Eiffel tower and Barcelona - was Eiffel tower offered to Barcelona before Paris?

Eiffel tower and Barcelona

Was the Eiffel tower offered to Barcelona before it was built in Paris?

There is an urban legend that the famous French Eiffel Tower in Paris was originally offered to Barcelona - and that the city of Barcelona said no thanks.

Imagine the number of tourists in Barcelona if the city both had the Eiffel tower and the Sagrada Familia temple.

Rumour has it that Gustave Eiffel had Barcelona in mind for his tower to be erected as entrance of the 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition. This was Spain's first International World's Fair and took place from May 20 to December 9 in 1888.

The story goes that Barcelona rejected the offer of the Eiffel tower due to its size and cost. 

However a study of all official planning documents for the Barcelona Exposition have revealed that no formal or official offer was ever received from Eiffel.


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So it's not true. It's an urban myth.

Furthermore it transpires that Eiffel had already presented his plans for the tower to the 1989 Paris world fair before Barcelona had even picked the site for their world fair.

Barcelona did orginally intend to have a 210m tower as the entrance and did consider two other tower projects, but neither were built.

Instead the Barcelona Arc de Triomf victory arch was built as the entrance - and this arch stands to this day.
If you want to see a authentic Roman victory arch, then head to Roda de Bera near Tarragona to see the Arc de Berà arch built by Lucius Licinius Sura in the reign of Augustus, around 13 BCE.

It is thought that the the Bera arch was dedicated to Emperor Augustus, the first Roman emperor who reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14,  and that the arch marked the limit of the district of Roman city Tarraco.

Gustave Eiffel's tower was built in Paris as the entrance to the 1889 Paris World's Fair to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution. 

The design of the Eiffel Tower was by engineers Maurice Koechlin and Émile Nouguier who worked for the Eiffel construction company. According to Eiffel the inspiration for a tower came from the Latting Observatory built in New York City in 1853.

The Latting Observatory was a wooden tower built as part of the 1853 Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations and was located on the North side of 42nd Street between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue across the street from the site of present-day Bryant Park

If you want to see an original Eiffel construction near Barcelona, head for Girona, where you can stand on the 'Eiffel' bridge over the river Onyar.

It was built by Gustave Eiffel's company in 1876 but not designed by his company. It has several names - the Pont de Ferro - iron bridge - or Pont Eiffel  and the "Pont de les Peixateries Velles" - the old fish mongers bridge name after a fish market on a previous bridge at this location.

The Eiffel bridge in Girona is an iron structure held together with rivets. It is 41.5 meters long and 2.62 meters wide. It is 7 meters above the river Onyar.

Eiffel Bridge, Girona, river Onyar

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Last Updated on Thursday, 02 November 2023 16:06

Sunday, 03 December 2023