Ostankino Tower

Ostankino Tower is a television and radio tower in Moscow owned by  Russian TV and Radio Broadcasting Network

Ostankino Tower
pinterest button

Standing 540.1 metres (1,772 ft) tall, Ostankino was designed by Nikolai Nikitin.

It is currently the tallest freestanding structure in Europe and eighth tallest in the world. The tower was the first free-standing structure to exceed 500 m (1,600 ft) in height.

Ostankino was built to mark the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. It is named after the Ostankino district of Moscow in which it is located.

Ostankino Tower
pinterest button Ostankino Tower Ketrin.sv, CC BY-SA 3.0

Construction began in 1963 and was completed in 1967. Extensive use of prestressed concrete resulted in a simple and sturdy structure.

It surpassed the Empire State Building and was a masterpiece of Soviet engineering in the time period it was built, 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).

The Ostankino Tower remained the second-tallest structure in the world for another 31 years until the Burj Khalifa surpassed both it and the CN Tower in height in 2007.

The Ostankino Tower has remained the tallest structure in Europe for 46 years.

The tower as compared to high-rise apartments
pinterest button The tower as compared to high-rise apartments Victorgrigas, CC BY-SA 3.0

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

Incidents and accidents

The tower caught fire on 27 August 2000, killing four people. Three firefighters died in the attempt to extinguish the fire, and one female lift operator died when her cabin crashed to the ground level due to the fire. In addition, television and radio signals were disrupted around Moscow. The fire broke out at a height of about 458 m (1,502.6 ft), or approximately 98 metres (322 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 halt the fire. Temporary firewalls of asbestos placed 70 metres (230 ft) up stopped further spread. The fire knocked out virtually all television broadcasts in Moscow and the surrounding regions. The only television station unaffected was the private NTV station, but the government decreed that state channels took priority, and as such, the RTR TV channel began transmitting to several Moscow districts.

The tower on fire on 27 August 2000
pinterest button The tower on fire on 27 August 2000 elya, GNU 1.2

The fire caused the tower's upper spire to tilt slightly, triggering fears the tower might collapse. Subsequent inspection determined that although the structure sustained heavy damage, the tower was not in danger of collapse. Immediately, efforts began to rebuild the Ostankino, which proved 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 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 rescued by Russian emergency services.

On 25 March 2005 the first elevator made by the German company ThyssenKrupp was tested and put into service after the fire in August 2000. The Seventh Heaven restaurant has remained closed since the accident, but the observation platform reopened in April 2009. The elevators travel at a speed of 6 m/s (1181 fpm).

On 25 May 2007, the Ostankino again caught fire, though it was less serious than 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.

Useful Information

Ostankino Tower (Russian: Останкинская телебашня, Ostankinskaya telebashnya


127427 Moscow, Ak. Korolyova St. 15

Fax +7 (495) 789-61-63

How to get

Metro station VDNH, trolley bus №13, 69, 73, 36 - 'Ulitsa Akademika Korolyova' stop


TV stations

Channel One1 40 kW
TV Center3 40 kW
Russia 26 1 kW
NTV8 40 kW
Russia 111 60 kW
Perets23 10 kW
Euronews25 10 kW
STS-Moscow27 5
Disney Channel (Russia)29 10 kW
Domashny31 20 kW
Russia K33 20 kW
TNT35 5 kW
Petersburg - Channel 544 5 kW
TV-346 10 kW
REN TV49 20 kW
Muz-TV51 20 kW
Zvezda57 5 kW
2×260 5 kW

TV stations (DVB-T)

First multiplex: (Channel One, Russia 1, Russia 2, Russia K, Russia 24, Bibigon, NTV, Channel 5)30 1 kW
ООО «Цифровое ТРВ» (encoded): (DVisionLive, DVisionNews, DVisionSpice, TV1000)32 1 kW
Sport 2 HD34 1 kW

FM stations

"Radio Russia", "Radio Podmoskovie" (5:00–1:00)66.44 MHz15.0 kW
"Radio Mayak"67.22 MHz15.0 kW
"Radio Yunost"68.84 MHz15.0 kW
"Russian Radio"71.30 MHz10.0 kW
"Orpheus"72.14 MHz15.0 kW
"Radio Retro"72.92 MHz15.0 kW
"Echo of Moscow"73.82 MHz10.0 kW
"Business FM"87.50 MHz5.0 kW
"Radio Retro"88.30 MHz1.0 kW
"Echo of Moscow"91.20 MHz5.0 kW
"Culture"91.60 MHz5.0 kW
"Kommersant FM"93.60 MHz5.0 kW
"My family"94.80 MHz5.0 kW
"Rock FM"95.20 MHz5.0 kW
"Vesti FM"97.60 MHz5.0 kW
"Kino FM"98.00 MHz10.0 kW
"Free radio"98.40 MHz5.0 kW
"Orpheus"99.20 MHz5.0 kW
"Finam FM"99.60 MHz5.0 kW
"Classic Radio"100.90 MHz5.0 kW
"Dance FM"101.2 MHz10.0 kW
"Monte Carlo"102.10 MHz5.0 kW
"Radio Maximum"103.7 MHz10.0 kW
"Russian Radio"105.70 MHz10.0 kW
"Europa Plus"106.2 MHz10.0 kW

MW stations

"Radio Rossii" (24 hours), "Radio Mayak", "Vesti FM"543 MHz
"Voice of Russia"575 MHz