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Monday, March 31, 2008
Fact of the Day
The Eiffel Tower is, arguably, the most recognized structure in the world. With over a million yearly visitors, it is one of the largest tourist attractions worldwide.

It was inaugurated on this day in 1889, making it 119 years old today. In contrast, my sister is 41 today. The Eiffel Tower, has held up well. It still retains its original slim, svelte shape, and doesn't seem to have needed much in the way of maintenance over the years.

It was originally proposed to the city of Barcelona for the Universal Exposition of 1888, but the Consistory of Barcelona was unenthused. Eiffel then proposed it to Paris for the Exposition of 1889, which also marked the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. Construction began in 1887 and was completed in 1889. Barcelona's loss was Paris' gain.

Wikipedia has this to say about it: The tower was met with much criticism from the public when it was built, with many calling it an eyesore. Novelist Guy de Maupassant — who claimed to hate the tower — supposedly ate lunch in the Tower's restaurant every day. When asked why, he answered that it was the one place in Paris where you couldn't see the Tower. Today, it is widely considered to be a striking piece of structural art.

It was originally to be torn down in 1909 - Eiffel only had a 20 year permit for it and it would have reverted to the City of Paris then, but it proved useful for communications purposes, so it was allowed to remain. Then WWI came along, and it proved useful during the war. By the end of the war, it had become a war monument.

Today, due to building codes, it is the tallest structure in Paris, but despite the common Hollywood portrayal, it cannot be seen from every home in the city.

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