Ostankino TV Tower is 55 years old: facts and myths

Exactly 55 years ago, on November 7, 1967, the Ostankino TV Tower was solemnly opened, which immediately became one of the symbols of our country. It still remains the highest in Europe, and is considered a masterpiece of engineering.

Two deaths during construction

In 1945, for the first time in Europe, a television center with the Shukhov Tower was opened on Shabolovka Street in Moscow. recalled in a conversation with me one of the first announcers of central television Viktor Balashov, who reported live from the construction of the Ostankino tower. “It was a great event for everyone. People who knew the technique were recruited on a competitive basis, TV presenters were invited. I also passed such a competition and in 1947 began to conduct television broadcasts. Gradually, television expanded and grew stronger. New programs appeared and, naturally, over time, more powerful antennas were needed to transmit television signals throughout the country. Therefore, the government decided by the 50th anniversary of Soviet power, that is, by 1967, to build another television center, on the territory of which a television tower would be located. At first they wanted to start construction on Television Street (this is in the Novye Cheryomushki area), where I then lived, but due to unsuitable soil, the construction was moved to the outskirts of Moscow in the village of Ostankino. According to one version, the name of the area comes from the fact that there used to be a cemetery where suicides, unidentified persons and lonely people were buried.

Victor Balashov and Oleg Peranov, photo personal archive

There were rumors that the tower was proposed to be built in the center of Moscow, on the site of the demolished Cathedral of Christ the Saviors, where the construction of the Palace of Soviets was then frozen. But they thought that such a high tower would disfigure the center of the capital. In the meantime, a place was being chosen, the Ministry of Communications announced a competition for the creation of an all-Union radio and television station. Within the framework of the competition, about 40 projects of metal towers were submitted. The commission was attended by an outstanding Soviet engineer, architect and designer Nikolai Nikitin. It seemed to him that all the projects were in no way compatible with the architectural appearance of Moscow. And then he suggests: the tower should be made of reinforced concrete. It took Nikitin three days to create a detailed project, and he came up with the appearance of the tower … overnight. He dreamed of a flower – an inverted lily. This image he took as a basis. Nikita Khrushchev himself approved the appearance of the future tower.

A reinforced concrete plant was erected specifically for the construction nearby. For greater strength of the TV tower, Nikitin came up with the idea of ​​stretching 145 reinforcing steel ropes inside the trunk of the structure, each of which is stretched with a gain of 70 tons. Thanks to this, the tower can withstand weather anomalies and even withstand an earthquake of 8 on the Richter scale.

Victor Balashov and Oleg Peranov, photo personal archive

Contrary to rumors that there were a lot of victims during the construction of the tower, there were only two accidents. Moreover, ridiculous and offensive. One installer was killed by lightning when he was on the ground between the antennas that had not yet been raised. Another worker died – he was crushed on the TV tower itself.

When the antenna was installed, one part of it, weighing 25 tons, fell off and flew down. The people at the bottom managed to run away. Without hitting anyone, she hit one of the ten pillars of the tower and bounced to the side – as much as fifty meters. What is surprising: only a small stone piece flew off the support.

Photo: VKontakte Ostankino Towerarchitect Leonid Batalov

Few people know, but in the spring of 1961, when the construction of the tower had already begun, the Soviet government decided to close the construction site, and the chief designer Nikitin was threatened with a prison term for criminal negligence and embezzlement of public funds. It turned out that the customer of the TV tower, the Ministry of Communications, hurried with the start of work, when this project had not yet been approved in all instances. For example, the Ministry of Construction refused to sign Nikitin’s final calculations and drawings. Representatives of the department said that “the provided foundation four meters deep is unreliable, you need at least forty, otherwise the tower will fall.” But the engineer managed to prove the effectiveness of his calculations and justified the large financial costs.

It took eight years to restore the tower after the fire.

In 1969, a three-tier restaurant “Seventh Heaven” was opened on the tower, following the example of the German TV tower in Stuttgart. Initially, they wanted to open a small buffet. The idea of ​​restaurants was born later: “Gold” – for the very rich, “Silver” – for the wealthy, “Bronze” – for everyone. Then the prices were leveled everywhere. In the early days, entry with a modest meal cost five rubles, which was quite expensive for those times. Despite this, there were an incredible number of people who wanted to go upstairs. And in 1997, a glass floor was made on the observation deck that can withstand three tons of impact load. In different years, skydiving competitions were held from the TV tower, a kind of record was set – 30 skydivers jumped down at the same time.

Photo: VKontakte Ostankino Tower

On August 27, 2000, a fire broke out on the TV tower at an altitude of 460 meters – high-frequency cables flared up from overvoltage. The fire was extinguished for more than a day. As a result, three people died in a fallen elevator, and there were interruptions in the air of television and radio. It took eight years to fully restore the tower. By the way, after the fire, a lot of different jokes were born among the people. For example, “almost all Moscow firefighters came to the blue light in Ostankino.” Or, “if black smoke comes out of Ostankino, then Sobyanin will be chosen.”

There are rumors that due to television and radio signals coming from the tower, people living nearby are exposed to radiation. Like, it leads to various diseases. However, scientists have not officially found confirmation of this.

Photo: VKontakte Ostankino Tower

For reference

The height of the TV tower is 540.1 m. The depth of the foundation is 4.6 m. The weight of the tower together with the foundation is 55,000 tons. Television antenna – 148 m. Deflection of the tower (at the highest point) during a hurricane – 10 m. The observation deck is at a height of – 337 m. Halls of the rotating restaurant complex “Seventh Heaven” (a full rotation takes 40 minutes): coffee house (334 m) , cafe (331 m), restaurant (328 m). If you do not take the elevator (speed – 7 meters per second), then you can walk to the observation deck on foot – 2007 steps. Previously, hiking competitions were held here, the record is 10 minutes 40 seconds.

Entrance to the tower is open from 10.00 to 22.00, ticket price for an hour tour: adult – 1200 rubles. (weekdays), 1400 rubles. (weekends), children – 800 rubles. (weekdays), 900 rubles. (weekends). You must have the original identity document with you.

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