One of the most iconic sights of Berlin is the Fernsehrturm or TV tower.
The TV tower, to broadcast GDR television, was originally planned to be built in the hills outside Berlin. But in the 1960s, the GDR government arranged to have an even larger TV Tower built in Alexanderplatz to demonstrate the strength and efficiency of the socialist system.
It was completed and opened on 3 October 1969, just before the 20th anniversary of the founding of the GDR. This year it celebrates its 50th birthday.
At the top of the tower is a large bulb to remind the people of the Soviet Sputnik satellite. At 368m the Berliner Fernsehturm is the tallest building in Berlin and is visible from nearly everwhere.
As you walk from the Brandenburg Gate up Unter den Linden to the Museum Island and into Alexanderplatz the tower is there to guide the way. From there, as we wandered all over the old East Berlin sector, the tower provided us with a point of reference. It became our focal point, our reminder of the amazing city of Berlin.
We treated ourselves to visiting the tower. We had the luxury of waiting for a clear day and going early in the day, before the tourists arrived. Visitors are limited to 380 at a time, with an extra 20 places allowed for staff.
The view was amazing, a great way to see Berlin.