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  • The Eiffel Tower is an ambassador of modernity in a city of antiquity

    2014-06-10

    The Eiffel Tower sits at the heart of Paris as the City of Light's most recognizable landmark. Millions of travelers flock to Paris to marvel at the tower's splendor every year, and rightfully so. It's a Europe travel destination any traveler would want to see. However, the Eiffel Tower is more than a delightful tourist attraction and an architectural beauty. Designed and built during the height of the Industrial Revolution in Europe, the tower stands as an icon, a symbolic gateway into the new world.

    Science, technology and architecture
    The Eiffel tower is unique not just for its scope, which is impressive - almost 1,000 feet high and weighing 10,000 tons according to Business Insider - but also for its symbolic significance. According to Gustave Eiffel, the engineer for whom the landmark is named, the Eiffel Tower was meant to be a living representation of the era of its construction. Unveiled at the 1889 World's Fair in Paris, the tower came into the world right on the tail end of the Industrial Revolution that had shaken up Europe in previous decades. As a testament to this, the tower's construction took a mere two years. In contrast, Notre Dame Cathedral was built over a period of almost two centuries.

    Business Insider reported that the tower was simultaneously developed alongside the burgeoning technology of photography. This is fitting, as the two seem to go hand-in-hand - not only is the Eiffel Tower picturesque in its own right, but budding photographers worked with Eiffel to photograph the tower throughout various stages of its construction, creating a photographic history of its development.

    A link to America
    France and the U.S. have enjoyed an amicable relationship since the days of the Revolutionary War. In fact, the Statue of Liberty - arguably America's most iconic landmark - was gifted from France to commemorate the relationship. Not coincidentally, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty share more than that ancillary connection. The Telegraph reported that Eiffel, lead engineer and architect for his titular tower, was also responsible for designing the interior elements of Lady Liberty, which was built almost alongside Paris' famous monument. In this subtle but not insignificant way, Eiffel and his world-famous tower serve as a symbol of a world standing on the brink of modernity.

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