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How long did it take to build the Eiffel Tower?

Happy the Eiffel Tower! This 300m (1000 foot) towering structure is 131 years old today, can you believe it? The Eiffel Tower (or "La Tour Eiffel" in French), was the main exhibit of the Paris Exposition, also known as the World's Fair in 1889. It was selected as one of 107 projects submitted to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the French Revolution as the centerpiece for the 1889 World's Fair in Paris. It also demonstrated France's industrial prowess to the world. 

Gustave Eiffel, owner of Compagnie des Etablissements Eiffel, two of his chief engineers: Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, and Stephen Sauvestre, an architect, were accepted for this feat. The first digging began on January 28, 1887 and construction of the wrought-iron tower began in July 1887. Start of the pillars' mounting was the 1st July 1887. The first floor achievement occurred April 1, 1888, the second floor was finished August 14, 1888 and the top and total assembly was achieved on the 31st of March, 1889.

Though not everyone in Paris was thrilled with the idea of a giant metal monument looming over the city. When construction of the tower began on the Champs de Mars, a group of 300 artists, sculptors, writers and architects sent a petition to the commissioner of the Paris Exposition, pleading him to halt construction of the "ridiculous tower" that would dominate Paris like a "gigantic black smokestack." But the protests of Paris' artistic community burnt out with the end of the project approaching. Construction of the tower was completed in two years, two months and 5 days. Once the masterpiece was completed, it was greeted with enormous popular success, receiving two million visitors during the World's Fair of 1889.

As with many popular attractions these days, you can take a virtual tour and learn all about the Eiffel Tower here.

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