The Eiffel Tower is famous because it was the tallest structure in the world at the time of its construction in 1889. It has since become a Paris icon and a symbol of romance. More people pay to see the Eiffel Tower each year than any other attraction in the world.
Though named after Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower was actually designed by an assistant. Eiffel himself was not initially a fan of the structure's design. He had been taxed, however, with designing the tallest structure in the world. The biggest challenge he faced in doing so was wind. The higher a structure stood, the more likely it was to be toppled by wind. Once Eiffel's assistant demonstrated that the structure would be sound, even in winds at a height of 1,000 feet, Eiffel embraced the project. The tower debuted in 1889 as part of the Universal Exposition. It was initially supposed to be demolished after 20 years, but it had gained such notoriety by the end of the initial 20-year period that officials decided to keep it. It was used as a radio tower during WWI and in WWII was sealed off to prevent the Nazis from taking it over. More than 7 million people visit the Eiffel tower annually.