Why Visit the Berlin TV Tower

On any visit to Berlin you are almost guaranteed to be in the vicinity of the Berliner Fernsehturm in Alexanderplatz. Inside this GRD relic, you will be rocketed up via elevator to the observation deck in the sphere. Being the tallest structure in Germany, the TV tower offers spectacular 360 degree eagle-eyed views of Berlin. What is most interesting it the still present architectural separation between the former East and West segments of Berlin.

But be aware of the drawbacks - You can easily pinpoint landmarks, but there is no explanatory signage so consider visiting the Berliner Fernsehturm near the end of your trip. The TV Tower has a revolving restaurant, however many visitors feel it does not offer value for money and wait times for a table can be extremely long. The presence of the restaurant also means you can not carry food or drinks with you. Go early or very late to beat the queues or book a ticket in advance (extra cost).

This is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Berlin, its like going on the London Eye (i.e. super touristy!) The line ups looked huge and very busy, i would recommend buying VIP tickets if you plan going at a prime time. The revolving restaurants quite expensive for what it is. If you can do it on your last day it will mean much more as you will be able to the best out of it.

Jonny, 21 Nov 2012, England
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Berlin TV Tower history

Erection in the GDR

In the early 1950’s the East Berlin planned a new installation to transit GDR television in the Müggelberg mountains. Construction of neighbouring buildings began before it was pointed out the transmitter would block the approach path for the planned Schönefeld Airport. Around the same time period, the GDR has blown up the Berlin Palace and wished to create a new architectural symbol for the new society. These two needs were combined and plans for the Berlin TV Tower were conceived.

Located in the heart...

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Erection in the GDR

In the early 1950’s the East Berlin planned a new installation to transit GDR television in the Müggelberg mountains. Construction of neighbouring buildings began before it was pointed out the transmitter would block the approach path for the planned Schönefeld Airport. Around the same time period, the GDR has blown up the Berlin Palace and wished to create a new architectural symbol for the new society. These two needs were combined and plans for the Berlin TV Tower were conceived.

Located in the heart of Alexanderplatz, the Berlin TV Tower was constructed between 1965 and 1969 by the GDR government. It was intended to be a shining symbol of East Berlin, showing the GDR’s strength, efficiency and technological prowess. It is commonly believed the Alexanderplatz location was deliberately chosen so that the TV Tower would impose on views of West Berlin’s Reichstag.

The architectural style of the TV Tower in Berlin is heavily reminiscent of the 60’s. The fascination with technology and space travel are noticeable in the design. So much so, a highly successful spoof video was made of NASA ‘stealing’ the rocket like TV Tower.

The Pope’s Revenge

When the sun strikes the Berlin Television Tower’s sphere, the reflection often appears in the form of a giant cross. This unplanned religious phenomenon of the secular structure has earned the Berliner Fernsehturm the nickname “Pope’s Revenge”, punishment for the GDR removing the crucifixes from churches.

The 1996 Renovation

In 1996, the Berlin TV Tower underwent renovation. A new antenna was installed raising the height of the TV tower from its original 365 to 368 meters. This may have angered State Council Chairman Walter Ulbricht, who supposedly chose the number 365 so that school children could easily remember the height, as it matched the number of days in a year.

The restaurant rotation speed was also doubled, from one per hour to once every 30 mins. Additionally, the original elevators were replaced, travelling the 204 meters up to the observation platform in only 40 seconds, a not so impressive 2 seconds faster than their predecessors.

2006 World Cup

In honour of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the Berlin TV Tower sphere was transformed into a silver and magenta coloured football. Matching the corporate colour of the World Cup Sponsor and owner of the Fernsehturm in Berlin, Deutsche Telekom.

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Opening hours

Daily 10:00 - 24:00

Time to visit

1 hour

Transport

U2, U5, U8, S5, S7, S75, S9 to Alexanderplatz

Address

Panorama Straße 1a, 10178 Berlin, Germany