125th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Eiffel Tower image
The Eiffel Tower draws millions of visitors from around the globe each year to gaze upon its beauty.

This past week, French citizens and international admirers celebrated the 125th anniversary of the artistic and architectural masterpiece called the Eiffel Tower. The magnificent structure opened in Paris for the very first time on March 31, 1889, when it served as the entrance for the World’s Fair expo. The mega event drew attention to the building’s designer, Gustave Eiffel, who also worked on the Statue of Liberty and famous bridges around the world.

Not only is the Eiffel Tower the most recognizable landmark in France, it’s also considered by many to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Not every list of the Seven Wonders includes the Eiffel Tower, but many do rank it among mankind’s greatest creations, like the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Golden State Bridge in San Francisco, and the Taj Mahal in India.

The Eiffel Tower was the tallest man-made structure for 41 years with a height of 986 feet, and wasn’t passed up until 1930 when the Chrysler Building in New York City reached an impressive 1,046 feet. Then, in 1957, an an antenna was added to the Eiffel Tower, allowing it to reach 1,063 feet. Since then, a number of buildings have competed for tallest manmade structure, and the current champion since 2010 is the insanely high 2,722 feet height of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Emirates.

On a humorous note, when the Eiffel Tower was first built, it wasn’t very well-received by the artistic French community. In fact, these creative thinkers came together to form a “Committee of Three Hundred” that published a harsh criticism of the “useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower”, claiming it threatened to make other famous monuments, like the Louvre museum and the Notre Dame Cathedral, “disappear in this ghastly dream.” They even said it would stretch “like a blot of ink” and that it was a “hateful shadow of the hateful column of bolted sheet metal.” However, Gustave brushed off the mean words, and compared his own work to the greatness of the Egyptian Pyramids!

Featured image courtesy of earcos on Wikimedia. Image of northwest Eiffel Tower courtesy of Meysam.ebrahimi on Wikimedia.