Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 June 2019

Dubai 2020: remember that the Eiffel Tower was also built for an expo

France celebrates its most famous tower 130 years after it was erected for Paris’ World Expo

Paris was aglow last night as the city celebrated 130 years of its iconic Eiffel Tower.

Originally built in 1889 for the Exposition Universelle, the 324-metre-tall tower was lit up at 10pm on Wednesday with a 12-minute laser light show that recounted the storied history of the Iron Lady.

Originally constructed to serve as the entrance arch for the World Expo, the Eiffel Tower is now one of France’s most-visited landmarks and the most-visited paid-for attraction in the world.

Built for the 1889 World's Fair, the Eiffel Tower displays a "130 years" message during a light show celebrating the 130th anniversary of its construction, in Paris. AFP / Zakaria ABDELKAFI
Built for the 1889 World's Fair, the Eiffel Tower displays a "130 years" message during a light show celebrating the 130th anniversary of its construction, in Paris. AFP / Zakaria ABDELKAFI

The 130th anniversary laser show will repeat hourly today and tomorrow from 10pm until midnight. Paris city officials commented that the celebrations were especially noteworthy after last month’s fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral which awakened people to the fragility of heritage.

Initially due to be demolished after the 1889 Paris Expo concluded, the Eiffel Tower now welcomes around seven million people every year. Over 250 million visitors have ascended the tower during its lifetime via its 1,665 steps, or by taking the slightly less taxing elevator option.

One of the most recognisable buildings in the Parisian skyline, the Eiffel Tower was also the world’s tallest tower for over forty years. From 1889 until 1930, it was the tallest man-made structure in existence until New York’s Chrysler Building opened in the United States. Today, the title lies with Dubai’s 830-metre-tall Burj Khalifa.

Despite its ensuing popularity, when the Eiffel Tower was first constructed many people criticised it. French artists, authors and members of high society denounced the design, describing it as industrial and ugly.

Today, it has been recreated several times around the world including at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel in Nevada, the Parisan Macau in China and the Tokyo Tower in Japan. It was also the inspiration for Blackpool Tower in the UK.

Updated: May 16, 2019 12:42 PM

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