It has been 129 years since French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel began to build what was to become one of the most iconic monuments in history, the Eiffel Tower. Built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle, a 'worlds fair' which would celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution, the Eiffel Tower took only two years to build. Having discussed at great length what would be a suitable structure for the event, the French government held a design competition for a concept for a open lattice wrought iron tower. Over 100 designs were submitted but Gustave's was unanimously chosen.

Eiffel Tower
1889: The Eiffel Tower and the Exposition Universelle in Paris Getty Images

The design was originally the product of Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, who were two senior engineers working for the Compagnie des Eiffel. However, when they showed Eiffel a sketch, he initially showed little interest. Koechlin and Nouguier then asked their head of the company's architectural department, Stephen Sauvestre, to contribute to the design. Eiffel accepted the changes Suavestre made, which were decorative arches to the base of the tower and a glass pavilion to the first level. Eiffel bought the rights to the design, which eventually went under the company name in 1884 and was submitted into the design competition in 1886.

The tower opened on 31 March 1889, in time for the Exposition Universelle, of which the Eiffel Tower was the entrance. IBTimesUK takes a look at the Eiffel Tower throughout its history.