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The Eiffel tower was constructed between 1887 and 1889 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, a World's Fair marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. It was built on the Champ de Mars beside the River Seine in Paris and at 324 meters (300 m without antenna) is the tallest structure in Paris and among the most recognized symbols in the world. In 1930, the tower lost the title of the world's tallest structure when the Chrysler Building was completed in New York City. It was named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel. The tower was inaugurated on 31 March 1889, and opened on 6 May. It consists of 18,038 pieces and 2,500,000 rivets with the total weight of the entire metal structure reaching 7,300 tons, but the structure itself has a weight of 10,100 tons. The pure weight of paint layers on this structure is 40 tons and Eiffel tower is constantly being painted over. There are 1665 steps and the size of base area of Eiffel tower is 10,281.96 square meters. The total number of visitors is something more than 225,000,000. The tower was met with resistance from the community when it was built, with many calling it an eyesore but today it is widely considered to be one of the most striking pieces of structural art in the world. Originally, Eiffel had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years after which the ownership would revert to the City of Paris who had originally planned to tear it down. However, the tower later proved valuable for communication purposes and was allowed to remain after the expiry of the permit. The military used it to dispatch Parisian taxis to the front line of the Marne, and it therefore became a victory statue of that battle. It was also used to catch the infamous "Mata Hari," and after this, its demolition became unthinkable to the French population. In 1925, the con artist Victor Lustig twice "sold" the tower for scrap. Upon the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940, the lift cables were cut by the French so soldiers had to climb all the way to the top to hoist the swastika but the flag was so large it blew away just a few hours later, and they had to go back up again with a smaller one. When the allies were near Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to demolish the tower along with the rest of the city. He disobeyed the order. On 3 January 1956, a fire broke out and damaged the top of the tower. _tower