Berlin’s Abandoned Airports: An Eerie Silence
Berlin, the city that’s been through more changes than Lady Gaga’s concert wardrobe. A place where history has been known to throw more curveballs than a Randy Johnson fastball. And when it comes to abandoned airports, well, Berlin has got a couple of those too. It’s sort of like collecting vintage vinyl records, but with, you know, hulking masses of concrete and steel.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the eerie silence of Berlin’s abandoned airports. It’s like a scene from a Stephen King novel, but instead of a creepy clown in the storm drain, you’re more likely to find a hipster on a fixie bike, sipping on a handcrafted artisanal coffee amidst the deserted runways.
Our first stop, Tempelhof, or as I like to call it, the ‘Ghost of Aviation Past’. Tempelhof was once the heart of Berlin’s aviation industry. Like the hipster’s beard, it was a symbol of its time. It’s a sprawling art deco behemoth that was once the busiest airport in the world. Imagine that! Busier than a Berlin vegan food festival on a Sunday.
Tempelhof was officially decommissioned in 2008 and since then, it’s become the city’s largest public park. It’s like when your favourite underground band goes mainstream, except instead of selling out stadiums, it’s now hosting barbecues and kite flying competitions. But, if you listen carefully, you can still hear the echoes of propellers and jet engines in the wind.
Now let’s jet over to our next stop, Tegel, or ‘The Forgotten One’. Tegel was the new kid on the block, stepping up to the plate when Tempelhof was no longer cutting it. Tegel was all the rage in the 70s, like flared jeans and disco music.
Tegel was closed down in 2020, a victim of the ongoing pandemic, but also a victim of its own success. Like that one-hit wonder band, it was just too good, too soon. Now, it sits idle, with plans to transform it into a hub for research and innovation. But for now, it’s a mausoleum for the golden age of aviation, a time when flying still had a touch of glamour and mystique.
Finally, we come to Gatow, the ‘Old-Timer’. Gatow is the granddaddy of Berlin’s airports, dating back to the 1930s. It’s seen more history than a high school textbook. It’s been through World War II, the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the rise of techno music. Now, that’s some serious mileage.
Today, Gatow is home to the German Air Force Museum. It’s like a retirement home for planes, where they can kick back, relax and tell wild stories about their glory days. And believe me, some of these planes have stories that would make even the most seasoned traveller blush.
So, there you have it, folks. A tour through the eerie silence of Berlin’s abandoned airports. A journey through time, where the past is as palpable as the scent of freshly baked pretzels and the sound of techno music thumping in the distance.
And remember, in Berlin, an abandoned airport is never just an abandoned airport. It’s a canvas for the city’s imagination, a monument to its history, and a testament to its never-ending capacity for change.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. There’s a new vegan doner kebab place that just opened up in Kreuzberg, and I hear they’re playing vinyl records from the 70s. How very Berlin of them.
Prost! (That’s cheers in German, just in case you were wondering).
Q: What are some of the most famous abandoned airports in Berlin?
A: There are two main abandoned airports in Berlin: Tempelhof and Tegel. Tempelhof, once one of the world’s largest buildings, became a symbol of Berlin’s resilience during the Berlin Airlift in 1948-49. While Tegel, known as “the little airport that could,” served as West Berlin’s primary airport during the Cold War. Both airports are steeped in history and have their unique stories to tell.
Q: What happened to these airports?
A: Both Tempelhof and Tegel were decommissioned due to the opening of the new, larger Berlin Brandenburg Airport. Tempelhof was closed in 2008, and its expansive airfield was converted into a public park. Tegel followed suit in 2020, ending its service after 60 years. The land is slated for redevelopment into a research and industrial park focusing on urban technologies.
Q: Can I visit these abandoned airports?
A: Absolutely, and not just the ghosts, if you’re into that sort of thing! Tempelhof Field is now one of the world’s largest urban parks, where Berliners go to picnic, kite-surf, and bike along the old runways. Tegel is still being redeveloped, but there are plans for a technology park and a sustainable residential area. Not to mention the occasional urban explorer who might get a kick out of exploring these historical sites!
Q: Are there any memorable events that took place at these airports?
A: Oh, where do I start? Tempelhof was the hub of the Berlin Airlift, where Allied forces dropped in supplies to sustain the city during the Soviet Blockade. It also served as a major Nazi assembly hall during WWII. As for Tegel, it was the site of a daring escape by East German pilot, Heinz Düwel, who landed a small plane on its runway to whisk his family to the West. It’s safe to say that these airports have seen more drama than a soap opera!
Q: What is the future plan for these airports?
A: Tempelhof Field is set to remain a public park, a green lung for the city. There are plans to maintain the historical buildings for cultural and educational purposes. Tegel, on the other hand, is being transformed into the Urban Tech Republic, a research and industrial park focusing on urban technologies, which will include start-ups, universities, and research institutions. The project also includes the Tegel Green, a sustainable residential area. It’s like the airports are getting a facelift to become the hip new districts of Berlin!
Q: Can you tell us a joke related to Berlin’s airports?
A: Sure, here goes. Why don’t planes ever get lost at Berlin’s airports? Because even when they’re abandoned, they still have a runway to follow!