Okay, I’ll admit it. My abandoned places obsession is getting a little out of hand. I’ve already talked about Berlin’s desolate amusement park and the refurbished NSA spy station turned artist colony. Now it’s time to talk about Berlin’s Nazi-owned abandoned airport.
What a journey Tempelhof has had. Before the airport was even built, Orville Wright hovered over Berlin for a full minute in a home made flying machine in 1909, creating flight history in the sheep pasture that would eventually become Tempelhof Airport.
The airport began construction in 1923 but was quickly overtaken by Nazis who used the airport as a weapon production site using forced labour. The Nazis intended the site to be “the mother of all airports” as it was the central hub between Nazi occupied states and Hitler’s ‘World Capital’.Fast forward to 1949 and Tempelhof is no longer Nazi occupied but a symbol of freedom where celebrities both local and international would arrive in the country. In 2008, however, the airport was abandoned and has since been turned into one of Berlin’s more popular green spaces.
It’s not unusual to see kite flyers, picnickers, families, rollerbladers, joggers, yogis, cyclists, hipsters, dogs, wannabe chefs on the barbecue, teenage layabouts with beer crates, you know, the usual park-types. It’s a strange sight to see when you see skateboarders whiz passed on the runway where planes, zeppelins and home-made hover crafts used to take off and land.It is possible to get a guided tour of the inside of the airport, but for some reason I was more fascinated with the exterior. Despite being full of other visitors, there’s something so special about sitting in the middle of a plane runway in the middle of the afternoon in the summer. It’s certainly not something that happens every day for most of us. It probably is something I’d do every day if I were a Berliner as it’s one of the most hip places to hang out without straying too far from the city, but alas. For me, it was a once in a lifetime type of deal. Well, that is until I find my next abandoned place. Stay tuned!