- Take tram 4 to Dutzendteich or tram 9 to Luitpoldhain SE of Nuremberg
Lonely Planet review for Reichsparteitagsgelände
Nuremberg's role during the Third Reich is emblazoned in minds around the world through the images of rapturous Nazi supporters thronging the city's streets to salute their Führer. The rallies at the Reichsparteitagsgelände were part of an orchestrated propaganda campaign that began as early as 1927 to garner support for the NSDAP, which had a strong following in Nuremberg. In 1933, the party planned a ridiculously large purpose-built complex in the southeastern Luitpoldhain suburb.
In doing this Nazi leaders hoped to establish a metaphorical link between Nuremberg's illustrious past as Reichstagstadt (where parliament met during the Holy Roman Empire) and the Third Reich's new rally centre (the Reichsparteitag). Most of the parades, rallies and events took place at the Zeppelinfeld, fronted by a 350m-long grandstand, the Zeppelintribüne. The grounds are bisected by the 60m-wide Grosse Strasse (Great Road), which culminates, 2km south, at the Märzfeld (March Field), planned as a military exercise ground. West of the Grosse Strasse was to have been the Deutsches Stadion, with a seating capacity of 400,000. Its construction never progressed beyond the initial excavation; the hole later filled with groundwater to become today's Silbersee lake.
Much of the actual Reichsparteitagsgelände was destroyed during 1945 bombing raids, but enough is left to sense the dimension and scale of this gargantuan complex. At the area's northwestern edge once stood the Luitpoldarena; designed for mass SS and SA parades, it's now a park. The half-built Kongresshalle (Congress Hall), meant to outdo Rome's Colosseum in both scale and style, is the largest remaining Nazi building.
Today the Kongresshalle's north wing houses the outstanding Documentationszentrum (Documentation Centre). It puts the Nazi Party Rally Grounds into historical context, examining the causes, relationships and consequences of the Nazi terror regime. Early rooms focus on general background, but the most relevant to the city are Room 6, which details Nuremberg's specific role as the party's headquarters; Room 7, which screens a film showing architect Albert Speer's grand-scale designs for the complex; and Room 8, with a harrowing overview of how construction materials came from the concentration camps.
Nowadays the Zeppelintribüne grandstand hosts sporting events and concerts. Also here is the Franken Stadion, which hosted several World Cup football games in 2006.
Take tram 4 to Dutzendteich, or tram 9 to Luitpoldhain.