Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) (1996)
Japan

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The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) was the only structure left standing in the area where the first atomic bomb exploded on 6 August 1945. 

Japan 2003. Hiroshima. Atomic Bomb Dome (Genbaku Dome). Japan 2003. Hiroshima. Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall. Through the efforts of many people, including those of the city of Hiroshima, it has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing. Not only is it a stark and powerful symbol of the most destructive force ever created by humankind; it also expresses the hope for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons. 
  • Japan 2003. Genbaku Dome. 
    • Atomic Bomb Dome
    • Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall in 1915-1920, it was designed by Jan Letzel, Czech architect, and completed in 1915
Japan. Map of Prefectures. Hiroshima No. 11.
  • Japan. Map of Prefectures. Hiroshima is No. 11, west of Osaka. 

In 2003 the Japanese Post Office invited children to participate in a competition of the design of a peace stamp. There were eight winning designs, which were all incorporated in the sheet on the right, together with the official Japanese stamp designs of the Genbaku Dome at the top of the sheet. 

Japan 2003. Souvenir sheet. Hiroshima.
  • Japan 2003. Souvenir sheet. Hiroshima. All winning designs of the stamp competition are shown below in close-ups. The second atomic bomb exploded a few days later in Nagasaki, Prefecture No. 27, southwest of Hiroshima. 

The area now known as Peace Memorial Park was previously an urban district called Nakajima. During the Edo Era (1603-1868), it was a thriving commercial center where goods coming up the rivers on boats were unloaded, then sold or sent elsewhere by land. In the Meiji era (1868-1912), it was the political, administrative, and commercial heart of Hiroshima, home to City Hall, the Prefectural Office and Hiroshima's central distribution facilities. 

On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb in history exploded directly over this area. In addition to the usual inhabitants, thousands of volunteer army corps members and mobilized students were in the area demolishing buildings for a fire lane. Nearly all of these lives were snuffed out as the entire district vanished instantly.

Japan 2003. Hiroshima. Winning design from the international competition. Stamp #1 of eight. Japan 2003. Hiroshima. Winning design from the international competition. Stamp #2 of eight. Japan 2003. Hiroshima. Winning design from the international competition. Stamp #3 of eight. Japan 2003. Hiroshima. Winning design from the international competition. Stamp #4 of eight.

On August 6, 1949, with enactment of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law, it was decided that the entire Nakajima District would be devoted to "peace memorial facilities," and that was the beginning of what is now Peace Memorial Park. 

Japan 2003. Hiroshima. Winning design from the international competition. Stamp #5 of eight. Japan 2003. Hiroshima. Winning design from the international competition. Stamp #6 of eight. Japan 2003. Hiroshima. Winning design from the international competition. Stamp #7 of eight. Japan 2003. Hiroshima. Winning design from the international competition. Stamp #8 of eight.

The park covers approximately 122,100 square meters. It was designed by Kenzo Tange, a professor at Tokyo University, and three others, whose proposal was selected through a design competition that drew 145 proposals. 

At the south edge of the park is a line of three buildings: the East Building and West Building of the Peace Memorial Museum, and the International Conference Center Hiroshima. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was completed on April 1, 1954. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in Japan (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Japan for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
Copyright 1999 Heindorffhus
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