The Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall - now known simply as the A-Bomb Dome
After settling into our digs we set off as darkness fell to experience the Peace Park but especially to take pictures of the A-Bomb Dome from many angles. This was the first photograph as we crossed the bridge in front of our hotel. The first information board was on the left hand side of the river half way along (as always typed out in italics). The next was just after we crossed the bridge at the other end of this picture, and three together as we walked by on the other side. We faithfully read each information board, even if it had ‘repetition’ – a word that strikes horror if an atom bomb were to ever be used again.
The Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall was completed in April 1915 under the design and supervision of Czech architect Jan Letzel, capturing the fancy of the citizens of Hiroshima with its characteristic green dome. The atomic bomb exploded at an altitude of 600 metres approximately 160 metres southeast of the Industrial Promotion Hall, instantly killing everyone inside the building which was seriously damaged and completely burned out. In December 1996 this structure was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as a reminder to the entire world of the horrors of the atomic bomb and symbol of global peace.
The building now known as the A-bomb Dome was designed by Czech architect Jan Letzel. Completed in April 1915, the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall soon became a beloved Hiroshima landmark with its distinctive green dome.
While its business functions included commercial research and consulting services and the display and sale of prefectural products, the hall was also used for art exhibitions, fairs, and cultural events.
Through the years, it took on new functions and was renamed the Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition Hal. As the war intensified, however, the hall was taken over by the Chugoku-Shikoku Public Works Office of the Interior Ministry, the Hiroshima District Lumber Control Corporation and other government agencies.
At 08:15 a.m., on the 6th of August 1945 an American B29 bomber carried the world’s first atomic bombing. The bomb exploded approximately 600 metres above and 160 metres southeast of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, ripping through and igniting the building, instantly killing everyone in it.
Because the blast struck almost directly above, some of the centre walls remained standing, leaving enough of the building and iron frame to be recognisable as a dome.
After the war, these dramatic remains came to be known as the A-bomb Dome.
For many years, public opinions about the dome remained divided. Some felt it should be preserved as a memorial to the bombing, while other thought it should be destroyed as a dangerously dilapidated structure evoking painful memories.
As the city was rebuilt and other A-bombed buildings vanished, the voices calling for preservation gathered strength. In 1996, the Hiroshima City Council passed a resolution to preserve the A-bomb Dome, which led to a public fundraising campaign to finance the construction work. Donations poured in with wishes for peace from around Japan and overseas, making the first preservation project possible in 1967.
Several preservation projects have since been carried out to ensure that the dome will always look as it did immediately after the bombing.
In December 1996, the A-bomb Dome was registered on the World Heritage List as a historical witness conveying the horror of the first use of a nuclear weapon, and as a world peace monument appealing continually for lasting peace and the abolition of such weapons.
To help protect the dome, the national government designated the area around it as a historic site under the Cultural Properties Protection Act, with a larger area in and around Peace Memorial Park set aside as a buffer zone.
ALL IN ALL VERY HAUNTING BUT DIGNIFIED
VERY MOVING WITH A SERENE PEACE