If you in Berlin. At first I recommend to visit a TVtower and to see the city from height. YOU will find that all sights are very closely to each other and then it is possible to plan already how and when to go sightseeing in Berlin.
The TV Tower is a spectacular construction, and with a height of 368 metres Germany’s tallest structure. However, although it is Berlin’s most visible landmark, it is surely not the most beautiful one. To me it is important as a symbol of the reunification, having been the most striking feature of East Berlin’s cityscape. And it is a great place for looking over Berlin, and/or have a drink or dinner in the silver ball which sits at an altitude of 203 metres above Alexanderplatz.
The fact that is was built at all was simply the GDR regime needing a transmitter with enough potential to reach the remotest regions of the East. Construction time was from 1964 to 1968, and in 1969 it went into service.
When the weather is fine you can see as far as 40 kilometres and more from the observation deck at 203 metres. One storey above this is the Telecafé which makes a 360 degree turn within 30 minutes. If you want to experience that, come and check the queues. One million visitors head up to the tower every year.
A little amusing story: The SED party wanted the East Berliners to call the TV Tower “Tele-Spargel” (Tele-Asparagus) but they ignored the wish. Instead they called it “St. Walter” (after the party leader Walter Ulbricht, you know, the one who kissed Breshnev on the mouth…) – but most commonly I heard “Imponierkeule” and “Protzstengel” which means show-off club or swank stem. I think “show-off club” describes the shape of the tower very well ;-)
Similar was the nickname of the Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic): “Palazzo Protzi” (show-off palace). But those were names I heard in the past. Today the TV Tower is just called Fernsehturm. After the reunification the people seem to be a lot more relaxed.
And another amusing story about the TV Tower: As you know the GDR regime was totally anti-religion and anti-church. But when the sun shines on the silver ball at the top, it is always reflected as a cross. The joke goes that this was "the Pope's final revenge".
Open Mar – Oct: 9am – midnight; Nov – Feb: 10am – midnight
Admission 12 Euro (as Oct. 2012), children under 16 years 7.50 Euro
Regarding the waiting times, you do not have to queue for 3 hours at peak times. Having bought your ticket, you can choose an SMS alert system which notifies you about 30 minutes before you can access the tower that your turn is coming soon. Inside the tower a digital display shows the ticket numbers of the people who are allowed up the stairs to the elevator (and some more queueing...)
Update October 2012: The fastest way up
On my recent Berlin visit I found out by coincidence how to get to the viewing platform of the TV Tower rather fast - well noted, on a day when the waiting time was 2.5 to 3 hours. Obviously we arrived at exactly the right time when the "Spreekaiser" (Emperor of the river Spree...) stood in front of the entrance and offered his tour. You pay 19 Euro (normal ticket price 12 Euro), jump the queues in the VIP lane, and are on top of Berlin in no time. On top of this you get to hear incredibly informative comments on anything you see and the history of the city. It really was fantastic.
The tour times were still patchy but we were told they are going to offer daily tours and are also planning to offer English language tours. So keep an eye on their website and inquire. At the moment they have daily tours during holiday periods and during the rest of the year only on Saturdays and Sundays, starting at 12noon and 3pm.
"Der Spreekaiser" also offers Reichstag and Berlin Wall tours.
When we visited Alexanderplatz we obtained a good view of the TV Tower located nearby. At that time (2010) it was the highest structure in Berlin at 368 metres. Built in 1969 by the German Democratic Republic
Visitors can gain admission to the viewing platform (200 metres) for the best view in Berlin.
We did not visit the viewing platform.
The Fernsehturm (TV Tower) is located near Alexanderplatz and when someone tells you that "you can't miss it", they speak the truth. This is the tallest structure in Germany and stands 368 meters in height, so naturally it can be seen for miles around.
The tower was built in the years of the German Democratic Republic and is sometimes referred to as "The Pope's Revenge" because when the sun shines on the sphere, the reflection is that of a crucifix and try as they might to correct this phenomenon, nothing has ever worked and so it is still the same today.
This from Wiklipedia, refers to the "Tear down the wall" speech made by US President Ronald Reagan in 1987:
"Years ago, before the East Germans began rebuilding their churches, they erected a secular structure: the television tower at Alexanderplatz. Virtually ever since, the authorities have been working to correct what they view as the tower's one major flaw: treating the glass sphere at the top with paints and chemicals of every kind. Yet even today when the sun strikes that sphere, that sphere that towers over all Berlin, the light makes the sign of the cross. There in Berlin, like the city itself, symbols of love, symbols of worship, cannot be suppressed."
There is a viewing platform about half way up, which is open to the public and attracts many hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Above the viewing platform is a revolving restaurant which fully rotates every thirty minutes.
