Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reichsparteitagsgelände

Interior Congress Hall
The Reich Party Congress Grounds form a site in the southeast of Nuremberg with a size of eleven square kilometres where the Nazi party rallies were held from 1933 until 1938.

Congress Hall

The Congress Hall (Kongresshalle) is the biggest preserved national socialist monumental building and is landmarked. 
It was planned by the Nuremberg architects Ludwig and Franz Ruff. It was planned as a congress centre for the NSDAP with a self-supporting roof and should have provided 50,000 seats. It was located on the shore of and in the pond Dutzendteich and marked the entrance of the rally grounds. The building reached a height of 39 m (129 ft) (a height of 70 m was planned) and a diameter of 250 m (843 ft). The building is mostly built out of clinker with a facade of granite panels. Especially the outer facade is (amongst others) oriented at the Colosseum in Rome. The foundation stone was laid in 1935, but the building remained unfinished and without a roof. The building with an outline of an "U" ends with two head-buildings (aerial photo). Since 2000, the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände (Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds), with the permanent exhibition Faszination und Gewalt (Fascination and Terror), has been located in the northern wing.   In the southern building, the Serenadenhof, the Nürnberger Symphoniker have their domicile.


Zeppelin Field
The Zeppelin Field (in German: Zeppelinfeld) is located east of the Great Road. 
It consists of a large grandstand (Zeppelinhaupttribüne) with a width of 360 meters (400 yards) and a smaller stand. It was one of Albert Speer's first works for the Nazi party and was based upon the Pergamon Altar. The grandstand is famous as the building that had the swastika blown from atop it in 1945, after Germany's fall in World War II.  Also featured prominently in Triumph of the Will.  
Quite the spectacles at one time, these buildings may soon fall further into ruin as there are extraordinary costs, social and economic, involved their preservation and upkeep.  

Visiting Nürnberg was an exhausting and intense experience.  My first impression was that the city had a distinctly dark and shadowy aura (compared with Prague).  Ghosts, perhaps.


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