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The Atomium is a monument in the Heysel Park in Brussels. It is a steel construction, consisting of 9 spheres representing a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.
The Atomium was built for the Expo '58, the World's Fair in Brussels in 1958. Designed by the architect AndrÚ Waterkeyn, it was originally meant to last only six months, but has survived much longer, becoming a popular tourist attraction and even something of a Belgian national icon rivalling Manneken Pis.
The monument has a total height of 103 meters, or 335 feet. The spheres, which have a diameter of 18 meters, are connected by escalators. The escalators installed inside the tubes of the Atomium are among the longest in Europe. The longest is 114.8 ft long. Three of the upper spheres have no vertical support, and so for safety reasons are not open to the public. In the top sphere one can enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Brussels through the windows, and in the other spheres there are exhibitions focusing on the 1950s.
Much-needed renovation work was started in March 2004. The Atomium will be closed for the public between October 2004 and January 2006.