Visit to the Brasilia Radio and Television Tower

It already seems to be a classic as well as the giant wheels of the London Eye type, in the city of London England. Communication towers are becoming more and more tourist attraction points.

Report: Martín Butera (Brazil correspondent)
Photographs by: Ligia Katze & Mark Melzi

Radio and TV Tower of Brasilia DF, Capital of Brazil. Photo: Joana Francia
Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Location and extra data
  3. FM station antennas
  4. The digital television tower
  5. Suspended visits
  6. Photos of Martín Butera in the Tower
  7. Different images of the capital from the viewpoint of the television tower
  8. Architectural sketches of the tower construction.
  9. Historical photos of the tower’s construction
  10. Acknowledgments

The Brasilia Television Tower, also called by Brazilians as “TV Tower”, was inaugurated in 1967 with antennas from radio and television stations, in Brasilia (capital of Brazil). It is one of the main monuments and one of the most striking when crossing the Juscelino Kubitschek bridge. It is located in the Monumental Axis of Brasilia and is part of the World Heritage Site.

With its 224 meters high, the Television Tower is considered the fourth tallest tower in Brazil, after the “Observatorio de Torre Alta da Amazônia” (located near Manaus, within the Amazon Rainforest and at 325 m), of the “ Interligação Tucuruí-Macapá- Manaus ”(connects almost the entire northern region of Brazil, crosses the Amazon River and reaches up to 295 m) and the“ Torre de Radio Gaucha ”(located in Guaíba, Rio Grande do Sul which has about 230 m ).

The project was carried out by the architect and urban planner Lucio Costa, also responsible for the pilot project for the new capital.

Lucio Costa said that he was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

On the first floor, the mezzanine presents itself as a large event space with a 360º view for contemplation. Inside, a panel of tiles by Athos Bulcão makes the visit a complete experience of Brasilia and its identity.

The tower lookout point, 75 meters above the ground, is a must-see for anyone visiting Brasilia and really wanting to understand the urban design of the city. The panoramic view of the south and north wings and the monuments arranged on the monumental axis, framed by Lake Paranoá, is an unforgettable experience.

The TV Tower is also made up of a 3,350 m² basement, where the different technical functions, racks for the different stations, machine rooms and electricity are distributed.

The Brasilia Television Tower is a project that combines leisure with functionality. In addition to functioning as a television and radio tower, the site offers tourists a traditional craft fair, open on weekends, as well as the National Museum of Gems at 25 meters high.

Location and extra data

Geographic coordinates: 15 ° 47’26 “S / 47 ° 53’34” W; Height: 224 meters
Project localization
Address: Torre de TV – SDN, Brasilia, Brasilia – Federal District, Brazil
City: Brasilia, Brazil
Year of construction: 1965-1967
Architect: Lucio Costa
Total height: 224 m
TV and RADIO equipment installations
Panoramic Viewpoint (150 people)
Gems Museum
Tower fair
Fountains Square

Location on the urban map of the city of Brasilia
FM station antennas

Brasilia registers a list of 34 radio stations and 13 official TV stations according to the ANATEL agency (Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações do Brasil), the radio stations are divided into:

1 shortwave station, 7 AM stations and 26 FM stations.

Of which we were able to know 9 transmitting antennas of these FM stations are located in the TV Tower of the city.

In the Brasilia Television Tower are the antennas of the following stations:

87,7 Mhz (ZYA506), Rádio e Televisão CV Ltda.
89,9 Mhz (ZYC483) Alfa FM,
90.5 (ZYS891) Banda Noticias FM,
91.7Mhz (ZYC487) Rádio Senado
93,7 Mhz (ZYC481) Rádio Antena 1
95,3 Mhz (ZYC480) CBN Brasilia
96.1 Mhz (ZYC479) Rádio Nacional FM
99,3 Mhz (ZYC475) Red Aleluia
105.5 Mhz (ZYC484) Clube FM

Paradoxically in the television tower, there are no antennas and transmitters for television channels, because they were analog.

With dates 11/18/2016, Brasilia becomes the first capital of the country of Brazil without analog television and 100% digital transmission.

Then all the analog television equipment was turned off and the television channels moved to transmit to the new digital television tower.

The digital television tower

The Brasilia Digital TV Tower, known as “Flor do Cerrado”, was designed to be a television transmission tower for the Digital TV system throughout the Federal District and some surrounding cities. The Digital TV Tower is the youngest tourist spot in Brasilia, the 170 meter tall project and it is Oscar Niemeyer’s last project built before his death in 2012.

