25 March 2018

The Leaning Tower of Yekaterinburg Leans No More: World’s Tallest Abandoned Structure is Demolished

Back in 2013 Kuriositas featured the Yekaterinburg TV Tower.  Construction started in the 1980s but faltered as the city felt the repercussions of the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Both loved and despised by locals, the 220-meter (720-foot) tower had stood unfinished since then.  Sealed to stop builderers (those who climb the outside of tall structures for fun) and BASE jumpers (those who jump off them for fun) it is our unhappy task to inform you that the tower was demolished on Saturday 24 March.  While the tower was not destined to be preserved for posterity, its demise was recorded from a number of angles.

Why, after so many years of inaction, has this finally happened?

Yekaterinburg is one of the host cities of the forthcoming soccer World Cup – it is after all Russia’s fourth city in terms of population and has undergone something of an economic boom lately.  Some of the country’s tallest and newest skyscrapers are in the city.  With the imminent arrival of tourists from all over the world hoping to experience the glamour of the World Cup, officials judged the TV tower’s continued existence to be no longer in the interest of the city. When rich relatives come to visit, the house gets a tidy.

There were demonstrations, of course.  The TV tower has become beloved by a fair amount of the local populace and those that cared organised a demo just before the demo (if you see what I mean) in order to give the tower one last metaphorical embrace: the demonstration was called Hug the Tower.

Yet the hug the tower received from the explosives, wrapped close to its base to produce a controlled collapse, was the mightier of the two.  Within seconds of the detonation the remains of the tower lay bereft in the spring snow.

The demolition was not inexpensive.  It cost 200 million roubles, which translates roughly in to 3.5 million USD.   In its place the city plans to build a new ice rink, right next door to the circus, the domed building visible in the background of the first video.

So, it’s goodbye (or more appropriately da svidania) to the leaning tower of Yekaterinburg: although you were too unsightly, too strange, too shabby to be saved, we will remember you.