Genbaku Dome – The powerful symbol of peace in Hiroshima

Originally the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, and now commonly called the Genbaku Dome. The ruin of the hall serves as a memorial to the over 140,000 people who were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

The Product Exhibition Hall building was originally designed by the Czech architect Jan Letzel. It was completed in April 1915 and was named the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition. It was formally opened to the public in August that year. In 1921. The building was located in the large business district next to the Aioi Bridge and was primarily used for arts and educational exhibitions.

The Genbaku Dome amidst the devastation in October 1945 / Photo: Shigeo Hayashi (Japanese photographer 1918–2002) Image sourse

Due to its stone and steel construction, the building was one of the few structures left standing near the bomb’s hypocenter (100 meters distance). The structure was scheduled to be demolished with the rest of the ruins, but the Dome became a subject of controversy, with some locals wanting it torn down, while others wanted to preserve it as a memorial of the bombing and a symbol of peace. Ultimately, when the reconstruction of Hiroshima began, the skeletal remains of the building were preserved.

Side view of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial / Image source

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