Ostankino Tower ( ,
Ostankinskaya telebashnya) is a free-standing television and radio tower
in Moscow, Russia.
Standing 540 metres (1772 ft) tall, Ostankino was designed by
. It is a member of
the World Federation of
. 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
Building to become the tallest
free-standing structure in the world. It held this record
for nine years until the CN
Tower was completed in Toronto, Canada in 1976,
which surpassed its height by 13 metres (43 ft).
Ostankino Tower remained the second-tallest freestanding structure
in the world for another 31 years until the Burj Dubai 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 Center in New York
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.
Tower, a proposed 612-metre (2,010 ft) mixed-use skyscraper planned for the Moscow International Business
Centre, 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
, 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
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
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
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
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
|"Radio Russia", "Radio Podmoskovie", "Radiocompany Moscow"
|"Echo of Moscow"
- Fire at television tower offers new evidence of
Russia's decay, Associated Press (reprinted by the
Independent), August 28, 2000.
- Russia Tower May Find a New Home by Jessica Bachman,
The Moscow Times, Issue 4085, February 13, 2009.
- Russian TV knocked out as fire rages through
1,800ft tower by Barry Renfrew, The Independent, August 28,
- Firefighters struggle against blaze in Moscow
television tower by Nick Wadhams, The Independent, August 28,
- Bodies recovered from Moscow TV tower fire.
CNN.com, August 28, 2000.
- Russia tower fire 'under control', CNN.com,
August 28, 2000.
- Four feared trapped in burning Moscow tower,
CNN.com, August 28, 2000.
- Fire in 1,800ft TV tower adds to Russians' feeling
of doom by Helen Womackin, The Independent, August 29,
- August, the Cruelest Month by Yuri Zarakhovich,
CNN.com. September 4, 2000.
- Article about the accident (in Dutch).
- AP Worldstream (July 1, 2004) Austrian parachutist injured, knocked unconscious in jump
from Moscow TV tower. www.highbeam.com
- Fire out at Moscow landmark tower. BBC