the kongresshalle, (nazi party congress hall) was designed by franz and ludwig ruff. construction of this massive building began in 1938 but was never completed because of the out break of WWII. the design of the building was inspired by the coliseum in rome. built to accommodate 50,000 people it was to be used for nazi party meetings. today it is used as a warehouse and is home to the dokumnetationszentrum, (documentation center), an excellent museum about the third reich and the holocaust.
an interesting web site is www.thirdreichruins.com for before and after pictures of this building.
The Kongresshalle was one of the first buildings planned for the new nazi party rally grounds. Its construction began in 1938, but was halted shortly afterwards when the germans started WWII. What you see now, are just the outer structures. The plans foresaw a large roof on the hall building and the construction of the real congress hall in the center of it. The semi-glassen roof was designed to focus the daylight onto the place where the Fuehrer was supposed to talk. As I said, the plans where nor finished as the resources were needed for the war. The Kongresshalle was supposed to be the smallest (!) building on the Reichsparteitagsgelände, with even larger congress halls and stadiums planned.
Today, parts of the Kongresshalle are used as a warehouse. However, a large section of it houses the Nazi documentation center, a renowned, excellent museum. Please look at my tip (Nazi documentation center) for further information about that.
Located between the Kongresshalle (with Documentation Center) and Zeppelin Field and party grounds is a nice size lake which makes a pleasant walk. Paved footpaths and informational historical markers wrap around the lake, which one can walk along while enjoying watching the swans paddle around. It can be peaceful in this part of Nürnberg and this makes a nice place for reflection on the historical events of the area.
Kongresshalle (Congress Hall) is the building in which the Documentation Center is located. Its original purpose was to house the Congress of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) with a seating capacity of 50,000 seats, making it the largest building remaining from the Third Reich era. It stands today unfinished near the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds.
The building, designed by Ludwig and Franz Ruff from Nürnberg, is built in a classical style reminiscent of the Coliseum in Rome, although only in design since the building is more of a shell shape than an oval. It is only half as high as it was originally planned to be – today standing a mere 39 meters (129 ft) compared to the planned 70 meters (229 ft.). It also does not have a roof over the central portion.
As part of the tour with the Documentation Center, visitors can walk out into the center of the building via a raised platform for a view of this massive structure. I also highly recommend a walk around the exterior of the building. While walking around, we noticed that the gate to the interior (the part seen from the raised platform) was wide open, so it may be that you can enter on the ground this way to see the interior.
Today, the exterior has a large parking lot where the many tour buses that bring out of town guests to Nürnberg park while waiting to pick up their clients.
Plan at least a day in this area to see the Documentation Center, the Grosse Strasse (Great Road), and the Nazi Party Rally Grounds.