The Congress Hall – The Große Straße & The Electrical Transformer Building at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg Germany


Posted: , Last update: October 30 2016, in Third Reich Sites & Architecture. No Comments

The NSDAP Congress Hall

The Congress Hall and the pond Dutzendteich viewed from the Zeppelin Field

The Congress Hall and the pond “Dutzendteich”, viewed from the Zeppelin Field

A huge building blocks your view over the pond towards the Zeppelin Field. Just across the street from the former Luitpold Arena there is a huge Roman styled colossus. Unfinished, majestic and breathtaking, the Kongreshalle or Congress hall is the largest remaining building of the Third Reich nowadays. Even after decades it is still an awesome sight to see.

The purpose of the Kongreshalle was to house the congress of the Nazi Party on Rally days. The NSDAP could speak to 50,000 people in this congress hall. The design of the hall is from Ludwig and Franz Ruff. They chose a classic Roman style for the Congress hall. It looks like the Coliseum in Rome, but instead of an ellipse shape they chose a “U” shape or horseshoe, if you consider the two buildings on both straight ends of the “U”.

Construction of the Congress Hall started in 1935 and by 1937, 1,400 employees worked daily on the Hall.
Even though it is enormous, it never reached its full size. Majestically it stands with a diameter of 240 meters, 280 meters on the straight end and is 39 meters high. Originally it’s planned height was 70 meters though, which was pretty high for 1935 Europe standards.

A Walkway on the side of the Congress Hall in Nuremberg

A Walkway on the side of the Congress Hall in Nuremberg

A view on the inside of the Congress Hall arena

A view on the inside the Congress Hall arena. Notice the guy in orange in the center?

The supposed length of the tribune was 400 meters, so the Congress Hall could hold twice as many visitors as the original Coliseum in Rome. The 88 pillars situated behind the tribune would hold the weight of the 25,000 ton roof. A big part of the roof, with a span of 170 meters, was made of glass to let daylight into the hall. In total 22,000 foundation pillars of 16 meters in length were used for the foundation of the hall.

Due to the outbreak of war, in 1939 the construction stopped. After a restart in 1940 there was a short building period before construction definitely ceased.

The Congress Hall in Nuremberg

A view up the outer wall of the Congress Hall in Nuremberg

Patrick strolling around the Congress Hal in Nuremberg

Patrick strolling around the Congress Hal in Nuremberg

 

House of Culture and the Deutsches Stadium

Opposite from the Congress hall the NSDAP planned a House of Culture. The construction of this house never started though.
Another planned building was the Deutsches Stadion, the German stadium. Preparations for this building started in the city of Oberklausen. On the mountainside near this village Albert Speer did tests to create a tribune for the world’s biggest stadium.

The stadium would be 540 meters long and 445 meters wide and 80 meters high. It was designed to seat an astonishing 405,000 visitors!! Compare this to the biggest stadium in 2013, it is the Pyongyang stadium in Korea, it holds ‘only’ 150.000 seats.
The German Stadium was planned on the side of the Big Street opposing the Zeppelin Field. The outbreak of war prohibited the construction of the Stadium.

A mock up of the Deutsches Stadion

A mock up of the Deutsches Stadium is displayed inside the documentation center at the Congress Hall

Sculpture-of-Adolf-Hitler-Head-Nuremberg-Kongresshalle-Germany

A sculpture of Adolf Hitler on display in the Kongresshalle Documentation Center in Nuremberg Germany

Visit the Congress Hall Documentation Center in Nuremberg

From 2001 on the Congress hall houses a documentation centre with a permanent exhibition. Fascination and terror shows visitors the rise and terror of the Third Reich. Lots of photos from Nazi Party Rally’s give you a view on the immense structures and thousands of enthusiastic followers of the infamous regime.

Inside the Congress hall you can see the structure of the building. The center created a walkway into the inner arena where you can get a grip of the size of the ambitious structure. This exhibition is 1,300 square meters big, enough for a few hours of history lessons.

Check the Congress Hall website before you visit

The Big Street or “Große Straße” in Nuremberg, Germany

Walking on the Big Street looking towards the Marching Field Nuremberg Germany

Walking on the Big Street looking towards the “Marching Field” Nuremberg, Germany

In front of the Congress hall starts the big street. With a planned length of 2 km it reached all the way towards the Märzfeld (Marching field). The road is 40 meters wide on the small end and 60 meters on the broad side, and is build from 60,000 black and gray granite slabs. The slabs were quarried by forced labour from various concentrations camps. Just 1.5 km of the road was finished.
The Große straße, The Big Street, was intended for Wehrmacht parades on the NSDAP rally days.

The road was, again, of Albert Speers design. Construction started in 1935 and ceased in 1939. It was never used for parades due to the outbreak of the Second World War, the last Nazi Party Rally was held in 1938.
After the war the road was used as airfield by the Allied forces.

Steps on the side of the Große straße or Big Street in Nuremberg

Steps on the side of the Große straße or in English: the Big Street in Nuremberg

We parked our car in the middle of the Big Street, which is common practice these days. On the side of the Big Street you can still see the spectator’s steps.
Slowly nature is taking back what man doesn’t use anymore, trees are growing through the stones on the steps.

Grosse-Strasse-Nuremberg

Decaying steps on the side of the Große straße, the Big Street

Visit the Große Straße in Nuremberg

It is in the public domain. You might want to check if there is something to do in the Messhalle (Trade Building) next to the Big Street, because it might be pretty crowded with cars if there is.

An Electrical Transformer Building near the NSDAP Rally Grounds

A power supply station for the NSDAP rally grounds at Zeppelin Field Nuremberg

A power supply station for the NSDAP rally grounds at Zeppelin Field, Nuremberg

In 1934 Albert Speer ordered the construction of a power supply station on the Regensburger Straße (street). The station was needed as power supply for the Reichsparteitagsgeländes; the NSDAP Rally fields.
This power station could supply a big city with electricity, which was drastically needed to meet the demand of the extreme use of electricity on the lighting at the Zeppelin field. The more than one hundred search lights aimed at the sky used for a nightly spectacle demanded an enormous amount of energy.

When we visited the station the interior of the building was transformed to make room for a fast food restaurant. The side of the building once held a German eagle, a symbol of the Third Reich. Obviously it was removed long ago, but the eagles relief is still clearly visible above the door.

The Eagle is still clearly visible on the Electrical Transformer Building

The Eagle is still clearly visible on the Electrical Transformer Building

Visit the Power Supply Station

You can walk around the building any time you like, if you want to enter the fast food restaurant you have to visit when they’re open for obvious reasons. Bon apetit.





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