Armed with wooden logs and long nails, Jaan Alliksoo has long been a prominent figure in Estonia's DIY Eiffel Tower scene.
Having completed his first tower in 1978 at the tender age of 17, Alliksoo began his career in tower construction. Alliksoo's first tower was also created for use by Russian forces. In 1978 when he built his structure, it was used to watch over cows in the collective farms in the region.
Although his initial tower stood for only 10 years before being taken down due to dangerous conditions, Alliksoo had started a long process of honing his craft. After his first tower was disassembled, he built another in its place, higher than the last. This tower was eventually dismantled as well in 1997, and Alliksoo began formulating plans for his next tower, which would be his crowning achievement.
By studying plans on the internet, Alliksoo created his own plans to make a replica of the Eiffel Tower. His replica would still feature a folksy wooden construction, and would be a 1/10 scale model of its French predecessor. With Estonia free from Soviet influence since 1989, Alliksoo decided to create the tower for tourism, allowing visitors to see across the island of Hiiumaa and out over the Baltic.
When Alliksoo finished the tower in 2007, it stood at 31 meters, a near perfect, albeit rickety model of the Eiffel Tower. Since its creation, Alliksoo has faced a number of challenges from the Estonian government, requesting that he dismantle the dangerous tower.
Despite the negative government reaction, the tower has attracted 30,000 visitors per year and has developed a status as a traditional monument on the island.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.