n 1964, Walter Ulbricht, leader of the Socialist Unity Party which governed East Germany, decided to allow the construction of a television tower on Alexanderplatz. The Berliner Fernsehturm was modelled on the Fernsehturm Stuttgart. The architecture traces back to an idea from Hermann Henselmann and Jörg Streitparth. Walter Herzong and Herbert Aust later also took part in the planning. Construction began on August 4, 1965. After 4 years of construction, the Fernsehturm began test broadcasts on October 3, 1969, and was officially inaugurated four days later on the GDR's National Day. It is among the best known sights in Berlin, and has around a million visitors every year. It has been likened to a stalk of asparagus (West Berlin journalists sometimes referred to it as the Telespargel, "tele-asparagus") and the Death Star from Star Wars.
Although construction had begun on a television tower in southeast Berlin's Müggelberg, the project was halted, because a tower in that location would have been dangerous to planes entering and leaving nearby Schönefeld International Airport.