A road to Hitler's Germania

Platz des 4. Juli, Lichterfelde: a remnant of Albert Speers' 'Germania' plan for Berlin

It's 400 metres long and 70 wide. A huge expanse of asphalt the size of four football pitches.

And although this 'square' has no apparent purpose, it was built as part of Albert Speer's plan to convert Berlin into Germania, a city reconfigured for the Nazi Third Reich.

Now named Platz des 4. Juli, the stretch of tarmac was formerly known as the Vierter Ring, or 'Fourth Ring Road' - a name that provides an obvious clue regarding its intended use.

Speer planned to create four new highways providing access to a radically redeveloped German capital.

For the first, he decided to make use of existing streets surrounding Tiergarten park, but the three additional routes needed to be constructed almost entirely from scratch.

Platz des 4. Juli seen from above: built as a section of motorway for Albert Speers' Germania

Satellite image of Platz des 4. Juli, via Google maps

In 1937, the Telefunken radio and television company created a brand new headquarters in the district of Lichterfelde, and at the same time, a section of motorway was completed in front of the complex in accordance with Speers' scheme.

One of the few segments of the ring road network ever actually built, it remains in place as a little-known remnant of the proposed Welthauptstadt.

US forces holding a military parade on a stretch of road built according to plans by Albert Speer

US military parade on the former Vierter Ring: 1952

US forces parade on the Fourth Ring: a stretch of road built according to plans by Albert Speer

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If you're curious about its current name - which refers, of course, to the American Day of Independence on 4th July - from 1945 to 1994 the old Telefunken building served as a barracks for the US army.

The adjoining expanse of tarmac was ideally suited for use as a parade ground, including an annual Independence Day march.

The association stuck, and in 1976 the title became official: a road leading nowhere was transformed into Berlin's most surreal 'Platz'.

See also:
What remains of Albert Speer's Germania?
A road that was a race track
Breakfast with bikers: where the motorcyclists meet
Be amazed by these classic cars

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Platz des 4. Juli, 14167 Berlin

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