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TALLINN TV TOWER

Location: N59° 28` 15.9", E24° 53` 14.9" | Website: teletorn.ee/

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The Tallinn TV Tower is a free-standing structure in Pirita suburb which provides telecommunication services. It is the tallest building in Estonia, 314 metres. The tower consists of 190 -metre tall reinforced concrete rings and 124-metre metal mast. In between 150- 182 metre above ground there is an observation deck having a diameter of 38 metres. There are the viewing platform, restaurant and the transmission rooms for commercial radio stations. Under the tower there is a two-storey building for different equipment devices and machinery, the entrance hall and the conference centre. The diameter of the tower at its base is 15.2 metres and from 140 metres upwards it is 8.2 metres. The Tower was officially opened in 1980 to provide TV services for the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics regatta event held in Tallinn. The TV tower was renovated for 6 years and opened to visitors in 2012. Now it has the highest observation platform in North Europe, 175 metres. The data of the tower are impressive: the building weighs 20 thousand tonnes in total; The basis is 8.5 metres thick; from the basement to the metal part there are 1,050 steps of the staircase. The elevator lifts to the top of the tower with 49 seconds. In perfect conditions the radio signal can be transmitted as far as 90 km. In a clear night the city lights of Helsinki are seen from the tower.

After renovation the tower has become an 'experience centre' having a futuristic exhibition space featuring Estonia's top achievements. There is also the highest panoramic restaurant in Northern Europe. You can enjoy the view to the ground just through the glass floor of the observation platform, try exciting edge walk, go to 3D cinema and mini TV studio. The TV Tower is one of the few buildings in the world to officially host skydiving and BASE jump. In 2013, Estonia’s first space satellite ESTCube-1 was presented at the TV Tower. This was the first and last time to see the cube before it was sent to orbit from the European spaceport in French Guyana. Estonia is now and ever more a space nation. The Tallinn TV Tower was in the middle of the events in the process of declaring freedom from the Soviet Union.

During the August putsch in August 1991 the airborne troops from Pskov were sent to put down the aspirations of independence and take control over the strategically important objects such as TV tower in order to interrupt the ways of communication. The troops reached the tower in the morning of August 20. Just before midnight, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia reached a decision to declare Estonia no longer a part of the USSR and once more an independent nation. Early in the morning of 21 August, Soviet assault troops attempted to seize the TV Tower. They broke the gates and entered. A handful of armed Estonian defenders barricaded themselves into the rooms at the top. The head of the tower managed with the cunning trick to switch on Vikerraadio transmitter. People from all over Estonia came out to defend the tower. The situation ended peacefully when it became clear that the coup attempt in Moscow failed.