Our list of awesome towers features a large number of structures that features an observation deck, a revolving restaurant, or both.
A pioneering structure that served as the inspiration for dozens of similar buildings can be found in a city in the southwestern part of Germany.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting facts about the Fernsehturm Stuttgart or Stuttgart TV Tower, a fascinating structure for several reasons.
1. The tower is located on a hill just south of Stuttgart’s city center
Stuttgart is a city in Germany that is situated approximately between two other major cities, Frankfurt and Munich.
It’s the capital and largest city in the German state of Baden-Württemberg which covers the entire southwestern part of the country.
The city is located on the Neckar River and in a mountainous area not too far north of the Alps Mountain range. This means that the city is situated on hills and valleys.
It was constructed on top of a hill called the Hoher Bopser which reaches an elevation of 485.2 meters (1,592 feet) above sea level. This means that it majestically overlooks the city.
2. It was the first tower of its kind that was ever constructed
The Fernsehturm Stuttgart is the German title of a structure called the Stuttgart TV Tower. This means that it was conceived as a telecommunication tower.
It was commissioned in the early 1950s to support the growing demand for broadcasting stations in the area. It took just two years to build it between January 15, 1954, and February 5, 1956.
It was designed by a structural engineer named Fritz Leonhardt (1909-1999), a man who became famous for his designs of cable-stayed bridges in Germany and abroad.
One of the most fascinating facts about the Fernsehturm in Stuttgart is that it was the first reinforced concrete tower of its kind in the world.
3. Building this monumental tower was a controversial project
Using reinforced concrete to build a television tower was a controversial decision. That’s mainly because of the cost involved to erect such a monumental structure.
A simple antenna with a similar height would have cost just 200,000 DM to build, but the tower ended up costing 4.2 million DM. That’s the equivalent of over 10 million euros today.
Regardless of the initial opposition, the tower proved to be an instant success. It wasn’t just celebrated as an amazing landmark in Stuttgart but also became a popular tourist attraction.
Just about everybody in the region wanted to get a glimpse of the city from this huge tower. This resulted in the fact that the 4.2 million DM cost was recouped from entrance fees in just 5 years!
4. How tall is the Fernsehturm Stuttgart (Stuttgart TV Tower)?
Queen Elizabeth II visited Germany in May 1665 and took the opportunity to visit the tower in Stuttgart.
What’s remarkable about this visit is that the tower hadn’t reached its full height yet at the time.
It only reached its current height of 216.61 meters (710.7 feet) when the antenna on top was extended between October and December of the same year.
Other interesting stats about the Fersehturm Stuttgart are:
- The tower was constructed on a foundation with a diameter of 27 meters (89 feet).
- The foundation of the tower weighs 1,500 tonnes while the tower itself weighs 3,000 tonnes.
- The elevators travel to the top of the tower at a speed of 5 m/s (16 ft/s).
- The upper observation deck is situated at an altitude of 153.5 meters (504 feet) above the ground.
5. It served as the inspiration for an iconic tower in the United States
The 1962 World Fair took place in the city of Seattle in the U.S. state of Washington. The chairman of this event was a businessman named Edward E. Carlson.
Carlson traveled quite a bit and also visited the German city of Stuttgart. This is where he got the idea to erect a similar structure in Seattle.
Although the design of the Seattle Space Needle is quite different, especially the flying saucer on top, the Stuttgart TV Tower sparked the idea for its construction.
6. The tower inspired the design of a famous building in Berlin as well
The same applies to the Berlin TV Tower, an iconic landmark in Berlin that was constructed by the government of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) or “East Germany.”
The East German government wanted to make a statement so they constructed it between 1965 and 1969 at a height of 368.03 meters (1,207.45 feet).
They also altered the design of the visitor pod on top to ensure it resembled the Sputnik, the first Earth satellite that was launched by the Soviet government.
7. Digital television transmissions have moved to a nearby structure
Although the main purpose of the tower today is to serve as a tourist attraction, it’s still used by some local FM radio stations.
Most television networks have left the tower, however, including Germany’s main stations ARD and ZDF which left in 2006.
Digital television broadcasting in the region exclusively transmits through the Stuttgarter Fernmeldeturm, a tower that was completed in 1972 and that stands 192.4 meters (631.23 feet) tall.
This tower is located less than two kilometers to the northeast of the iconic Fersehtumr Stuttgart.
8. It features an observation deck that provides stunning views of Stuttgart
The tower wasn’t just the first of its kind that was constructed using reinforced concrete, it also proved to other developers that building an observation tower was a viable business model.
That’s the main reason why many towers have been constructed that were never used as telecommunication structures but solely operate as tourist attractions.
The tower in Stuttgart still serves this purpose today as it offers an observation deck and restaurant at a height of 153.5 meters (504 feet) above the ground below.
Because the tower was constructed on top of a hill, it provides views of both Stuttgart and event the Swabian Jura and the Black Forest to the west!