Traveling along the west coast of the Peloponnesian peninsula, in Greece you might be startled to come upon an Eiffel Tower reaching up toward the heavens.
Built in the 1960s, the 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 as local residents claim. It was built with funding and backing from Greek-American doctor and local benefactor 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.
A popular TikToker recently visited Filiatra and was impressed by the local Eiffel Tower. @arielviera, with almost 700,000 followers shot a video and wrote: “Why go to Paris when you can go to Southern Greece? This is the Eiffel Tower of Filiatra in the Peloponnese.”
🧐 Why go to Paris when you can go to Southern Greece? This is the Eiffel Tower of Filiatra in the Peloponnese. Evan of @explorabilia tells us more about this much-loved landmark. #peloponnese #greektiktok
Opinions divided on the Eiffel Tower of Greece
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 the town,” he commented on the TripAdvisor website.
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.
But, even if you are not impressed by the Eiffel Tower of Filiatra, the town has other attractions that may be worth a visit. It boasts an impressive main square where you can see the famous clock that decorates the city and the Venetian fountain.
In the area, there are several medieval and especially Byzantine monuments that travelers could visit including the monastery of St. Christophoros and the historical Vlacherna monastery.
One of the most known traditions in the area is the festival of the watermelon. The tradition started in 2007 and continues every year from mid-May until mid-June. During this period people are served a lot of cool watermelon which is produced in this area.