Berlin’s iconic TV Tower celebrates the 50th birthday

4 min read

First non-stop in Oct 1969 to symbol a 20th anniversary of a German Democratic Republic, a Tower was dictated to denote a potency of socialism. Even after Reunification, visitors can’t stay divided from a tallest building in Germany, measuring 368 meters from belligerent to spire.

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Real turtle soup was on a menu for 3.30 Ostmarks (the East German currency) during a opening of a TV Tower fifty years ago. Whether it was French coffee in a potion for 4.90 or Soviet Vodka, a new East Berlin telecafé, set 270 meters high, charity something special to a business with a hold of a wider world.

Inside a rotating café of a TV tower. Photo: DPA

The café, inside a tower’s evil sphere, would spin around completing one revolution in around an hour, charity East Germans, as good as tourists, a breathtaking perspective of a capital. This is still a box today, customarily now visitors are authorised to knowledge some-more than only one turn. And a “tele-café” is now called a Sphere Restaurant.

An button for a whole of Germany

Without a doubt, a GDR’s flagship plan has turn a inhabitant button for a whole of Germany. Around 60 million people have visited a building given a opening day, or around 1.6 million each year. 

“It’s an honour to work in such a ancestral place,” says Visitor Service Director Stephan Vogel. “Once on a time, we were means to demeanour over a Berlin Wall to West Berlin”, pronounced 31-year-old Vogel, who was too immature to knowledge this himself.

Vogel believes a East and West order is no longer significant, yet he explained that he has been asked either certain windows used to be ambiguous as a outcome of their perspective of a West. 

The “Telespargel”, as a East Germans called it, was non-stop after roughly 4 years of construction nearby Alexanderplatz on Oct 3rd, only 4 days before a GDR’s 20th anniversary.

According to press orator Dietmar Jeserich, “the TV Tower was designed to showcase a GDR’s potential”. Coincidentally, a TV Tower shares a birthday with a day of German reunification.

Initially, a TV Tower (which was a delivery building for East German TV) was going to be built on a hinterland of a city in Müggelbergen, until GDR authorities dynamic that it would impact a airspace of Berlin Schönefeld airport.

It is believed a new plcae was privately motionless by East German personality Walter Ulbricht, as it fit good with a revolutionary redesign of a beside Alexanderplatz. A few days before a TV Tower opened, a fantastic World Clock was denounced to a open on Sep 30th, 1969. 

Photo: DPA

Steel for a TV Tower was purchased from Sweden, with Swedish technicians entrance to East Berlin to assist in a construction. The building was designed to be suggestive of Soviet Sputnik satellites, with a building being hoisted adult by crane. 

Overall, 8,000 cubic meters of petrify were used. At a cost of 132 million Ostmarks, a building was 4 times over-budget. At a time, a GDR celebration journal New Germany wrote that over 300 firms had worked on this “technological miracle”.

‘Pope’s revenge’

One thing that worried GDR Leaders was when a object shines on a TV Tower’s tiled immaculate steel dome, a thoughtfulness customarily appears in a form of a cross. Engineers used serve materials in an try to censor a cross; however it remained. Berliners nicknamed a radiant cranky a “Pope’s revenge”.

Today, a TV Tower belongs to a German Funkturm GmbH, a auxiliary of Telekom. A apart catering association is obliged for hosting visitors during a tower. The relic is now immortalized on T-shirts, cups and glasses, as good as on baking dishes and baby rattles. 

“The building is a listed building. Every restoration contingency be voted on,” says Jeserich. “Some of a strange potion elements are still there.”

Photo: DPA

Two rises travelling during 6 meters per second move business to a restaurant. Sybille Janke, grill manager, started there as an neophyte in 1996. It was one of a few privately East German jobs still famous after a tumble of a Berlin Wall.

“Today all is built up, though people sill wish to see a story of Berlin,” she said.

Janke is reliant on technology. Due to singular space, food has to be prepared downstairs afterwards brought to a grill by elevator. The grill offers a culinary tour by time, their famous solyanka (a sharp Russian soup that was rarely renouned in a GDR) is a must-try!

The grill contains 40 bolted-on tables, where guest can suffer a rotating views. Janke, a local Berliner, appreciates her “special job”. In a evenings, when she is a final chairman there, she says “it’s still then, so we like holding in a view”.

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