Close to Alexanderplatz in Berlin-Mitte, the tower was constructed between 1965-69 by the government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). It was intended to be both a symbol of Communist power and of Berlin. It remains the latter today, as it is easily visible throughout the central and some suburban districts of Berlin. With its height of 368 metres (including antenna) it is the tallest structure in Germany, and the second-tallest structure in the European Union. Of three tallest structures in Europe, it is 0.5m shorter than the Riga Radio and TV Tower, and 8m taller than the Trbovlje Power Station in 2017. The structure is also more than 220 meters higher than the old Berlin Radio Tower in the western part of the city, which was built in the 1920s.
In addition to its main function as the location of several radio and television broadcasting stations, the building – internally known as „Fernmeldeturm 32“ – serves as a viewing tower with observation deck including a bar at a height of 203 metres, as well as a rotating restaurant. Also, the Berlin TV Tower can be booked as a venue for events. The distinctive city landmark has undergone a radical, symbolic transformation: After German reunification, it changed from a politically charged, national symbol of the GDR into a citywide symbol of a reunited Berlin. Due to its universal and timeless design, it has increasingly been used as a trademark and is identified worldwide with Berlin and Germany. In 1979, the Berlin TV Tower received monument status by the GDR, a status which was perpetuated after the German reunification.
The tower has become one of the most prominent symbols of the country and is often in the establishing shot of films set in Berlin, alongside monuments such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Victory Column and the Reichstag building. It is also one of the ten most popular attractions in Germany with more than 1,000,000 visitors every year. Due to its location near Alexanderplatz, it is occasionally called Alex Tower.