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The Site Of The Berlin Airlift Now Serves As Refugee Shelter And Big Open Park

Thousands of Berliners come to Tempelhof on warm summer evenings, but there's always room for more.
Thousands of Berliners come to Tempelhof on warm summer evenings, but there's always room for more.

Berlin's Tempelhof Field used to be a massive airport. It's famous as the site of the Berlin airlift — the effort in 1948-49 to keep West Berlin fed and supplied during a Soviet blockade. But the airport closed in 2008.

Now, 10 years later, Tempelhof Field is a huge park, and a home for refugees.

Here are some scenes, and sounds, from a recent visit.

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Riding to the end of one of Tempelhof's former runways is a serious workout.
Martin Kaste / NPR
Riding to the end of one of Tempelhof's former runways is a serious workout.

Modular homes for refugees, erected recently in one corner of Tempelhof Field.
Martin Kaste / NPR
Modular homes for refugees, erected recently in one corner of Tempelhof Field.

Tempelhof was the site of early experiments in aviation. It was expanded in the Nazi era, and was the site of a forced labor camp. After the war, it was both a U.S. air base and a civilian airport.
Martin Kaste / NPR
Tempelhof was the site of early experiments in aviation. It was expanded in the Nazi era, and was the site of a forced labor camp. After the war, it was both a U.S. air base and a civilian airport.

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