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Taking two years, two months, and five days to complete its construction, the Eiffel Tower was initially only supposed to stand for 20 years. Today it celebrates its 126th birthday. (Reuters)

The Eiffel Tower celebrates its 126th birthday today since it was first opened to the public on 31 March, 1889.

Gustave Eiffel, the chief architect and civil engineer of the metallic edifice, had on that day climbed its 1,710 steps to place the French flag on top. Gustave also designed the Statue of Liberty.

The giant metallic edifice, located on the Champ de Mars in Paris was built as the main exhibit at the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World's Fair), held to mark the centennial of the French Revolution in 1789.

The 324-metre-high (1,062-foot) Eiffel Tower draws around seven million visitors every year and is the most visited monument in the word.

Construction on the tower began on 26 January, 1887, and took two years, two months, and five days to complete.

The tower was initially only supposed to stand for 20 years.

Incredible as it may seem, the Eiffel Tower shrinks, thanks to its metallic build. In winter it is approximately four to eight inches shorter.

Painting the tower requires 60 tons of paint (and still needs a fresh coat every seven years).

It was the world's tallest structure till the Empire State building took over. Even then it was the tallest structure in France until the military transmitter in the town of Saissac was erected in 1973.

Many artists and architects in Paris had protested the construction of the tower.

Google is celebrating the day with a doodle that shows workers giving final touches to the French marvel.

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