, paint is applied with brushes.
- During the German occupation, the aggressors could not hoist their flag on the tower. All lifting mechanisms were removed by the French, and specialists called from Germany could not help.
- The tower is designed so that it is not afraid of storms – during the strongest wind, it deviates from its axis by only 12 centimeters. The iron structure is more susceptible to the sun. Iron elements expand so much from heating that the upper part sometimes deviates sideways up to 20 centimeters.
- In 2010, from the 2nd floor, from a height of 115 meters, a record for roller skating was set.
- In 2012, Alain Robber climbed to the top of the monument without insurance.
- Every year the attraction is visited by 6 million tourists, in one day – 30 thousand people.
- About 2 thousand kilograms of paper per year are required to print tickets to the visitors of the “iron lady”.
- There are 5 billion lamps and lanterns in the tower. It consumes 7.8 million kWh per year.
- The tower staff is 350 people.
- View from the upper observation deck 70 km in good weather.
- The beautiful tower is a witness to misfortune. From 1898 to the present day, 400 people have committed suicide.
- The Eiffel Tower is the most expensive monument in Europe.
Today, thousands of people are photographed against the backdrop of the famous landmark; all lovers strive for it in order to spend unforgettable moments together. Each girl secretly hopes that it is there that her beloved will propose to her.