March 31st 1889: Eiffel Tower opens



The completed Eiffel Tower in 1889


On this day in 1889 in the French capital of Paris, the iconic Eiffel Tower was officially opened. The tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair to celebrate the centenary of the French Revolution and is named after its designer Gustave Eiffel.



Gustave Eiffel (1832 – 1923)


After two years of building it was inaugurated on March 31st 1889 with Eiffel, government officials, and the press going to the top of the tower by foot. Upon reaching the top, Eiffel hoisted a French flag which was accompanied with a 25 gun salute. The tower was supposed to be dismantled in 1909 but it soon became apparent the tower had both cultural and practical value as it was used for communications. Upon its creation it was the tallest man-made structure in the world (it was defeated by the Chrysler Building in New York City in 1930).



The Eiffel Tower under construction


It is hard to imagine a Paris without the Eiffel Tower; it has become a national icon of France. The tower defines the Parisian landscape, drawing millions of tourists every year to climb to the top and look down on the most romantic city in the world. Paris has many sites to offer tourists, from the famed Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe. However the Eiffel Tower is still the main attraction, drawing almost seven million visitors in 2011 alone.



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