Construction on the Eiffel Tower began February 28, 1887, and was completed in 1889. It was an entry to the 1889 Exposition Universelle, which also symbolically celebrated the centennial of the French Revolution.
Made of wrought iron, and standing at a height of 324m (1,063 ft), the Eiffel Tower was the tallest human-made structure from 1889 to 1931, until it was surpassed by the Chrysler Building in New York. It remains the tallest structure in Paris.
The project was led by the Compagnie des Etablissements Eiffel, with engineers Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, and architect Stephen Sauvestre.
A large group of artists, intellectuals, and "passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris" contested the project, stating the city's famous landmarks such as Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, or the Invalides would be "crushed" if the project were completed.
Initially, the Eiffel Tower was meant to stand for twenty years, as per the contest rules (all submissions should be easy to disassemble), but the tower proved to be popular and useful for broadcasting and scientific purposes.
It is part of Paris' cultural heritage, owned by the city, and one of France's most visited sites.