Why Barcelona Rejected The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognized landmarks in the world. Around seven million people visit the tower each year. Designer Gustave Eiffel built it for the 1889 World's Fair and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. It was supposed to be a temporary structure, however. After 20 years, it was supposed to be torn down. Plans for the tower as it came in handy for scientific experiments and technological advancements such as radio transmissions in the early 1900s. Its antenna adds to its height of 1,083 feet.

Today, the tower is an integral part of holiday celebrations and other special occasions. New Year's Day fireworks shoot from the tower every year. The tower has had lights since the 1980s and sometimes changes its colors. In February of 2022, the tower lit up in yellow and blue to show solidarity with Ukraine after the Russian invasion (per Reuters). However, not everyone was fond of the tower when it was finally built.

Gustave Eiffel first pitched the design to Barcelona

Gustave Eiffel originally wanted to build the Eiffel Tower in Barcelona, Spain for the Barcelona Universal Exposition in 1888. But city officials thought it would be too large and cost too much. This may be simply an urban legend, however. Official offers from Eiffel during the planning of the exposition have never been found. Barcelona did want a tower to mark the entrance of the exposition, but never built one (per Barcelona Yellow).

Other rumors about Barcelona's hesitations about the Eiffel Tower state that the city turned down the project because they thought it would be an eyesore. The irony is that after the Eiffel Tower was built, many Parisians were not fond of the structure either. One critic even said it looked like "metal asparagus" (per Mental Floss). After all, it is different from any other structure in Paris, standing out against the city's other iconic landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Barcelona has its own tourist attractions

Barcelona is still iconic with or without the Eiffel Tower. According to Statista, Barcelona ranked in the top 10 European travel destinations in 2019. The city hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics as well. Among the top attractions are the still unfinished Sagrada Familia, museums dedicated to Pablo Picasso, and pristine beaches. It is popular for vacationers and for remote workers alike.

As is the case with countless landmarks across Europe, the Eiffel Tower undergoes maintenance, including a new paint job every seven years. The job takes 60 metric tons of paint. Its value to the city is shown by the measures taken to protect it. It is under constant video surveillance and there is also a protective glass wall around its base as of 2018 (per CNN). Despite its underwhelming beginnings as a temporary and criticized structure, it seems that the tower is here to stay. Gustave Eiffel has the last laugh.