Tempelhof Airport

Berlin, Germany

Tempelhof was designated as an airport by the Ministry of Transport on 8 October 1923. The old terminal was originally constructed in 1927. In anticipation of increasing air traffic, the Nazi government began a massive reconstruction in the mid-1930s. While it was occasionally cited as the world's oldest operating commercial airport, the title was disputed by several other airports, and is no longer an issue since its closure.

Tempelhof was one of Europe's three iconic pre-World War II airports, the others being London's now defunct Croydon Airport and the old Paris – Le Bourget Airport. It acquired a further iconic status as the centre of the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49. One of the airport's most distinctive features is its large, canopy-style roof, which was able to accommodate most contemporary airliners in the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, protecting passengers from the elements. Tempelhof Airport's main building was once among the top 20 largest buildings on earth; in contrast, it formerly had the world's smallest duty-free shop.

Tempelhof Airport closed all operations on 30 October 2008, despite the efforts of some protesters to prevent the closure. A non-binding referendum was held on 27 April 2008 against the impending closure but failed due to low voter turnout.

Tempelhof has been used since closing to host numerous fairs and events. The fields will be used as a park indefinitely.

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Address

09L/27R, Berlin, Germany
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Details

Founded: 1923
Category:
Historical period: Weimar Republic (Germany)

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Melanie Hyde (3 months ago)
What an amazing place. The building is amazing. We paid for the tour which was 2 hours long but was so good it felt like 30 mins. Can't recommend enough.
J Pro (3 months ago)
We took the airport walking tours. It costs around 15 euros and is worth every penny! The guide took us through the terminal building and onto the tarmac. The terminal building contains hidden spaces which you would not expect in present day airports. I didn’t want the tour to end. In my opinion this was the hidden gem of Berlin.
Laur Cristopher Papuc (3 months ago)
Amazing historical venue, impressive building. The park itself is a really beautiful place to come and relax, walk or run. Dog friendly, also! If you want to visit the Hangar, beware you can do so only in organized tours (German or English) which would be better to buy or research online in advance.
Emily Harden (4 months ago)
Joined the English tour to see the airport. The history of the building was very interesting, certainly a visit that I'd recommend to friends and family. Perhaps not ideal for older visitors as some parts of the building require you to climb many flights of stairs. However the view from the roof was well worth it. €16 for a two hour tour was a good price in my opinion, definitely one for those who enjoy history.
Harinath Reddy (5 months ago)
The guided tour of Airport building: For me, finding the entrance to Airport was hard. Tip: The one beside police-station is not actual entrance. The building is huge, has good architecture and history. The 2 hour guided tour, involves a lot of walking and too many stairs. If you are old, you can skip it.
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.