The Bismarck Column, also known as the "Bismarck Tower", is one of the many monuments that were erected in the course of a widespread mystification of the German Chancellor around 1900.
An originally planned network of buildings of the same type in the form of a pillar of fire, which was supposed to extend across the entire German Reich at that time, was not fully implemented. Nevertheless, 47 Bismarck columns of this type were built, the construction of which varies. The Räcknitz Bismarck Column owes its existence to the Dresden student body, who suggested building it on the almost 200 meter high Franzenshöhe (Räcknitz). The architect was Wilhelm Kreis, who had submitted the design “Götterdämmerung”.
The column with a wrought-iron fire bowl was built from Postaer sandstone and is 23 meters high. On the city side, an imperial eagle relief made of sandstone with the serpent of discord was attached to the tower shaft.
The inauguration ceremony on June 23, 1906 (summer solstice) was attended not only by the students but also by many citizens of Dresden. The fire bowl was lit for the first time that day, but warped after the first use.
Due to the fact that the books were burned on May 10, 1933 in Dresden at the Bismarck Column, an attempt was made to demolish the building, which had been renamed 'Friedensturm' in 1946, during the GDR era. However, this initiative was stopped by the office of the city architect of Dresden for reasons of monument protection. After the political turnaround, the tower was renamed the Bismarck Column in the 1990s following a decision by the city council.
Due to the deteriorating condition, an association was founded in 2003 with the aim of making the tower accessible again. This was possible after many initiatives and due to the cooperation of the city, the association and numerous supporters and sponsors, especially the Stadtsparkasse. All in all, more than 170 companies and institutions and countless private individuals from all over Germany are involved in this joint effort.
The renovated tower has been accessible again since August 2008. Although it was not originally designed for this purpose, today a 158-step stairway inside leads to a viewing platform from which, when the weather is nice, a panoramic view of the entire Elbe valley, Saxon Switzerland and the heights of the Eastern Ore Mountains is possible