Photographer's Note

Zentralflughafen Berlin-Tempelhof (Berlin-Tempelhof City Airport) was designated an airport on the 8th of October, 1923, and in 1926 the newly formed airline company Deutsche Lufthansa AG made it their "home port". The first scheduled flight in April that year went to Dübendorf outside Zürich.

The plans for a terminal - intended to be the gateway to Europe and a symbol of Hitler's "world capital" Germania - were drawn in 1934 by architect Ernst Sagebiel and the building was finished in 1941. The 1.2 km (0.75 mile) long terminal hall/hangar - designed to resemble an eagle in flight - was for the first two years the world’s largest building.

It has been described by British architect Lord Norman Forster as "The Mother of all Airports" with its many modern facilities, well ahead of time. Such as a canopy-style roof over the aircraft parking area and a through railway track for cargo/goods at the lowest level, which during the war was used for aircraft production.

At the end of World War II orders to blow up the airport were disobeyed, leaving most of the building undamaged. And when Berlin was divided into four occupation zones, it became part of the American sector and was in 1947 turned into Tempelhof Air Base to be used by USAF.

When the Soviet Union in June 1948 proclaimed a blockade on West-Berlin - halting all traffic by land and by sea in or out of the three western zones - the only remaining access were three 25 mile-wide air corridors across the Soviet sector. So the Berlin Airlift (Berliner Luftbrücke) began and until May 1949 all necessities of life were supplied by air; mostly by C-47s and C-54s landing and taking-off in 90 seconds intervals.

During the Cold War the radar dome seen to the right in my image was the easternmost source of information to NATO. That is if you don't count the frequent operational flights up and down the Baltic Sea, known to air traffic control as "The Tram" ("Spårvagnen").

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification opened Tempelhof for non-allied air traffic in 1990. In the following years air traffic control was transferred from US military to German civilian and the former GDR air traffic control center at Berlin-Schönefeld ("Friedland Control") was moved to Tempelhof ("Berlin Control").

Finally the airport was closed on 30th of October 2008, as a first step to center all air traffic for Berlin to the new and larger Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport being built close to Schönefeld. Only a solitary USAF C-54 "Rosinenbomber" ("Raisin Bomber") serves as a reminder of the Berlin Airlift. But the building is listed as a cultural monument and will hopefully be restored to its former glory.

And there are no flooded levels, which haven't been opened up since the war!

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Additional Photos by Kaj Nordstrom (kajenn) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 539 W: 240 N: 845] (2442)
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