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Eiffel tower: 10 facts to mark the French landmark's 126th anniversary

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The Eiffel Tower, one of Paris's most visited attractions and one of the world's most iconic monuments, celebrated its 126th anniversary this week. Find out more about the famous tower, which opened to the public on 31 March 1889 and attracts millions of visitors every year, with these intriguing 10 facts…

eiffel tower
The Eiffel Tower celebrated its 126th anniversary this week

1. In February the Eiffel Tower was named the most popular spot in the world to take a selfie. According to tourist attraction site AttractionTix, the French landmark beat Disney World in Orlando, Florida and the world's tallest building - the Burj Khalifa - in Dubai and London's Big Ben to take the top spot.2. The tower was the world's tallest man-made structure for 41 years, until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930.3. It was built as a symbol of modern science. Or as Gustave Eiffel himself said, "not only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living."

John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen recently took a selfie at the French landmark

4. It is 324 metres tall (including antennas) and weighs 10,100 tonnes.5. The Eiffel Tower is the most visited paid-for monument in the world: today the monument welcomes almost seven million people a year.6. Since its opening almost 250 million people have visited the tower.

Peter Andre took a photo of his fiancé Emily at the Eiffel Tower in February

7. It wasn't supposed to stay. It was originally intended to stand for 20 years before being dismantled, but its use as a wireless telegraph transmitter meant it was allowed to stay.8. The Eiffel Tower took two years, two months, and five days to construct.9. It changes height. Because it's made with puddled (wrought) iron, the tower’s metal expands when exposed to the summer sun, causing the structure to rise by as much as 6.75 inches.10. The French didn't like it very much. Nicknames for the tower included "street lamp" and "permanent eye sore".

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