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From a grassy air strip to the world's largest airport, and from a Prussian parade ground to a city park: no other airport has had such a turbulent history as Flughafen Tempelhof airport. In 1926, with 10 flights a day, this was Europe’s largest airport – even bigger than London, Paris and Amsterdam. When, during the Cold War, the Soviet Union blocked all access roads, West Berlin received all of its supplies by air via Tempelhof: the so-called 'Berlin Airlift'.
When Hitler came to power in 1933, he commissioned Nazi architect Ernst Sagebiel to transform Tempelhof into a 'Weltflughafen'. When the enormous semicircular terminal building opened in 1939, it was the largest building in the world. The new airport was designed to serve until the year 2000, with a capacity that was 30 times larger than initially needed so that it could last for years. Despite persistent protests against its closure, the last plane took off from Tempelhof in 2008. Tempelhof has now been transformed into a city park and is still setting records as Berlin’s largest city park.
“The Berlin airlift was a monster operation: a plane landed every minute”