THE EIFFEL TOWER

   The Eiffel Tower is not only the most iconic structure in Paris, France but it is also one of the most recognisable landmarks in the world. It was built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Its construction took only 2 years, 2 months and 5 days and was completed in 1889. It became the tallest building in the world until it was surpassed by the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. Including the antennas, the Eiffel Tower is 324 m tall and is now the tallest building in Paris. The tower was named after Gustave Eiffel who owned the company that designed and built it. A very interesting fact is that Eiffel was also the designer of the interior parts of the Statue of Liberty.

   The Eiffel Tower consists of 18 038 wrought iron parts held together by 2,5 million rivets. Rivets are special metal bolts or pins which hold pieces of metal together. It has a very detailed, almost lacelike structure and it weighs around 10 000 tonnes. Despite that weight, the tower sways by 6 or 7 centimeters on a windy day. There are 3 levels that visitors can climb up to, each offering even a more breathtaking view of Paris than the previous one. There are 1665 steps to the top of the tower. But how strange is that – most people actually prefer to take the elevator!! The Eiffel Tower holds the record of the most visited paid-for attraction worldwide – almost 7 million people a year. So imagine the queues!!! But it is worth the wait. Once you have reached the top, you get to enjoy a spectacular 360° view of the city. People who chose to ascend to the 3rd floor, can have a look in the cosy, little apartment which Gustave Eiffel used to entertain his guests in. It is fully preserved in its original state and immediately takes you back in time!

   If it is possible, this cultural icon is even more impressive at night. The whole tower is illuminated with the golden shimmer of 336 light bulbs. But when the sparkling lights are turned on, it is sheer magic. There are 20 000 glittering lights which are turned on for five minutes every hour creating an amazing light show. On special occasions, the Eiffel Tower is illuminated with different colours – blue for the 20th Anniversary of Europe Day in 2006 or red to celebrate Chinese New Year in 2004!

   Let’s not forget the photo that all couples take – giving each other a kiss, with the beautiful iconic landmark standing proud and tall in the background!!!

GALLERY

GLOSSARY

recognisable – identifiable

anniversary – a date celebrated each year because of something special that happened on it previously

surpass – to exceed, to go beyond

ascend – to go up, to move upward

lacelike – resembling lace

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