Ostankino Tower

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Image:Ost.jpg
The Ostankino tower seen from the grounds at All-Russia Exhibition Centre.

Ostankino Tower is a free-standing television and radio tower in Moscow, Russia. Standing 540 metres (1772 feet) in height and located at 55°49′11″N, 37°36′42″E, Ostankino was designed by Nikolai Nikitin. It is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers. As of 2005, it remains the highest freestanding structure in Eurasia.

The tower's construction began in 1963 and was completed in 1967. It held the record for the tallest free-standing structure in the world for one decade, until the CN Tower was built in Toronto, Canada (1976). In 2003, media reports claimed a new antenna had been installed, increasing the tower's height to 577 metres (1893 feet). However, the new antenna is the same height as the old. Plans for a newer, higher antenna have been considered, but funding has not yet been secured.

Image:Ostankino fire august 2000.jpg
The tower on fire in August 2000.

The tower caught fire on 27 August 2000, killing three people. In addition, television and radio signals were disrupted for over 18 million people in and around Moscow. The fire broke out approximately 98 metres (320 feet) above the observation platform and the Seventh Heaven restaurant, necessitating 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. Due to the age of the electronic equipment — much of it was installed in the 1960s — and infrequent maintenance, the loss sustained was substantial. The only television station not affected 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.

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