Located near to the Brandenburg Gate lies the memorial dedicated to the murdered Jews of Europe. It was designed by the U.S architect Peter Eisenmann and it’s construction was completed in 2004, with the official inauguration of the memorial held on May 10th 2005, 60 years after the conclusion of World War II.
The memorial is spread out over 19,000 square metres and consists of 2,711 concrete slabs that are completely unmarked. The slabs are places at different heights creating a wave like pattern across the grounds. The memorial is within close proximity to where the ruins of Hitler’s Bunker are buried underneath a car park.
The memorial can be accessed from all four sides and visitors can walk around freely, taking in the atmosphere and snapping some photos along the way. I visited this memorial twice while in Berlin and the design is very intriguing. Not only are the slabs at different heights but the paths in between are also varying in inclines.
The concept of the memorial was for visitors to experience some of the restrictions that holocaust victims endured. The narrow paths are only wide enough for one person to walk down and some parts of the memorial are quite dark.
There is a visitor’s information centre underneath the memorial. This is a place where you can find out some more information about the memorial and also hear stories of those persecuted during World War II.
I highly recommend taking your time walking around this memorial to explore and take in the ideas behind it. There are usually many other visitors around so be mindful of other people who are also around.
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In 1936, Germany hosted the Olympic games while under Nazi rule. Hitler had designed and built a vast complex to be the central hub where he could show off the German power and propaganda to a worldwide audience.
Hitler had hoped that the German athletes would triumph and display the superiority of the Arian race. Jesse Owens, an African-American athlete from the United States of America won 4 gold medals and solidified his name in the history books.
Formerly known as Reichssportfeld, the Olympiastadion structures still remain intact today and members of the public are free to walk around the grounds after paying an admission fee at the entrance.
During my visit here, members of the public and some training athletes were using the outdoor swimming pool and diving area. There are two separate pools, one for swimming and the other is a designated diving pool with diving boards at different heights.
The next stop was the bell tower in the Olympic stadium that stands 77 metres high and overlooks the main stadium of the complex; the view from here is quite spectacular. You can see the stadium straight ahead and beyond the stadium is the city of Berlin. The stadium is not located in the centre of Berlin and this becomes apparent when standing at the top of the bell tower.
The bell itself is a replica due to the fact that the original was destroyed during World War 2 and it no longer sounds. Therefore a replica was introduced weighing 4.5 tonnes and sits at the top of the tower.
The final part of the complex that I visited was the main stadium. Since it was originally built, the stadium has undergone multiple changes and improvements. There is now a blue running track around the pitch area and glass panels are in place on the roof above the seating area.
On the day I visited here, there were no events on in the stadium and so it was empty apart from a few other visitors.
The Olympiastadion is a fascinating place to visit and the sense of nostalgia and history within its walls is gripping. In the above photo, the stand where the olympic flame was lit still stands in place.
The entrance fee is €7.00 and you are free to walk around for as long as you wish. Last admission to the park is 30 minutes before closing and the opening hours are as follows:
November - March from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
April - October from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m
August from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
How to get there:
The train journey will take roughly 30 minutes from Alexanderplatz, The metro (U-Bahn) U2 line will take you to the Olympiastadion station and from there it is less than a 5 minute walk to the entrance of the complex where you can pay the admission fee through the gift shop.
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