Tempelhof Park: An Aerial Jewel in the Heart of Berlin

If you had arrived at this impressive park without knowing exactly what you were going to find, we bet you’d be doubly, no, triply amazed. Of course, now you will know about it in advance and the surprise will be lessened, but think of the greater good: you won’t want to miss it on your next trip to Berlin. Still, we promise that even with advance knowledge, the Tempelhof Park will do away with all your preconceptions of what a public park can be. Soon you will understand why.

Conceived and used as a place of departures and landings for years, Berlin-Tempelhof Airport was once one of the most important in all of Europe. That is, until 2008, when due to its location in the heart of the city, and residents’ many complaints of traffic and noise, it closed definitely. And here comes the magical part: instead of taking advantage of all that space to build houses, offices or even a public park from scratch, authorities decided to leave it as it was and, in the purest Berlin style, this vast area was left for the citizens’ own use and enjoyment.

Imagine the fun the runways of an abandoned airport can provide for lovers of roller skating, skateboarding or even skate windsurfing. In the facilities of this old but charming airport (vegetation has been freely taking over part of the site) all kinds of sports are practiced, especially those that require open spaces, smooth pavement and miles and miles of tracks. The airport still retains the signs used years ago for takeoffs and landings, which gives it a particularly striking and, to some extent, magical touch. Families and groups of friends barbecue on Sundays (it’s allowed), take care of the urban gardens or admire each sunset from the raised seats arranged for this purpose in different areas of the perimeter. The park also has a small shop with its entrance on the right side, and many green areas where Berliners spend the afternoon with friends or relaxing with a good book in hand. In short, the Tempelhof Park is one of the many wonders that make Berlin an unforgettable destination.

Photo | Andrey Belenco