Today, The Eiffel tower celebrates its 126th birthday. It was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889. as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticized by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world
The main structural work was completed at the end of March 1889 and on the 31st Eiffel celebrated this by leading a group of government officials, accompanied by representatives of the press, to the top of the tower. Since the lifts were not yet in operation, the ascent was made by foot, and took over an hour.
Eiffel had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years; it was to be dismantled in 1909, when its ownership would revert to the City of Paris. The City had planned to tear it down (part of the original contest rules for designing a tower was that it should be easy to demolish) but as the tower proved valuable for communication purposes it was allowed to remain after the expiry of the permit. Several years later, during World War I, the Eiffel Tower intercepted enemy radio communications, relayed zeppelin alerts and was used to dispatch emergency troop reinforcements.
It escaped destruction a second time during World War II: Hitler initially ordered the demolition of the city’s most cherished symbol, but the command was never carried out. Also during the German occupation of Paris, French resistance fighters famously cut the Eiffel Tower’s elevator cables so that the Nazis had to climb the stairs.
Now one of the most recognizable structures on the planet, the Eiffel Tower underwent a major facelift in 1986 and is repainted every seven years. It welcomes more visitors than any other paid monument in the world—an estimated 7 million people per year.
I visited Paris in September 2000. This photo was taken in broad daylight, with an old Minolta camera and this is actually a scan. It was a cloudy day and the sky was overexposed, with no hope of improvement. So, I made it a night scene. A fun fact – a special lighting display on the tower is under copyright, meaning that all night images of Eiffel Tower are not to be published without permission in France and some other countries. Yes, I cheated. 😛
I was late for this week’s edition of Monochrome Madness Challenge, but you should check other great entries on Leanne’s blog Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY.