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The World’s Replica Eiffel Towers

A masterpiece of wrought-iron lattice rising into the European sky, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most instantly-recognizable architectural pieces in the entire world. Constructed from 1887-1889 and created by architect Gustave Eiffel, the tower was not always received as popularly as it is today; its contemporaries thought of it as an ugly, grey thorn on the Parisian skyline. However, people soon grew to love the building, for its stark appearance as much as the feeling of riding the escalator to its top and viewing the sprawl of the French capital from high in the sky. And although its popularity is famous, it remains a lesser known fact that over 50 imitation Eiffel Towers have cropped up, all over the world–in places, and for reasons, that you might not expect. 

The Tokyo Tower, a 333-meter tall impression of its European counterpart, marks its home city’s skyline as much as the original claims its own. Though the specifics of Tokyo Tower’s design mark it as influenced by the Eiffel Tower, and not a true to-scale replica, this post-Second World War spire sports the Eiffel Tower’s brand lattice steel construction in a vibrant red. Meant as a symbol of Japan’s emergence as a global power in the second half of the 19th century, this tower is both a tourist attraction as well as broadcast antenna. It was even the tallest building in the Japanese capital until 2012, when the Tokyo Skytree usurped its throne. That being said, Tokyo Tower still serves as an important landmark for the impact of Westernization in Japan, both an economic and cultural homage to French architectural heights. 

In mainland Asia, China also houses many Eiffel Tower replicas; the most popular resides in the large city of Tianducheng. However, the architects of the city of Tianducheng wanted to more than simply replicate the tower: they wanted to bring the entire city of Paris to Eastern China. From the thin, winding suburbs of the City of Light to individual destinations–like a copy of the Versailles Neptune Fountain–Tianducheng aims to emulate the French metropolis in as many details as possible. It even has a replica Mona Lisa that tourists can visit. But what simulation of Paris would be complete without an Eiffel Tower? Tianducheng boasts its own, which, like the original, is a popular backdrop in happy photos of wedding couples. 

Tianducheng.By MNXANL, is licensed under CC-BY-SA

However, Tianducheng’s model is accurate in all but scale. At 100 meters tall (as opposed to its likeness’s 350 meters), the Tianducheng Eiffel Tower is just ⅓ of the size. Visitors to the city also report that, beyond architecture, Tianducheng feels and lives more like its neighbor Chinese cities than Paris. One can only wonder about how much Gustave Eiffel’s towering structure can be to thank–or to blame–for the discrepancy. 

China also houses other replica Eiffel towers, such as the one located in a theme park in Shenzhen. Advertising itself as the Window of the World, the idea behind this attraction is very similar to that of the Epcot World Showcase in Walt Disney World: to concentrate many world cultures in the small physical space of an amusement park. This park has many replicas of famous buildings from around the world, such as the Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, and of course, the Eiffel Tower. Though smaller than the original tower, this replica is quite faithful to Eiffel’s original architecture, besides the wrought-iron mandarin characters signifying the park’s name on one side of the tower itself. Among the Window of the World’s many performances involves a light show, setting the faux-Parisian tower into a blast of rainbow colors and beams at night in a fantastic display worthy of holiday fireworks. 

In South America, Brazil’s mainland capital Brasilia sports a 224-meter high replica. Meant to bring Brasil into a new, industrialized era, it isn’t surprising that the architects of Brasilia wanted to show off more European influence to mark their new capital’s skyline. Today, the Brasilia TV Tower attracts over a quarter million visitors annually, for those who want the experience of the original Tower’s heights without having to pay to fly across the Atlantic. The 75-meter high observatory gives viewers a complete view of the Brasilian capital. As an attraction the Brasilia TV tower also centers around a market, replicating the shopping and dining experience of central Paris with a South American style. 

Replica Eiffel Towers can be found across all of the seas. Sydney, Australia, already plays most to some famous architecture: the Sydney Opera House is nearly as famous as the Eiffel Tower itself. The Opera House is so famous that it overshadows some of Sydney’s other buildings that might be of interest–in particular, the AWA, known colloquially as “Sydney’s Eiffel Tower.” Constructed in 1939, the AWA originally served as the headquarters for one of Australia’s first wireless companies, and was the city’s tallest building until it was overtaken by a different skyscraper–two descriptions that seem popular among Eiffel Tower replicas around the globe. The AWA is not solely an Eiffel Tower, however; rather, the Eiffel Tower portion sits upon a 12-floor office building that also houses a radio school, basement restaurant, and other particulars. 

North of the equator on the western hemisphere lies one of the most accurate Eiffel-tower replicas; the Gomez Palacio Eiffel Tower in Durango, Mexico. Yellow lights beneath the iron lattice construction turn on at night, making this 58-meter tall replica a similar lighthouse in its own city’s skyline. In fact, one of the reasons for the accuracy of this replication is its origins. The Gomez Palacio was donated to the municipality of its same name by the French Consulate in Laguna in 2005. The image of Eiffel’s work, backdropped by the blue skies of Mexico’s deserts, is a sight quite different from the urban setting of the original; though no less beautiful. 

Interestingly, many Eiffel replicas find themselves not so far away from the original in Europe. Eastern Europe, especially, houses many–one can imagine the wrought iron spires like upside-down thumbtacks, sticking out of a map. Parizh, Russia, hosts a ⅙ model that functions, as so many do, as a television tower. In the Czech Republic, when the base Eiffel Tower was still considered an ugly thumb, it was still being replicated: Prague’s model was finished only two years after the initial tower, in 1891. This Petrin Lookout Tower perhaps embodies the most true view from an Eiffel Tower replica, with visitors being able to gaze out over the Czech capital and the Vltava River that cuts through it. 

In Romania, visitors to the town of Slobozia can view another ⅙ model, a popular scale for Eiffel Tower replicas. In Greece, the surgeon Haris Fournarakis built a smaller, 18-meter tall version to decorate one of the entrances to the town. Even France itself has a different Eiffel Tower, in its southern region of Lyon–for those for whom even a day trip is too long of a wait fto gaze upon the famous installation. 

But beyond listing the multitudinous replicas of the Eiffel Tower–because there are many, many more–the question of their numbers itself is an interesting one to navigate. The Eiffel Tower is perhaps alone in its place in architecture in how many varied clones of itself can be found among the world, and for what reasons. Even decoration begs the question of dedication to the original design; though we have focused on the more scale-model Eiffel Towers, many architects have taken upon themselves to put their own spin on the classic design (a perfect example of this in action is the striking “Eiffel Tower” in Riga, Latvia). These Eiffel towers around the world function technologically as radio, satellite, and television tower, tourist attractions, art pieces, dedicated statues–even as historical monuments, as we’ll see as move West across the Atlantic Ocean. 

The influence of French architecture extends to America, even beyond the famous Statue of Liberty. There are  over twenty cities in the United States alone named Paris, many of them sporting their own Eiffel Tower in monument to their namesake. As it turns out, the famous saying, “Everything’s bigger in Texas” is often true: except in the case of the Eiffel Tower of Paris, Texas. And this 65-foot tall replica isn’t exactly a perfect to-scale model, either: at its tip stands a vibrant, red, Stetson-style cowboy hat, true to the spirit of the American Southwest. Constructed in 1993, this faux tower’s claim to fame is that, well, you don’t often see large buildings with giant hats on them. Not only that, but this Eiffel Tower’s hat was specifically constructed in a friendly rivalry to make its home tower taller than the Eiffel Tower of Paris, Tennessee, constructed in the same year. 

Like many of the United States’s Parises, Paris, Tennessee is a small town whose namesake makes it appear all the more rural. This Paris’s Eiffel Tower was constructed by Dr. Tom Morrison, civil engineering professor emeritus at Christian Brothers College in the state’s capital of Memphis. At 60 feet tall, this replica is less than one tenth the size of the original, though the story of its construction gives it heart. Besides the cost, over 10,000 construction hours were donated by students and community members of the college, to see the steel tower through to completion. Why? To honor the legacy of a French soldier who helped the United States come into being as a nation. 

The popularity of cities named after Paris has to do with the history of the American revolution. Paris, Tennessee got its namesake from the contributions of the Marquis de Lafayette, who beyond serving as a volunteer under George Washington’s army, observed the fledgling United States’s fight for democracy, and brought those observations into the French Revolution. Paris, Tennessee’s website cites both its name, and the creation of its replica tower, as honoring the Marquis’s contributions to American history. 

The most accurate of the United States’s replica Eiffel towers isn’t in a city named Paris, however, and wasn’t created out of a selfless devotion to honoring a nation’s allies. This Paris is an extravagant hotel, built in a city dedicated to all the vices the human experience has to offer. Yes, the most famous Eiffel Tower replica has notoriety all its own, and can be found in Las Vegas, Nevada: city of gambling and fortune. This Eiffel Tower is 500 feet tall, one-half of the original’s height, though it still serves quite a view for guests of the acclaimed Eiffel Tower Restaurant. Only accessible via an elevator, and outfitted with the steel frames that made the original famous, it’s no wonder this replica, like the original, is also a popular destination for suitors to propose marriage. Celebrities, restaurateurs, and lovers alike can enjoy the high life of the casinos and resorts of Las Vegas as they mark the desert’s skyline, all the while resting under French architecture and eating a French-trained chef’s excellent cuisine.  

The world is host to many replica Eiffel Towers–one on every continent, besides Antarctica–constructed for a variety of reasons. Some cities want a monument to attract visitors and income, and copy one of the most famous attractions in the world. Others build their Eiffel Towers as a symbol of modernity, the wrought-iron lattice style being famous for having been brought up in an era of industrialization and scientific upheaval. Honoring the history of France as an ally is another reason to raise another one of these pointed spires into the sky. Between these reasons, cities choose between remaining faithful or putting their own spin on the classic design. 

No matter the case, the many replicated versions of Gustave Eiffel’s tower are worth a visit–the view from the top, whether at 60 feet or 500 feet, will be worth the trip. Most of the these Eiffel Tower remain faithful to the original as centers of parks or shopping centers so that visitors can get a bite to eat, indulge in some splurging, and watch the tower join the stars in lighting up the night sky. Wherever you are, don’t worry–there’s likely an Eiffel Tower closer to you than you ever would have thought.

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