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May 6th: happy birthday Eiffel Tower, 122

Eiffel Tower, Paris

Eiffel Tower, Paris

The Eiffel Tower is 122 years old!

Ok, yes, there are more important events today in the world, but it’s nice to learn a few interesting facts about the Tower on the anniversary of its opening to the public, during the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889.

Leaving aside the controversy and the uphill battle that such an iconic building has had to go through during the 2 years of its construction, 122 years later we have to admit its success is unparalleled.

Less known facts and figures:

- it took 199 workers 2 years, 2 months and 2 days to put it together (hundreds more worked in the factories where the parts were produced);

- these workers managed to fix together some 2.5 million rivets…  remember Charlie Chaplins’s “Modern Times”?

- when opened in 1889 it was reaching a height of 312 meters, and it’s now at 324 thanks to TV and radio antennas;

- there are actually 116 TV and radio antennas installed on the top…

- the architect Mr Gustave Eiffel had planned to built its private apartments on the top of the tower, today the 3rd level platform, at 274 meters. But as the elevators did not get installed in time, walking the stairs up to “home” did not turn out to be a great idea.

- the tower is extremely resistant to winds, with its top oscillating of just 12 cm (5 inches) in strong winds.

- no one knows exactly the number of steps to get to the top… the number goes from 1665 to 1802. Anyone wants to go and count?

Here’s a list of all tours and tickets to see the Eiffel Tower, including a private behind the scenes Eiffel Tower tour of the areas not open to the public (very limited tickets available).

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