During the Nazi regime this airport was one of the spots were the Nazis wanted to show their strength and superiority by building the world’s largest building. This turned into the Tempelhof terminal, the building was in the shape of a rainbow, who’s length was 1.2 kilometers, and who’s size was 258,000 square meters.
During World War II the airport was not bombed, with the allied forced thinking that after the war they would use the airport themselves.
In 2010, two years after being closed because it bothered the local community of Berlin, the airport was reopened as a public park. The airplane runways were turned into running tracks and bike lanes, and the area between them became big grassy lawn sections. Locals from Berlin even voted against the plan for mass buildings around the park, in order to maintain the suburban and calm atmosphere within the park.
This is how what started as a training marching field for Frederick II, the King of Prussia, to become a lively public park for the residents of Berlin, a place for festivals, gatherings, picnics and nature among the roaring city.
The airport officially became Tempelhof airport, one of the first airports in the world, back in 1923. It was already used back in 1897 by the airship pioneer David Schwarz as a base for the first airlift in history. 12 years later, one of the Wright brothers (Orville Wright), pioneers of aviation, set the world record for highest altitude flight.
At the height of the airship era, in 1930 landed an airship at Tempelhof, the Graf Zeppelin, after flying over the Atlantic Ocean. The residents from the Tempelhof neighborhood, templar descendants, went wild with excitement.
But the Nazi era made this small and modest place famous worldwide. The Nazi megalomania did not pass over the airport, and in 1941 the building of the world’s biggest building was completed.
What is amazing, is that during World War II this airport was not bombed by the allies, because they wanted to use the airport after their victory. The American army did end up using the airport, it was used quite often by their Air Force during the Cold War to overcome the Soviet imported siege on West Berlin in 1948, and get supplies into the city. Also, children in Berlin used to nickname these supply planes, who would bring candy and chocolates to them, ‘The Candy Bombers.’
From the ground, the mass size of the building is not easy to comprehend, but the long walk along its façade, and aerial shots, give a better understanding of its true size.