Greece’s “Little Paris” Takes on France’s Eiffel Tower

Traveling along the west coast of the Peloponnesian peninsula, you might be startled to come upon an Eiffel Tower reaching up toward the heavens.

Built in the 1960s, the beautifully-proportioned replica of the iconic Paris monument is situated at the entrance of the small town of Filiatra in Messinia prefecture.

The 26-meter (83 foot) tall replica is much smaller than the original, yet is just as lovely. It was built with funding and backing from Greek-American doctor Haralampos Fournarakis.

The Filiatra tower isn’t a true replica, however, since its design differs in a few major details.

As an article on the Wonders of the World points out, Fournarakis used light grey metal to construct the tower, which he shaped “a little too long.” He also placed the second floor of his tower too low, compared to the original, and changed the shape of the third floor.

But to startled tourists driving by, Fournarakis’ version looks like a convincing, shorter copy of the real thing.

Filiatra locals are proud of their tower, but some visitors have taken a different view.

One was totally unimpressed with the tower: “Helps me cut my highway speed before entering town,” he commented on the TripAdvisor web site.

Another said: “It could be clever if there was something else to do here, but that’s it, guys.”

In 2012, Greek media reported that the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, incensed by the Greek tower, had sent a letter of complaint to UNESCO requesting the immediate removal of the replica.

“It is an obscure caricature and represents an aesthetic attack on French civilization and global architectural heritage,” he was quoted as saying.