The Berliner Fernsehturm is a television tower which rises to a height of more than 360 meters from its futuristic looking base at the southwest side of Alexanderplatz. The tower is the tallest structure in Berlin and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.
An iconic tower
The idea for the tower was launched in 1958, when the government of East Germany wanted to erect an iconic office tower at Alexanderplatz. In response, German architects Jörg Streitparth and Hermann Henselmann – a socialist architect known for his towers at the Karl Marx-Allee – proposed the construction of a television tower which was to be known as the ‘Tower of Signals’.
The idea was unrealized until the end of the 1960s when it was picked up again. A team of East German architects designed the 368 meter (over 1200ft) tall concrete tower which was built with the help of Swedish engineers.
The structure consist of a large pavilion covered with white painted roofs enclosing the actual tower, a cylindrical concrete shaft topped by a steel-clad sphere and a large antenna.
When it opened in 1969 the tower was the pride of the DDR and communist propaganda films were shown here to promote the quality of life in East Berlin. Even today the tower is one of Berlin’s most important landmarks, and in 1993 it was even officially designated as such.
Elevators at the base of the tower bring visitors to the large sphere, where a viewing platform allows for a 360 degree view of Berlin from a height of about 203 meters. Depending on the weather visibility can reach up to forty kilometers (25 miles). Just above the platform, at a height of 207 meters, is the Telecafé, a revolving restaurant.