Indiana Jones and the Berlin Tempelhof Airport

When it opened in 1923, Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport was a beacon of progress and a sign of prosperity on the horizon.

The Great War was over and it was time to rebuild.

. . .

The Golden Era of Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport

Under a Nazi initiative and in anticipation of a future filled with air travel, Tempelhof underwent major construction in the 1930s. When finished, it was among the world’s 20 largest buildings and considered one of the era’s most iconic airports, along with those in Paris and London.

An old painted logo on the runway of Tempelhofer Park and Airport in Berlin, Germany
An old painted logo on the runway of Tempelhofer Park and Airport in Berlin, Germany

. . .

Tempelhof in World War II

Throughout the Second World War, Tempelhof Flughafen (the German word for airport) was used to assemble fighter planes, but never actually served as a military airport. In fact, the airport remained open to civilian traffic throughout the war; with the exception of the six month period from September 1939 through March 1940.

A panoramic view of Tempelhofer Flugahafen in Berlin, Germany
A panoramic view of Tempelhofer Flugahafen in Berlin, Germany

After surrendering to the Allied Forces in 1945 and ending their role in World War II, Germany allowed the US Army to use Tempelhof as a base for the next 49 years.

An old U.S. Air Force mobile stairs unit remains at the now-closed Tempelhofer Airport
An old U.S. Air Force mobile stairs unit remains at the now-closed Tempelhofer Airport

. . .

A Cold War Airport

During the Cold War, the airport served as the primary launching point for American military aircraft to access West Berlin. Even after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, it would be another five years before the American military officially closed their Berlin, Germany, Army Aviation Detachment.

Tempelhofer Airport is a beautiful place to visit on a sunny day in Berlin
Tempelhofer Airport is a beautiful place to visit on a sunny day in Berlin

. . .

What Sort of Airlines Did Tempelhof Service?

From the end of World War II in 1945 through the 2008 closing of Tempelhof Flughafen, the airport was a major hub for both domestic and international commercial flights. Though, in its later years, the airport was mostly used by smaller commuter aircraft.

A small jet parked outside the main terminal of Berlin's Tempelhofer Airport
A small jet parked outside the main terminal of Berlin’s Tempelhofer Airport

. . .

Templehof Park in Berlin

Today, Tempelhof is surrounded by a beautiful park that hosts regular concerts, events and fairs. Though much of the park is still a work-in-progress, it remains a must-visit destination on any trip to Berlin. My personal favorite part is the bike trail that surrounds the entire airport.

Fun Fact: Tempelhof got its name because it was built on land  belonged to the Knight’s Templar during the middle ages.

Next time you're in Berlin, Germany, be sure to take a bike ride around Tempelhofer Park and Airport
Next time you’re in Berlin, Germany, be sure to take a bike ride around Tempelhofer Park and Airport

. . .

It’s in an Indiana Jones Movie… Kinda

OK, so my memory was a bit off. When I visited Germany’s Berlin Tempelhof Airport in 2012, I was sure that I remembered it from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. However, when I rewatched the film, all I found was the below brief exterior shot of the airport before Indy and his father boarded a zeppelin. There were no scenes actually filmed inside the airport.

A screenshot of the Berlin airport in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - the exact time in the movie it appears is 1:07:49
A screenshot of the Berlin airport in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – the exact time in the movie it appears is 1:07:49

. . .

What is your favorite airport in the world?

  • Indiana!!! :D
    I looove the films (and Indy) but don’t remember the Berlin airport scene – perfect opportunity to see them again!
    My favorite airport is in Zurich because they have a Lindt Sprüngli Shop, where you can buy (the most expensive) limited edition chocolates, which are soooo good. *yum*

    Nice greetings from Austria!
    Christina

    PS: Please change the word “Flugahafen” to “Flughafen”. :-) (Super tiny german lesson: “Flug” means flight and “Hafen” harbor.)

    • It was a very brief scene just before Indy and James Bond got onto the zeppelin. Blink twice and you miss the screenshot I posted in the article.

      I wonder what a limited edition chocolate tastes like? Anything like Dunkin Donuts? :) BTW, thanks for the heads up on the typo. I’ve fixed it now.

  • Can’t wait to check this place out a bit more, especially as its only 10 mins walk from my new apartment Im moving into on Monday!

    • Congrats on the new apartment! Can’t wait to see YOUR photos from Tempelhof.

  • When I went to Angkor Wat I felt so incredibly ignorant – I never thought places like that existed in real life, just in Indian Jones.

    • My personal favorite Indiana Jones location is the treasury building at the end of Last Crusade. It’s so high on my list of places to go!

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