The Eiffel Tower is the most visited paid monument in the world. It was built by Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923). Eiffel was a French engineer, whose early work focussed chiefly on bridges. Eiffel also built the metallic skeleton which supports the copper exterior of the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York Harbour. The statue was delivered to New York as a gift to the United States from the people of France. It was officially received in 1885 by the Mayor of New York William Russell Grace, who was a native of Ballylinan Co Laois, Ireland.
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was born in Dijon, France on December 15th 1832. He was educated locally and later at the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, in Paris. Following graduation in 1855 he specialised in building bridges in France and abroad. Eiffel built the Maria Pia Bridge over the river Douro in Portugal. The bridge was completed in 1877.
Eiffel began building the Eiffel Tower in 1887 on the Champ-de-Mars in central Paris. It was the entrance arch for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair). The Exposition was held to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The tower which is 324 metres tall was the tallest building in the world when it was completed.
Many people initially criticised the Eiffel Tower and felt it was an eyesore. Some people would dine in the restaurant at the base in order to avoid seeing the tower. It is today one of the best known structures in the world and attracts an estimated seven million visitors every year.
Gustave Eiffel, builder of the the most visited paid monument in the world, the Eiffel Tower, died aged 92 in the year 1923 On This Day.