1. It’s located just north of Moscow’s historical center
The Ostankino Tower, known in Russia as the “Ostankinskaya telebashnya” (Останкинская телебашня), is a television and radio tower located in the capital of the country, Moscow.
It’s operated by the Russian TV and Radio Broadcasting Network (RTRN) which operates over 14,400 television and over 3,600 radio transmitters all across the country.
The tower was named after the district it’s located in, the Ostankino District, which is situated about 5 kilometers (3 miles) directly to the north of the historical center of the city.
2. This is why the Ostankino Tower was built
The tower was built between 1963 and 1967 and was ready in the year that the Soviets commemorated the 50th anniversary of the “October Revolution,” a revolution in Russia which was led by the Bolshevik Party of Vladimir Lenin.
This event would eventually lead to the Russian Civil War between 1917 and 1923 which culminated in the seizing of power by the Bolsheviks and the establishment of the Soviet Union.
The Ostankino Tower was built especially in honor of this important moment in the history of the Soviet Union at the time.
3. It used to be the world’s tallest structure
The goal of the tower was clear from the beginning. The Soviet Government wanted to build the tallest structure in the world in order to commemorate the event that led to the establishment of the USSR and emphasize its power.
Therefore, the tower has a height of 540.1 meters (1,772.0 feet) to the top of its antenna and a roof height of 385.4 meters (1,264.4 feet). The top floor is located at a height of 360.4 meters (1,182.4 feet).
The tower has the equivalent of 120 floors and is over 100 meters (330 feet) taller than the tip of the Empire State Building in New York which it surpassed upon completion.
4. The tower still holds an amazing record
The tower held the record as the tallest structure in the world for a period of about 8 years. The CN Tower in Toronto surpassed its height by just 13 meters (43 feet) in the year 1975.
Since then it has been surpassed by 10 more structures which makes it the 11th tallest building in the world at the time of writing this article (December 2020).
One of the most amazing facts about the Ostankino Tower is that it has remained the tallest structure in Europe until now!
5. It was designed by a famous engineer of the Soviet Union
In order to build the tallest structure in the world, the Soviet Government engaged the most renowned engineer at the time named Nikolai Nikitin (1907-1973).
The Ostankino Tower isn’t the only structure of monumental scale that he built, he was also involved in the construction of:
- Moscow State University (1949-1953) – One of the most monumental university buildings in the world.
- Warsaw Palace of Culture and Science (1952-1955) – The tallest building in Poland until it will be surpassed by the Varso Tower.
- Luzhniki Stadium (1955-1956) – The national stadium of Russia.
- The Motherland Calls Statue (1967) – Monumental Statue and one of the 7 Wonders of Russia.
The Motherland Calls Statue is still the tallest statue in Europe with a height of 85 meters (279 feet). The main building of the Moscow State University has a total height of 240 meters (787 feet) which made it the tallest building in Europe upon completion.
6. It nearly became the tallest structure again in the early 1990s
The CN Tower in Canada remained the tallest structure in the world until 2007 with a height of 553 meters (1,815 feet). Then it was literally blown away by Burj Khalifa in Dubai which stands 829.8 meters (2,722 feet) tall.
One of the most remarkable facts about the Ostankino Tower isn’t just that it remained the second-tallest structure in the world for 40 years until the completion of Burj Khalifa, but also that there were plans to take over the record in the early 1990s.
There were plans to add an additional 40 channels to the transmission facility which would have increased the height of the tower to a whopping 561 meters (1,845 feet). Because of a lack of funding in 1994, this plan was shelved.
7. The tower can produce an amazing light show at night
Even though the tower was originally built as a symbol of the Soviet Union, it’s still considered to be a great symbol of Moscow and Russia today, similar to the Kremlin and Saint Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square.
This is especially true when the tower is illuminated at night, often accompanied by firework displays. This happens during special events and on special days in Russia.
8. The observation deck and restaurant offer stunning views of Moscow
Apart from being an important television and radio tower for the Greater Moscow Region, the Ostankino Tower is also a popular tourist attraction.
It has an observation platform that offers stunning views of Moscow and its surroundings. 3 of the top levels are occupied by a coffee bar, a cafe, and the “7th Heaven Restaurant,” a revolving restaurant that was the tallest revolving restaurant in the world between 1967 and 1975.
Is there a better spot in Moscow than to enjoy a relaxing dinner? Probably not!