Love, success, sacrifice, an ancient tradition, a gift from one nation to another, a present to seal the treaty; iconic and legendary stories with heartfelt emotions have served the purpose for many monuments and iconic structures. Every remarkable monument has a remarkable story that goes behind building it; a story that entrenches the world and makes the structure even more beautiful and awe inspiring.
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the famous French engineer is accredited with building the beautiful Eiffel Tower in 1889.Eiffel Tower stands proud and tall in a city like Paris where elegance and fashion walks bare on the street. The reason behind this great piece of Art, standing 1,063 ft tall, is as glorious as the monument itself.
A grand entrance to celebrate a new dawn
The French Revolution marks the most important event in France’s history. This was the time of social upheaval for France as it overthrew the monarchy and established a republic, but also brought about a lot of violence in the country; France faced a new political shift. The Exposition Universelle of 1889 also known as the World’s Fair held in Paris, indicated the centennial celebrations of the French Revolution. As it symbolised the 100th year anniversary, the fair included reconstruction of Bastille; storming of which, marked the beginning of the French Revolution.
As this was a major celebrated event for France, the Eiffel Tower was built as the grand entrance for The Exposition Universelle.
‘˜Les grands travaux’
It was France that coined the tagline which, when translated into English, means ‘˜large-scale engineering works’. The handsome Eiffel Tower proves that this tag well suits the place it originated from. The Tower also marks the technical and architectural achievement as the entire construction of this 7000 tonnes building was done within 2 years, 2 months and 5 days to be precise, which was two months before its target date. In fact it is also said that the Tower took lesser time to be constructed compared to the time spent behind planning the building!
Art or Science?
While the idea of building a grand monument was put forth, a design competition was held. The wager was to design an ‘˜iron tower’ with a square base, 125 meters across and 300 meters tall. Out of the 700 proposals submitted; though not easily accepted by other architects; Gustave Eiffel’s proposal was finally unanimously chosen to be erected. The tower this tall had to be tried and tested for sustenance and viability. Numerous experiments were taken place to make sure it stands tall for the initial guarantee of 20 years placed by Gustave. For instance; the Tower was put under test to check its resistance against the strong winds. The 72 scientists who put in their contribution have their names engraved on the first level gallery of this Tower.
First Radio Broadcast
Built as a monument, the ostensible height of the Eiffel Tower came to be of significant use to the Military Command Centre. Gustave Eiffel himself approached the French military and suggested a radio signal be fixated atop the tower to be utilised for clear communication. The French military saw the advantage in the agreement and by 1903, the Tower was used by the military to send messages around Paris. The success of Gustave’s dream project didn’t stop there; in 1906, a permanent radio was installed on the Tower and soon it became a part of the International Time Service. 1921 was again the iconic year when the first European public radio broadcast beamed on this Wonder of the World.
Though the monument was designed to be taken down within 20 years, the various National purposes it met along with it becoming the icon of the Nation, this Eiffel Tower was never taken down and is renovated, reconstructed and preserved over years.