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2020.11.07 10:00

Inside Vilnius TV tower – from Soviet-era tech to spinning 90s cafe

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Eimantė Juršėnaitė, LRT.lt2020.11.07 10:00

The famous observation deck of Vilnius TV Tower is closed during the winter season, but the curious can use the opportunity to discover the building’s little-seen interior.

The 326.4-metre TV tower is the tallest structure in Lithuania and one of the symbols of its capital, Vilnius. At 165 metres above the ground, the tower houses an observation deck and a restaurant on a rotating platform.

The open-air observation deck has already closed for visitors due to unsuitable weather conditions and will reopen in spring. People can still enjoy city vistas while dining or having a cup of coffee at the tower’s indoor restaurant. Its revolving platform makes a complete round every 55 minutes and on clear days, offers views extending as far as 50 kilometres.

The rotating restaurant was designed by the renowned architect Kazimieras Balėnas. The intricate engineering construction took longer to build than the tower itself.

“The restaurant platform has been revolving for 38 years now. But it did not appear immediately. The tower opened in 1981, while the restaurant and the platform – a year later,” Vladas Ulinskas, the tower guide, says.

However, the turning restaurant might be counting its last days. The tower’s reconstruction project plans to dismantle the spinning floor. It is not yet clear when the works will begin.

During the cold season, the tower also offers inside tours. In around an hour, visitors can see the interior of the tower’s trunk, cup, and other structural elements.

“The semi-circular concrete cup is our TV tower’s signature feature, distinguishing it from other towers around the world,” Ulinskas explains.

The guide also shows the inside of the concrete structure on the 15th floor. Here, the visitor can look out the tower's round windows.

Interestingly, during the winter season, people can only access the TV tower via an underground gallery to avoid the risk of ice falling from the top.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, visitors must register for the TV Tower tour in advance.

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