BERLIN: Three vast tunnels were opened under central Berlin this month, giving a glimpse of Adolf Hitler’s megalomaniac vision of a new architectural centre for the capital of Nazi Germany.
The 16-metre deep tunnels were constructed in 1938 as part of an underground transport network beneath a series of bombastic buildings designed by Nazi architect Albert Speer, including the biggest domed hall the world had ever seen.
The overground plans, never completed because of World War Two, included boulevards, squares and huge buildings, such as an arch dwarfing the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and the 290-metre high Great Hall, with room for 180,000 people.
Hitler called the concept, a symbol of the power of the Third Reich, "Berlin - the capital of the world" but in recent times it has come to be known as "Germania".
The tunnels, between 90 and 220 meters long lying beneath the Tiergarten park, would have accommodated roads and a railway line.
After the war, British forces in divided Berlin closed the tunnels. They were rediscovered in 1969 but have remained shut. In 1990, a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, they were handed to the city of Berlin.
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