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10 cool things about the Eiffel Tower


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In 2019, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, is turning 130! Find out how this famous world landmark came to be the standout of the Paris skyline, even though it was never meant to last.

The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. Construction started two years before that to have it ready in time. The tower was the entrance to the World’s Fair, with visitors passing beneath it to get to the exhibition.

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It’s named for Gustave Eiffel who owned the company that came up with the design and supervised its construction.

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When it was built the Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world at 300 metres. It held this title until 1930 when the Chrysler Building, at 318 metres, opened in New York City.

Wikimedia/public domain

Construction on the Eiffel Tower used 7,300 tonnes of iron and 2.5 million rivets. Because it’s made of metal, the tower expands and shrinks depending on how hot or cold the weather is – by as much as 18 centimetres.

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Underneath the south corner of the tower is a hidden military bunker that goes back to World War I. There the French military would send and decode radio transmissions.

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On average, the structure is repainted by hand every seven years, with a specially blended Eiffel Tower brown, though in years past it was other colours, including yellow. The paint isn’t just for looks – it protects the iron from rust.

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The tower gets 7 million visitors a year and is France’s most popular tourist attraction.

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Gustave Eiffel had a secret apartment built at the top of the tower that he used to entertain guests, like Thomas Edison.

Wikimedia/Serge Melki/CC BY-SA 2.0

There are names of French scientists from the 18th and 19th century. The engravings were covered up for a long time, but can now be seen again.

Wikimedia/Jean-Pierre Dalbéra/CC BY 2.0

The tower was never meant to be permanent. When radio became the big new technology the Eiffel Tower made for the perfect antenna to broadcast signals all over France so the city decided to keep it.

Wikimedia/French Ministry of Culture/CC BY-SA 4.0