Europe's most valuable monuments

Europe's most valuable monuments

Paris's Eiffel Tower is worth more than its competitors combined, according to a new study

The Eiffel Tower: the most visited paid-for tourist attraction in the world.

If you thought people traveled to Paris for the romance and the café culture, you may need to think again.

A new study has found that the Eiffel Tower is Europe's most valuable monument, worth US$544 billion to the French economy, nearly a fifth of the country's gross domestic product.

That's substantially more than Rome’s Colosseum (US$114 billion) in second place, and more than the other six European monuments included in the study combined. They included the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona and the Tower of London.

The study, conducted by Italy’s Monza and Brianza Chamber of Commerce, found the monetary value of monuments according to their “image, branding and aesthetic qualities,” combining the results of 10 other studies and statistical analyses.

Parameters included a “tourist index,” which highlighted “the economic value of the location, the fame of the monument, the flux of visitors to the territory and monument.”

Also included was an “economic attractiveness index,” which comprised factors like the number of jobs a monument creates and its export value.

The material and property value of any structure was not included.

The Eiffel Tower, a 324-meter iron tower built in 1889, originally as the entrance arch to the World's Fair, has been the iconic symbol of France's capital since then.

Today it is the most visited paid-for attraction in the world -- 7.1 million people climbed up to one of its platforms during 2011, while an estimated total of 200 million tourists have visited since it was built.

As well as the European monuments, the survey also put a price of US$101 billion on the White House in Washington DC.

Most valuable monuments in Europe

1. Eiffel Tower, Paris: US$544 billion

2. The Colosseum, Rome: US$114 billion

3. The Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Barcelona: US$112 billion

4. The Duomo Cathedral, Milan: US$103 billion

5. The Tower of London: US$89 billion

6. The Prado Museum, Madrid: US$73 billion

7. Stonehenge, England: US$13 billion

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Raemin Zhang is CNNGo's China-based staff writer. 

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