Do you wonder how it feels like to be in the middle of a landing runway? If it is the case, you can figure it out at Tempelhof airport, one of the famous spots in Berlin. Located south of Kreuzberg, this desert field is now the place where people come to ride their bikes, play baseball or tennis, organize barbecues if the weather allows it, and fly a kite.
But this place has not always been an abandoned place. Tempelhof is known for its role during the Cold War. It was the airport in the West sector from which the American and British planes used to take off and land continuously, during the “air corridor” to bring food supplies to the Western part of the city. This corridor was organized on five levels of altitude, each pilot had a single shot to land in Berlin “West” to drop his cargo and every three minutes a new plane landed in that part of the city. Food, medicines, coal were the main supplies, and around 2,000 tons were dropped every day. This air corridor reached a new record with 1,398 flights in 24 hours between the 15th and the 16th of April, 1949.
From the field, it is still possible to admire an American plane, parked in front of the buildings. If you’re lucky and feel like an adventurer, you can still try to dodge into the main building: it has been converted into offices but the main space remains desert. No worries, you won’t cross anyone’s path, and if you walk through the floors, straight to the summit, you can reach a corridor leading exactly above the plane. Be careful though, you must keep an exit door open if you don’t want to be trapped!
The main access to Tempelhof airport remains the metro station Paradestrasse on the U6. However, if you want to explore the 3 kilometers of runway, it is better to bring your bike, or your sports gear!