The Berlin Olympic stadium (Olympiastadion) is a vast German sports stadium located on the outskirts of Berlin, Germany. The grounds which the stadium sits on have a history of over a century, spanning through 2 summer Olympics which was planned to be hosted here. Lets do a tour of the Olympiastadion!
Additionally, the stadium is situated on the outskirts of the Berlin city and well-served by the U-bahn trains. The station of interest here is the U Olympia-Stadion.
For an €8 per adult entrance fee, you can enter the stadium, walk and explore the various interiors, have a seat on the benches in the massive stadium all at your own time. The stadium is nice and quiet, devoid of tourists. There were only a handful of visitors during my visit.
A vast stadium
Moreover, you won’t be able to appreciate the sheer size of the Olympic stadium until you sit in its interior. Greeting you is a seemingly endless rows of seats. It’s not when you start climbing down to the bottom where you get the appreciate its vastness. Also, patron seating encircles the inner perimeter encasing a full running track and football field within. A stylish oval-shaped overhead shelter sweeps and encircles the seating galleries, sheltering the seating area while leaving the massive field open. Also, you get the best views of the Stadium viewing from the east and west ends.
In addition, you enter the stadium grounds into a Visitor center entrance gallery. It is home to a small museum gallery with photos and awards. Here, you can watch several historical clips of the Stadium’s history and various historical sporting events held here.
Also, you can have a walk through the various pre-war architecture corridors and galleries still intact in the stadium. Here, you can find long walkways offering a nice wall-effect of support columns. It does strikingly resemble a more modern take on the galleries of the Colosseum in Rome.
Also, there is also an outdoor green garden with several Roman-themed sculptures. It represents the various Olympics sports Notably, the Stadium hosted the 1936 Summer Olympics during the Nazi rule before the World War. Also, its history does has some air of controversy. Today, the stadium is still in active service and used to hold large scale sporting events in the city.
A tumultuous history
Furthermore, the Berlin Olympic stadium faced several tumorous periods throughout its history. Going back in time, the spot where the stadium stands used to be occupied by the Deutsches Stadion from 1916 to 1934. It is a much smaller stadium, but functional for its era as a sports complex. It was supposed to host the 1916 Summer Olympics, but was subsequently cancelled due to World War 1.
Additionally, the International Olympic Committee in 1931, unknown to the repercussions then of the rule of the Nazi regime, selected Berlin to host the 11th Summer Olympics. Hence, the city needed a bigger venue than the current one built from 1916.
Originally, the German government decided merely to restore the earlier Olympiastadion (Olympic Stadium) of 1916. Plans were underway for a newer and more contemporary stadium. Also, it was built from 1934 to 1936 with its official opening on 1st August 1936. It was built by Werner March for the 1936 Summer Olympics. It was a rough Olympics, but the event saw a record attendance thought to be over 100,000 people.
Story of the stadium Bell
Next I shall touch on the interesting story of Stadium’s Olympic Bell, which you can find displayed on ground level in front of the stadium. Interestingly, the bell was constructed for the 1936 Olympics. It used to sit 77m up in the stadium Bell tower. Also, the Bell tower suffered major fire and damage during the Second World War. However, the bell was further damaged when it was dropped from the tower top, cracking on impact.
Henceforth, it had been incapable of sounding since then. But that is not just it, in 1956 the 9 tons of solid iron bell was rescued, only to be used as a practice target for shooting with anti-tank ammunition.
Today, the damaged old bell survives and serves as a memorial display. Between 1960 and 1962, the stadium bell tower was rebuilt. Housed in it now is a new smaller 4.5 ton bell in place which you can view on your visit.
All in all, the Berlin Olympic stadium (Olympiastadion stadium) is a rather nice visit if you are a Stadium or Olympic fan, or have a spare few hours in the historical city of Berlin looking to visit a more less touristy spot. The stadium is easily accessible via the U-bahn subway. You are good for a couple of hours for your visit too.