The structure was erected 123 years ago in 1889 and at 320 meters tall (roughly the height of an 80-story building); it is the tallest structure in Paris. It received numerous controversy and criticism from sculptors, architects, painters and whatnot even before its construction. It was ridiculed as a piece of useless and monstrous structure. But little did the critics realize that the structure would not only survives two world wars but also would become the Europe’s most expensive monuments, even 6 (six) times more valuable than the infamous Colosseum of Rome.
Eiffel Tower, named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, the same person who responded to criticisms by comparing his tower to the Egyptian Pyramids, is today worth a staggering £344 billion (US$545 billion or RM1,685 billion) – Europe’s most expensive monuments, dwarfing its nearest rival the Colosseum of Rome which has a tag-value of only £72 billion (US$114 billion or RM353 billion). The most-visited paid monument in the world received its 200,000,000th (that’s 200 million) visitor in Nov 2002 since 1889 and is counting. One of its visitors was Thomas Edison who visited the structure in Sept 1889.
The beacon which attracts 8 million tourists every year found its usefulness in the opening weeks of the 1914’s First World War when the tower’s powerful radio transmitters were used to jam German communications, slowing the advance on Paris and contributing to the Allied victory at the First Battle of the Marne. Upon the German occupation of Paris during Second World War (1940-1944), the lift cables were cut by the French so that Adolf Hitler would have to climb the steps to the summit. It was said that Hitler conquered France, but did not conquer the Eiffel Tower.
Based on a new list published by Italy’s Monza and Brianca Chamber of Commerce, United Kingdom’s most valuable monument which is about 1,000-year-old, Tower of London, is at 5th place worth an estimated £56 billion. Criteria used inclusive of a “tourist index”, which took into account “the economic value of the location, the fame of the monument, the flux of visitors to the territory and monument” and an “economic attractiveness index”, comprising factors such as the number of jobs it created and its export value.
It was speculated that by 2011, Eiffel Tower would cost about US$480,000,000 to build and the land under the tower is worth US$350,000,000. Maintenance of the tower alone includes 50 to 60 tonnes of paint every seven years to protect it from rust – costing US$5,300,000. The electric bill is US$400,000 per year for 7.5 million kilowatt-hours. Not bad for a structure that had a permit to stand for only 20 years; it was supposed to be dismantled in 1909 but due to its value in communication (which was proven again during World War 1), the tower was allowed to remain after the expiry date.
However not everyone was amazed with the latest valuation, at least not to the Italian. The Italian media was horrified (why shouldn’t they) by the news that the Paris landmark was said to be worth twice as much as the annual wealth generated by the entire city of Milan. Maybe they would react differently if it was the Colosseum of Rome that is worth £344 billion instead. Here’re the rest of the most valuable structures in Europe:
The full list:
1. Eiffel Tower, Paris: 343 billion pounds
2. The Colosseum, Rome: 72 billion pounds
3. The Sagrade Familia Cathedral, Barcelona: 71 billion pounds
4. The Duomo Cathedral, Milan: 65 billion pounds
5. The Tower of London: 56 billion pounds
6. The Prado Museum, Madrid: 46 billion pounds
7. Stonehenge, UK: 8.3 billion pounds
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