For many years I wanted to visit Tempelhof, when the opportunity arouse I didn’t think twice.
Whilst the tour proved tricky in German and we were the token British attendees, it was a phenomenal experience to tour such an important building.
Our tour started outside, under the immense canopy roof.
One of the airport’s most distinctive features is its massive, canopy-style roof extending over the tarmac.
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
Having experienced the immense size of the canopy and the open vastness of Tempelhof park, we moved back inside to the departure lounge.
Now standing empty, this departure lounge saw the formation of Luft Hansa, part of the training ground for the formation of the Luftwaffe.
Moving beyond the departures and arrivals lounge we moved upstairs within Tempelhof to some of the former hosting rooms, showing how Tempelhof was in its heyday.
Moving up to the roof, the scale of the building really becomes apparent. One of the 20 largest buildings in the World. Tempelhof had a network of tunnels, railway tracks and workshops located on lower levels.
During World War II planes were produced below Tempelhof in the many connecting tunnels and moved up to the hangers via train tacks. These planes were then flown directly out of the hangers
Descending back down from the roof in to Tempelhof the scale of the building leaves you stunned.
A 1 mi (1.6 km)-long hangar roof was to have been laid in tiers to form a stadium for spectators at air and ground demonstrations.
Unfortunately the spectators stands were never finish.
The airport halls and the adjoining buildings, intended to become the gateway to Europe and a symbol of Hitler’s “world capital” Germania, are still known as one of the largest built entities worldwide.
Tempelhof Airport finally closed all operations on 30 October 2008 and has laid dormant since.
Sir Norman Foster called Tempelhof “one of the really great buildings of the modern age”