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40 Berlin extra

40 Berlin extra airberlin magazin 3 / 2015 Dining high above the capital Those who opt to eat out at Berlin’s Fernsehturm (television tower) or Funkturm (radio tower) are certainly taking their dining experience to a whole new level. The two restaurants provide a feast for the eyes – especially as far as the view from above is concerned. icknamed “der lange Lulatsch” (“the lanky lad”) by Berliners when it was opened to the public on 3 September 1926, the Funkturm was originally merely intended to act as an antenna for the Witzleben transmitter beneath it. Its height of 147 metres made the steel lattice mast the tallest tower birthdays and anniversaries and to have a good time. Capital Catering, a subsidiary of the Funkturm’s proprietor Berliner Messe, is a traditionally minded and stylish host. Since the kitchen is restricted in terms of space, diners are offered a themed buffet for €25.90 in the evenings. The theme changes every month, and the food is as abundant as it is delicious. At lunchtime, guests can eat à la carte – the mainly traditional fare is served at reasonable prices. It’s essential to reserve in advance. Berlin’s No. 1 urban monument, however, is the television tower on Alexanderplatz. Standing 368 metres high, the Fernsehturm is Germany’s tallest building and the fourth tallest free-standing building in Germany. Berlin’s new landmark quickly became a major tourist attraction: visitors could take the lift up to the observation deck 126 metres above the ground and revel in the clear view over the sea of buildings in the capital. The 55-metre high “floating restaurant” soon proved to be an extremely popular place too: its downwardslanted windows, providing diners with an unobstructed view over the city, were regarded as nothing less than an architectural sensation. On the other hand, the fact that the first TV images were transmitted from Berlin’s Funkturm on 8 March 1929 didn’t grab the attention of the public at large. A fire in 1935 and bombing raids in 1943 and 1944 caused considerable damage to the structure. Although the Funkturm no longer acts as a radio tower, it is still a major visitor attraction. The restaurant in Art Nouveau design seats 116 people: it has been restored to its former 1920s glory and is nowadays regularly frequented by West Berlin society in particular. People come here to celebrate Jugendstil kontra Moderne: Die Einrichtung des Funkturms auf dem Messegelände wurde liebevoll restauriert (links). Der Fernsehturm am Alex wurde von der Telekom aufwendig modernisiert (rechts). Art Nouveau versus modern design: the interior of the Funkturm on the trade fair site has been restored with great attention to detail (left), while the Fernsehturm on Alexanderplatz has been lavishly refurbished by Telekom (right). in Europe. The GDR government wanted to spell out the “superiority of the socialist over the capitalist system” when it was erected in the second half of the 1960s. Walter Ulbricht, head of the Socialist Unity Party (SED), is said to have chosen the location himself, which is why the tower was nicknamed “Sankt Walter” (“Saint Walter”), among other – less flattering – monikers. Whatever its name, the Fernsehturm on Alexanderplatz remains one of Berlin’s top tourist attractions. Although a trip in the lift up to the 203-metre high panorama level costs €13 a head, one million visitors a year take up the offer. Quite a few of them also opt to eat at the all-day revolving restaurant (reservation required), which boasts space for 200 diners 207 metres above the ground. In fine weather the view extends for 80 kilometres or so; but there are also other good reasons to dine here, one being the friendly and professional attitude of the staff. The quality of the (fairly pricey) fare is excellent too. • Photos: Getty Images/fhm, Messe Berlin/Funkturm Restaurant, TV Turm Alexanderplatz Gastronomiegesellschaft

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