It is the first digital TV collective transmission tower, where the same tower relays the signal of several stations, which made an agreement to build it, reducing the cost of labor.

Drone photo: Press release / Brasilia DF Tourist Office
Suspended visits

For a couple of years, it is no longer common to go up to the viewpoint of the TV Tower and the visit is no longer open to the public as usual, according to the government of the Federal District, the site is under maintenance in the communication antennas for an indeterminate period.

The same happens with the visit to the new digital television tower. We deduce that it is a security problem.

Tower closed. Photo: Mark Melzi
Photos of Martín Butera in the Tower

Without a doubt, this visit and images are a privilege that we can show exclusively for visitors members of the Radio Heritage Foundation.

Martín Butera in the huge TV and Radio Tower in Brasilia DF – Brazil. Photos: Ligia Katze

A different vision of the television and radio tower in Brasilia DF Brazil
Martín Butera, at the door of the elevator that takes him
all viewpoint 75 meters high
Different images of the capital from the viewpoint of the television tower
Martín Butera, at the top of the tower’s viewpoint. Photo: Ligia Katze
Different views of the city center from the tower. Photo: Ligia Katze
Different views of the city center from the tower. Photo: Ligia Katze
Different views of the city center from the tower. Photo: Ligia Katze
The large metal structure that supports various FM Radio antennas at present. Photo: Ligia Katze
Martín Butera, next to the large metal structure supporting various FM radio antennas. Photo: Ligia Katze
Architectural sketches of the tower construction

The following are the sketches from the Public Archive of the Federal District, By Eduardo Bicudo de Castro Azambuja.

In the sketches we can see how the building is characterized by an apparent concrete volume of twenty-five meters high and a triangular lateral plane of fifty meters, supported by three pillars that are born with a V-shaped trapezoidal section to create two support points.

The internal parts of the pillars serve as connection and support to the metal tower, composed of a pyramid with a variable hexagonal base and one hundred and ninety meters high, completing the total two hundred and seventeen meters of the project.

The main structure of the tower is made up of three perimeter trapezoidal pillars with dimensions of six meters at its largest base, two meters and forty-five centimeters at the lower base and nine meters high, and a central pillar of rectangular section with three meters and forty centimeters wide and ten and a half meters long, where the elevator and the stairs are.

From the ground floor, the perimeter pillars open in a V shape, dividing their sections into two trapezoidal elements. The two parts are interconnected by a forty-centimeter-thick arched slab with a radius of two meters sixty-five centimeters and a center located seven meters and 75 centimeters from the ground floor.

Vertical movement is carried out through a service staircase that reaches all levels of the tower and three elevators: the first service that goes from the basement to the first floor, the second that takes visitors from the ground floor to the gazebo and the third one that only goes from the ground floor to the first floor.

The subway, with a height of five meters, has the function of housing the technical facilities of the building and the support services, in addition to having an annex block for the operation of radio and television stations.

The ground floor has a ceiling plan with two elevators to access the gazebo and the first floor, and a service elevator for use by building staff. A service staircase also allows access to other floors. This pavement works as a pilot with a height of eleven meters and twenty-five centimeters.

On the first floor, the facilities for a restaurant were created, with bathrooms and industrial kitchen, as well as a social space, destined for an exhibition museum. The ceiling height has a constant height of four and a half meters. The entrance is through a large room for possible exhibitions. The entire facade of this apartment is made up of frames with glass panels.

Photographs: The architect initiating a dream. Public Archive of the Federal District, By Eduardo Bicudo de Castro Azambuja
Sketch 3, public material from the Public Archive of the Federal District (Azambuja)
Sketch 1, public material from the Public Archive of the Federal District (Azambuja)
Sketch 2, public material from the Public Archive of the Federal District (Azambuja)
Historical photos of the tower’s construction

Public Archive of the Federal District


A special thanks to the governor of the city of Brasilia DF, capital of Brazil, Mr. Ibaneis Rocha Barros Junior and to all the social communication team of the Federal District, for allowing me to climb the tower and do this work.

To my “Tesouro” Ligia Katze (Photos)

To my friend Mark Melzi, for the extra photographs of him and the editing of the images in this report.

Photo by Ligia Katze
Photo by Mark Melzi
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