Eiffel Tower – Description: EIFFEL TOWER, Paris

The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII of England, opened the tower.

Of the 107 proposals in a competition, it was the design submitted by chief engineers (Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier) from Gustave Eiffel’s company that was unanimously chosen, but not universally accepted. As construction began, artists (including Charles Gounod, Guy de Maupassant, Alexandre Dumas junior, Francois Coppee and Charles Garnier and many more) signed their names to the “Protest against the Tower of Monsieur Eiffel” and had it published in Le Temps newspaper. They were fearful that this “useless and monstrous,” “stupefying folly” would overshadow and bring dishonor to their beloved Paris.

Already known for engineering bridge supports (and for building the structure of The Statue of Liberty) Eiffel and his team were confident they could design something that would meet the 300 meter (1000 feet) mark, and architect Stephen Sauvestre was brought in to improve the project’s public appeal. Elements he added, like the large arches at the base, are what give this engineering marvel its stand out appearance. By the time construction was complete, The Eiffel Tower met enormous popular success—receiving two million visitors during the World Fair of 1889. Charles Gounod was, in time, a personal guest for coffee in Eiffel’s private apartment in the top of the tower.

At 300 meters (320.75m including antenna) and 7000 tons, it was the world’s tallest building until 1930. Up to 300 workers on site assembled the 18,000 iron pieces in just over two years. It took four men to install each of 2.5 million rivets: one to heat it up, one to hold it in place, one to shape the head and a fourth to beat it with a sledgehammer! Building “The Iron Lady” was a technical and architectural feat, boasting innovations in engineering and height. Construction was done in record time, new technology supplied the lifts and the lighting, and ground breaking work ensured the tower could withstand the effects of nature. Eiffel was fascinated with aerodynamics and built his tower to withstand the almost constant high winds that would barrage the top, resulting in just a 12 cm sway. (Weather also affects the height of the Eiffel Tower which can vary up to 15 cm as ambient temperatures cause the iron to expand and contract.)

Surprisingly, the Eiffel Tower was never meant to be permanent. The initial contest requirements included easily removing the structure at the end of a 20 year lease of the land. Ever the entrepreneur, Eiffel set about finding practical uses that would justify The Tower’s continued existence. He immediately installed a meteorological laboratory on the 3rd floor where he could pursue interests that included astronomy and physiology. The structure itself was outfitted with all kinds of instruments of scientific observation, including thermometers, barometers and manometers. He personally conducted experiments to study wind, gravity and electrical lighting. And he encouraged the scientific and physiological studies of others as well. Eiffel had the names of 72 French scientists engraved on the sides of the Tower. The names disappeared when the iron scaffolding received a new coat of paint, but half a century later they were restored and can be seen by visitors today.

The Tower also became an important tool for communications and broadcasting. Advances in telegraph, radio and then telecommunication technology were all hastened with the ability to use the tower as an enormous antenna. The world’s first wireless transmissions were made from a transmitter installed on the tower by Captain Ferre and the French military (with funding by Eiffel). When the military was able to intercept strategic enemy messages and stop spies (including Mata Hari) The Eiffel Tower was found indispensable.

Lighting has always played a role at The Tower. Its first night, the structure glowed with 10,000 gas street lamps and a colored beacon swept over Paris, rotating red, white and blue. From a thousand lightbulb chandelier to animated advertising to a colorful salute of rugby to beautiful presentations in celebration of its own birthdays, light bulbs and projection methods have changed and improved, but the lighting at The Eiffel Tower still continues to dazzle onlookers. After his daring flight from New York and across the Atlantic, Charles A. Lindbergh said it was the thousand lights on The Tower that illuminated his way to Paris.

Another interesting look through The Tower’s history might trace its relationship with time itself. In the beginning, Parisians could set their watches by the sound of a cannon fired from the Eiffel Tower every day at noon. In 1907, a giant clock was attached at the second floor level, with 20 foot high, luminous numbers the clock could be seen from quite a distance. In 1910, the structure was again an important instrument of science, when an international time organization used the Eiffel Tower to broadcast radio time signals, which would not just synchronize time around the globe but also make it possible to measure the exact position of longitudes. In 1933, a 20 meter wide clock was installed 200 meters up the tower—multicolored light rays, lit one after the other, indicated the movement of hours and minutes. A huge countdown clock hung on the Eiffel Tower to count down the remaining 1000 days to the year 2000 and the Millennium was celebrated with a fire and light show at The Tower that was broadcast all over the world.

There have now been over 250 million visitors to the Eiffel Tower, most of them not from France. Celebrities and people of renown from all over the world have come to admire the most visited monument you must pay to see. And people all over the world who can’t visit in person have probably seen the famous tower featured in a movie or represented in art.

Visitors will find plenty to do and see at The Tower. The first floor has undergone extensive renovation and now boasts a transparent floor 57 meters (187 feet) above the ground. There are also updated and comprehensive exhibits on this floor, many of them interactive. Head to the second floor for expansive views of Paris, then take the glass elevators 180 meters (more than 590 feet) to the top. Here, in addition to more incredible views, you can visit the newly restored office of Gustave Eiffel. There are restaurants and shops in the Tower and both permanent and temporary displays. In the winter there is ice-skating. Entertainment is frequent and sometimes spectacular. Special events have included competitions (climbing the stairs with everything from an elephant to motocross bikes), concerts, art exhibits, a ballet and more than one acrobat. Don’t miss sending a postcard from la Poste (on the first floor) with a unique Eiffel Tower postmark.