The TV Tower offers a great view of Berlin but be aware that it gets extremely busy and is best to go early morning or late evening. We got there for around 10am and it took us about an hour to actually go into the elevator to the top of the tower.
I would recommend that if you want to go to the top of the tower you either go very early in the morning or late in the evening because it gets very busy. While you are waiting there are some pictures of all the different TV towers across the world and some interesting information that you can read while you are waiting for your turn in the elevator.
"The Fernsehturm is an impressive and iconic sight, soaring above the skyline of Berlin like a giant glistening golf ball skewered on a concrete spike, topped with a red and white flash. This product of the old DDR towered over their western counterparts, with the only blemish on its prideful socialist status being the golden cross it cast over the city when the sun reflected on it, a slightly embarrassing marker for an officially atheist state. It also offered sensational vistas from its viewing platform, 200 meters up the 365 meter structure." - from my travelogue
In German the words "fern" and "seh" literally mean far and see, but joined together they become "fernsehen", or television. This rather literal naming of the technology, gives Berlin's iconic TV Tower a doubly accurate meaning. It is both a television tower, and a far seeing tower. It is possible to see as far as 40 km on a clear day. It costs a slightly expensive 7 euros to be rocketed up to these dizzying heights, squeezed into lifts that travel at 6 meters per second. Depending on the day, you might have a long wait, though, as the queues can get very long. Nearly as bad as the Eiffel Tower.
From the top the views were excellent, and made all the better by the huge clear windows, which angled down onto the city to give the greatest field of view possible. The top of the tower also includes an extortionately expensive cafe bar, and above the observation deck there is a rotating restaurant, with similarly sky high prices.
The tower is open 9.00 am - 1.00 am, from March until October, and then 10.00 am - midnight the rest of the year. Tickets are half-price for those under 16.
Taking a 40 second vertical trip in the lift of the television tower at Alexanderplatz to the viewing platform gives spectacular panoramic views over Berlin from a height of 203m. It takes only 40 seconds for the lift to reach this level, another 21 steps up brings you to the rotating restaurant. Opened in 1969 and overhauled in 1995 for visitor safety, this DDR-era landmark has a total height of 368m. Initially I baulked slightly at the 11 euro admission price but the views are truly breathtaking and it's a Berlin experience not to be missed.
Beautiful view, makes worth to pay about 10 or 11 Euros
There´s a cool bar inside where you can drink some beverages and have funny moments seeing one of the most beautiful and organized city of Europe
Good place to choose your next sightseeing cause there you can see everything
A few meters away from Alexanderplatz is located the Fernsehturm(TV Tower) (pic 1) a tall tower that can be seen from many parts of the city. It used to be 365m high but the new antenna put it up to 368m now.
It was built in 1969 by GDR(it took 4 years), and definitely was a symbol of the city.
You can go up to the visitor platform (at 200m) (the view is nice but we were very tired and the mist didn’t allow us to take any good picture). I think the ticket is expensive at 10.50euro. Sometimes you have to wait in line but there is a small photograph exhibition in the lobby where you can see how it was constructed etc
You can also have lunch at the rotating restaurant above the view platform but you have to book in advance.
What I like most about it is to see its top hiding in the morning mist (pic 2)
The tower is open to the public daily 9.00am-midnight (from 10.00 in winter)
Close to Alexanderplatz and part of the World Federation of Great Towers (WFGT), the tower was constructed between 1965 and 1969 by the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) administration who intended it as a symbol of Berlin, which it remains today, as it is easily visible throughout the central and some suburban districts of Berlin. The original total height of the tower was 365 metres (1198 feet), but it rose to 368 m (1207 ft) after the installation of a new antenna in the 1990s. The Fernsehturm is the fourth tallest freestanding structure in Europe, after Moscow's Ostankino Tower, the Kiev TV Tower and the Riga Radio and TV Tower. There is a visitor platform and a rotating restaurant in the middle of the sphere.
Cerca de Alexanderplatz y formando parte de la Federación Mundial de Grandes Torres (WFGT), la torre fue construida entre 1965 y 1969 por la antigua República Democrática Alemana (RDA) de la administración que se proponía como un símbolo de Berlín, que sigue siendo hoy en día, ya que es fácilmente visible en todo el centro y algunos barrios de la periferia de Berlín. La altura total original de la torre de 365 metros, pero se elevó a 368 m después de la instalación de una nueva antena en la década de 1990. El Fernsehturm es la cuarta torre mas alta de Europa, después de Ostankino de Moscú Torre, la Torre de TV de Kiev y la Radio Riga y torre de la televisión. Hay una plataforma y un restaurante desde el cual se pueden disfrutar de las mejors vistas de Berlin
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