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Berlin TV Tower Facts | 9 Things You Didn’t Know About Fernsehturm Berlin

Berlin TV Tower | A symbol of reunification

Constructed between 1965 and 1969 in East Berlin, the Berlin TV Tower served not only as a television and radio broadcasting tower but also as a powerful emblem of socialist authority during the Cold War years. In the post-Cold War era, the Berlin TV Tower underwent modifications, including changes to its antenna, which increased its height. Today, it stands as a testament to Germany’s reunification and Berlin’s ability to integrate its complex history into its modern identity. With its observation deck, revolving restaurant, and panoramic views, the tower attracts more than a million visitors each year. 

9 Interesting facts about the Berlin TV Tower

Visibility and navigation at the Berlin TV Tower

Visibility, navigation, and even espionage

The Berlin TV Tower was strategically located to serve as a broadcasting facility with a wide range for Berlin and its surrounding areas. However, during the Cold War era, the GDR used the tower as a surveillance point to monitor both East and West Berlin. Its observation platform also provided a clear view of the entire city, aiding in navigation and military observation.

Controversial cross at the Berlin TV Tower

Controversial cross

The sun’s reflection on the metallic surface of the tower’s sphere resembles a Greek cross. After the tower’s construction, when this phenomenon was noticed, it was called the “Pope’s Revenge”. This was because the socialist German Democratic Republic government had ordered the removal of all crosses from churches in East Berlin.

Construction and Symbolism of the Berlin TV Tower

Scaling the Berlin TV Tower

The Berlin TV Tower has seen its fair share of daredevils attempting to scale its heights. In 2010, two German climbers successfully climbed the tower without any safety equipment, creating a stir and prompting security measures to prevent such incidents in the future.

Berlin TV Tower facts

Escape from the East

During the Cold War years, many East Germans who did not want to live in a communist country made daring attempts to escape East Berlin using the TV tower. Some tried to parachute down from the observation deck, while others attempted to use homemade aircraft.

Dining at the Berlin TV Tower

Top-level dining, ground-level prep

While the Sphere restaurant is located at the top of the tower, 207 metres above the ground, the kitchen is located at the bottom of the tower. This is done to comply with safety measures. The food is transported to the top of the tower to the restaurant using a special elevator.

Berlin TV Tower in popular Culture and film

Popular Culture and film

The Berlin TV Tower has featured prominently in various films and TV shows, becoming an iconic backdrop. Notable appearances include the movie The Bourne Supremacy, where the tower is featured in a thrilling chase scene. Its distinctive silhouette has become synonymous with the city in the global imagination.

Berlin TV Tower facts

Competing with the Eiffel Tower

Initially, the Berlin TV Tower’s planned height was intended to surpass the Eiffel Tower in Paris. However, its final height was adjusted to precisely one meter shorter than the Eiffel Tower (at 324 meters without antennas). Counting the height of the antennas, Fernsehturm Berlin is about 36 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower.

Basketball challenge at Berlin TV Tower

Basketball challenge

In 2004, the 50th anniversary of Fernsehturm Berlin’s original planning was celebrated with a promotional stunt. It involved the setting up of a temporary basketball court on the observation deck. Professional basketball players competed in a match, providing an unforgettable and unusual sporting experience.

Lighting the night sky at Berlin TV Tower

Lighting up the night sky

The TV Tower is illuminated at night with different colors and patterns, making it a stunning visual spectacle. Special lighting schemes are often used to mark special occasions, events, and holidays, contributing to the vibrant and dynamic atmosphere of Berlin.

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Frequently asked questions about the Berlin TV Tower

What is Berlin TV Tower known for?

The Berlin TV Tower is an important symbol of the reunification between East and West Germany after the Cold War hostilities ended. It has an observation deck, from where you can catch splendid views of the surrounding areas. You can also dine at its revolving Sphere Restaurant and watch its virtual reality tour.

When was the Berlin TV Tower built?

The Berlin TV Tower, or Fernsehturm Berlin, was constructed between 1965 and 1969. It was commissioned by the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

How high is the Berlin TV Tower?

The Berlin TV Tower stands 368 metres (1,207) feet tall. It is the tallest structure in Germany.

What is the architectural style of the Berlin TV Tower?

The Berlin TV Tower features a distinctive slender cylindrical shaft topped with a sphere and a transmitting antenna. Its architectural style is a blend of modern, futuristic, and socialist. Its design is inspired by Sputnik, the Earth’s first artificial satellite launched into orbit by Soviet Russia, and the space race between the USSR and the United States.

Can I climb the Berlin TV Tower?

There are strict security provisions in place that do not allow anyone to climb the Berlin TV Tower. This is to protect its structure and ensure the safety of its visitors. You can use the elevators to go up to its observation deck for splendid views from the tower.

What can I see inside the Berlin TV Tower?

The main highlight of the Berlin TV Tower is the observation deck, which provides panoramic views of Berlin. Additionally, there is a revolving restaurant that completes a full rotation every 30 minutes, offering diners a unique and ever-changing perspective of the city while enjoying a meal. The tower also houses exhibition spaces, providing historical information about its construction and significance.