In the years of the Berlin Wall, the Radio Tower is a prominent landmark of West Berlin. And to this day it remains a vantage point with a panoramic view of the city.
The Parisians have the Eiffel Tower – and the Berliners have the Funkturm. You might not have heard of it, because it’s not quite as famous, but it’s still worth a visit. See for yourself what the Eiffel Tower’s little cousin has to offer.
Construction of the Funkturm
It took two whole years to build the broadcasting tower. Its steel framework construction is reminiscent of France’s most famous landmark, because the plans of the architect Heinrich Straumer were inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. In 1926, by now nicknamed “Langer Lulatsch” (the lanky lad), it was opened in time for the 3rd German Radio Exhibition. The world’s first television picture was broadcast here the same year. The next première was in 1929 with the first radio transmissions.
In 1930, one of the world’s most famous physicists stood at the foot of the steel structure and held the opening speech for the 7th German Radio Exhibition. It was the genius Albert Einstein, who did not want to miss out on a visit to the Funkturm. It’s hard now to imagine now how important radio was in those days.
Destruction and restoration
In the following years, fairs and exhibitions became more important. Even today, the Funkturm is surrounded by Berlin’s biggest exhibition grounds. In 1935, a fire in the exhibition halls destroyed parts of the tower. But not even wartime bombs could bring down the tower – even though it only stood on three legs for a while.
The 600-tonne giant was repaired and restored after the war. Every twelve years it gets a new coat of metal paint, making it another 9 kilograms heavier. In strong winds, the tip of the tower can move up to 40 centimetres. But don’t worry: it’s never broken off.
The view from the Funkturm
These days the Langer Lulatsch is used as a transmitter for the local police and mobile phone network. But it’s also a place where tourists come for a bird’s-eye view of the city. The Funkturm is 150 metres high, and you can go all the way up to the viewing platform at 126 metres, where you are rewarded by a fantastic view of the western city centre. Only 287 steps up from the ground is the restaurant platform, where you can take a break and build up strength for the remaining 360 steps to the viewing platform. If you’re already worn out from all your sightseeing in Berlin, you can always take the glass lift.
Dining with a difference
Fancy an oxtail soup or a fillet of plaice 55 metres above the ground? Just take a look at the lunch menu at the Funkturm restaurant. With a different themed gourmet buffet every month, there’s something for connoisseurs in the evening too. The Art Nouveau décor will make you feel like you’re dining in the Roaring Twenties.
|Radio Tower Restaurant and viewing platform will be open every Friday and Saturday until 17 December 2022.|