Iron can rust and painting the Iron Lady is a huge undertaking that occurs every seven years and can take 18 months. The Tower remains open to tourists as 25 painters (hanging from rigging) examine, strip and repaint the whole thing by hand. It takes 60 tons of paint and is shaded lighter towards the top so that the distance doesn’t change the color we perceive. A color which has changed over the years—first red, then yellow, and eventually various shades of brown. (Even then, lighting on and around The Tower has allowed it to glow most of the colors of the rainbow.) The current paint is a rich bronze and will help the Eiffel Tower be around for millions more visitors to appreciate over the years. – Location: Paris – Website: http://www.tour-eiffel.fr


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CountryReports- Travel Edition Launched

Travel concept

CountryReports has launched a new product focused on travel and tourism.   The Travel Edition incorporates some of the content from CountryReports with extensive travel specific content added.   The travel edition is being launched available at no cost.  What’s inside?

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CountryReports, after holding fees in place for the last six years, has made some price revisions that went into effect on October 1st, 2014.

We deliver content that is high quality, user friendly, current and at an affordable price for all.   To that end, below you can see our continued commitment in that regard:

Rates Effective October 1st, 2014

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CountryReports has published a significant amount of new content this month.  Members will enjoy enhancements to existing content and brand new content.

So what’s new?



  1. Create, Save and Download Customizable Comparison Graphs
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Defense spending percent of GDP

Defense spending percent of GDP

statue of libertyThe statue of “Liberty Enlightening the World” was initially a gift of friendship from the people of France to those in the United States. Lady Liberty has since fulfilled her deeper purpose. She is now recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy—a beacon to oppressed people all over the world.

Edouard de Laboulaye first proposed honoring the United States with a monument in 1865. An ardent supporter of the “common law of free peoples,” Laboulaye hoped the Union victory in the American Civil War and the subsequent abolishment of slavery would inspire a French return to democracy. In 1875 the statue was given a name, Liberty Enlightening the World, and fundraising began. The French would finance the statue and the Americans would pay for the pedestal.

A financial crisis in the United States made fundraising difficult and in 1884 The American Committee for the Statue of Liberty ran out of money. Joseph Pulitzer, the publisher of the New York World newspaper, reminded subscribers that the common people of France had paid $250,000 for the statue and that his readers should not wait for millionaires to finance the American part of the project. In the next six months, about 125,000 readers donated over $100,000 ensuring that, even though the money came a dollar (or less) at a time, there would be a fitting pedestal for “a gift of the whole people of France to the whole people of America.”

Auguste Bartholdi was a sculptor and friend of Laboulaye. After visiting the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Bartholdi became excited about designing a colossal statue (of a robed woman holding a torch) as a lighthouse for the Suez Canal. Egypt never pursued the project, but Laboulaye easily transitioned his original concept into a monument of freedom for the United States.

Bartholdi saw New York harbor as the gateway to America and knew at first sight that Bedloe’s Island would be the perfect place for Lady Liberty to greet every ship that entered the harbor. Not just her designer, Bartholdi became a great advocate of the Statue. To elicit support and funds for the project, Bartholdi personally accompanied the massive arm and torch to the United States so they could be displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

The arm and torch were the first parts completed in 1876. Two years later, Lady Liberty’s head and shoulders were displayed at the Paris Universal Exposition. The entire Statue was completed in 1884. She was assembled in Paris and presented to the United States Ambassador in July of that year, then dismantled for an oversee voyage to her new home. Arriving in July of 1985, the pedestal was not yet ready and Lady Liberty had to wait over a year to greet her adoring crowds.

Bartholdi oversaw the Statue’s reassembly, beginning with Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel’s iron framework. (Eiffel would go on to build the Eiffel tower in Paris.) Next steam driven cranes hoisted materials and the pieces necessary for reconstruction. On October 28th, after receiving a key to the city, Bartholdi climbed the Statue to release the French flag that veiled Lady Liberty’s face. Guns, whistles and the applause of a million onlookers filled the air and the statue glistened brightly in the rain.

The pedestal rises from a 11-point star shaped platform, the remaining walls of a land battery used in the early 1800s. The Lady herself is 151 feet tall, but including the base and the pedestal, the statue stands 305 feet tall at the entrance of New York Harbor. Lady Liberty’s mouth is three feet wide. Her eyes are each two feet, six inches across. Her forefinger is eight feet long. Thirty one tons of copper cover a 125 ton framework in sheets not quite the thickness of two pennies. The green color is from a patina resulting from the copper’s exposure to the elements.

The Statue of Liberty’s crown has seven spikes which represent the seven seas and seven continents around the world. In her left arm, she holds a tablet inscribed in Roman numerals with the date July 4, 1776 – the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In her raised right hand, she holds a beacon of light to welcome voyagers to America. Out of view by those on the ground, chains and a broken shackle lie at Lady Liberty’s feet and she is stepping forward with her left foot, indicating progress from bondage to freedom.

The original torch is now in the lobby. It was replaced in 1986 with a copper torch covered in 24k gold leaf that gleams in the sunlight of day or the floodlights at night.

In 1937, the island was turned over to the National Park Service and the next decades brought many improvements to the Statue’s surroundings. Dilapidated buildings (from the original Fort Wood) were removed. Trees, lawns and pathways were installed. By the time Bedloe became Liberty Island in 1956, visitors found her setting to be as lovely as the Lady herself.

A sonnet called The New Colossus was written by Emma Lazarus for a fundraising auction in 1883. Drawing from her work as an aide for Jewish immigrants and other refugees on Ward Island, Lazarus poem was deeply moving and immediately popular—appearing in both the New York World and the New York Times newspapers. Seventeen years after Lazarus’ death, a friend of hers found the sonnet in a book. Interest in the poem was renewed and it was eventually inscribed on a plaque and placed on the inner wall of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. You may know bits of Lazarus’ sonnet by heart: Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…