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Ostankino Tower ( , Ostankinskaya telebashnya) is a free-standing television and radio tower in Moscowmarker, Russiamarker. Standing 540 metres (1772 ft) tall, Ostankino was designed by Nikolai Nikitin. It is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers. The tower was the first free-standing structure to exceed 500 m (1640 ft) in height. The tower was constructed to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the October Revolution. It is named after the Ostankino district of Moscow in which it is located.

Construction began in 1963 and was completed in 1967. It surpassed the Empire State Buildingmarker to become the tallest free-standing structure in the world. It held this record for nine years until the CN Towermarker was completed in Torontomarker, Canadamarker in 1976, which surpassed its height by 13 metres (43 ft). The Ostankino Tower remained the second-tallest freestanding structure in the world for another 31 years until the Burj Dubaimarker surpassed both it and the CN Tower in height in 2007. The height of the tower is also expected to be surpassed by One World Trade Centermarker in New York Citymarker.

The tower created a desire for other large cities in the Soviet dominated countries to build high towers. Towers taller than 300 metres were built in Kiev, Tashkent, Almaty, Riga, Berlin, Vilnius, Tallinn, Jerevan, St. Petersburg and Baku.

The Ostankino Tower has remained the tallest free-standing structure in Europe for 42 years. The Russia Towermarker, a proposed 612-metre (2,010 ft) mixed-use skyscraper planned for the Moscow International Business Centremarker, was originally expected to exceed the Ostankino Tower's height when completed. However, the project has been suspended due to financial difficulties and it remains unclear if construction will resume.

A 1994 plan to increase the tower's height to 561 meters by adding an antenna was not implemented for lack of funding.


The tower on fire in August 2000
Ostankino Tower at night
The tower caught fire on August 27 2000, killing three people. In addition, television and radio signals were disrupted around Moscow. The fire broke out at a height of about , or approximately 98 meters (321 ft) above the observation platform and the Seventh Heaven restaurant, after a short-circuit in wiring belonging to a paging company. The fire necessitated an evacuation of all visitors and staff from those locations. According to Russian news agencies, the evacuation was complete 90 minutes after the start of the fire. The loss was substantial, due to the age and poor maintenance of the electronic equipment, much of which was installed in the 1960s. In addition, the tower had become increasingly packed with equipment The failure of the fire suppression systems allowed the fire to destroy most of the tower's interior. Although more than 300 firefighters and other emergency workers were called in, firemen were forced to haul heavy equipment, including chemical fire extinguishers, by hand up the tower to try and halt the fire. Eventually, temporary firewalls of asbestos placed 70 meters (231 feet) up the tower stopped the fire from spreading further. The fire knocked out virtually all television broadcasts in Moscow and the surrounding regions. The only television station not affected was the private NTV station and the chennai relay station, but the government decreed that state channels took priority, and as such, the RTR TV channel began transmitting to several Moscow districts.

The fire caused the tower's upper spire to tilt slightly and triggered fears the tower might even collapse. However, subsequent inspections determined that although the tower's structure sustained heavy damage, the tower was not in danger of collapse. Immediately, efforts began to rebuild the tower, which would prove to be a long and expensive task.

The fire was the third disaster in Russia in a month, following an explosion in a Moscow underground passage that killed 12 people and the sinking of nuclear-powered submarine Kursk in the Barents Sea in which 118 died. Russian President Vladimir Putin, stated that "This latest accident shows the shape of our vital installations and the overall state of our country. We should not fail to see major problems in the country behind this accident, and we should not forget the economy. Whether or not such accidents happen again in the future will depend on how we work in this vital direction."

On 1 July 2004, Austrian BASE jumper Christina Grubelnik struck the tower during her descent, receiving a concussion and losing consciousness. Her parachute snagged on a lower-level service platform and she was eventually rescued by Russian emergency services.

On March 25, 2005 the first elevator was tested and put into service after the fire in August 2000. However, the famous Seventh Heaven restaurant has remained closed since the accident.

On 25 May 2007, the tower again caught fire, though it was not as serious as the 2000 fire and was isolated to a platform on the outside of the tower. All people inside the tower were evacuated and the fire was successfully extinguished, with no casualties.

In the Russian novel Night Watch , the Tower was the scene of a confrontation between Night Watch agent Anton Gorodetsky and a Day Watch agent. The Night Watch movie of the same name also featured this confrontation.
360° panorama from observation desk of the Ostankino Tv tower


Vertical panorama of Ostankino Television Tower

TV stations

Station Channel Frequency ERP Remarks
Channel One 1 40 kW
TV Centr 3 40 kW
TV Sport 6 1 kW
NTV 8 40 kW
Russia TV Channel 11 60 kW
DTV 23 10 kW
Euronews 25 10 kW
STS-Moscow 27 5

7TV 29 10 kW
Domashny 31 20 kW
TV Kultura 33 20 kW
TNT 35 5 kW
MTV Russia 38 10 kW
Petersburg - Channel 5 40 5 kW
TV3 Russia 46 10 kW
REN-TV 49 20 kW
Muz-TV 51 20 kW
Zvezda 57 5 kW
2 X 2 60 5 kW

FM stations

Station Frequency ERP
"Radio Russia", "Radio Podmoskovie", "Radiocompany Moscow" 66.44 MHz 15.0 kW
"Unost" 68.84 MHz 15.0 kW
"Mayak" 67.22 MHz 15.0 kW
"Europa Plus" 69.80 MHz 15.0 kW
"Russian Radio" 71.30 MHz 10.0 kW
"Orpheus" 72.14 MHz 15.0 kW
"Radio Retro" 72.92 MHz 15.0 kW
"Echo of Moscow" 73.82 MHz 10.0 kW
"Radio Retro" 88.30 MHz 1.0 kW
"Radio Jazz" 89.10 MHz 1.0 kW
"Classic Radio" 100.90 MHz 5.0 kW
"Dance FM" 101.2 MHz 10.0 kW
"Radio Maximum" 103.7 MHz 10.0 kW
"Russian Radio" 105.70 MHz 10.0 kW
"Europa Plus" 106.2 MHz 10.0 kW

See also


  1. Fire at television tower offers new evidence of Russia's decay, Associated Press (reprinted by the Independent), August 28, 2000.
  2. Russia Tower May Find a New Home by Jessica Bachman, The Moscow Times, Issue 4085, February 13, 2009.
  3. Russian TV knocked out as fire rages through 1,800ft tower by Barry Renfrew, The Independent, August 28, 2000
  4. Firefighters struggle against blaze in Moscow television tower by Nick Wadhams, The Independent, August 28, 2000.
  5. Bodies recovered from Moscow TV tower fire., August 28, 2000.
  6. Russia tower fire 'under control',, August 28, 2000.
  7. Four feared trapped in burning Moscow tower,, August 28, 2000.
  8. Fire in 1,800ft TV tower adds to Russians' feeling of doom by Helen Womackin, The Independent, August 29, 2000.
  9. August, the Cruelest Month by Yuri Zarakhovich, September 4, 2000.
  10. Article about the accident (in Dutch).
  11. AP Worldstream (July 1, 2004) Austrian parachutist injured, knocked unconscious in jump from Moscow TV tower.
  12. Fire out at Moscow landmark tower. BBC News

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