A building damaged and exposed at a very short distance from the hypocenter
The building was designed by a Czech architect Jan Letzel and was opened as a hall for displaying products of Hiroshima Prefecture. It was a modern, three-story brick building with a European architectural design and a characteristic dome. Together with its reflection in the river, this elegant building was considered one of Hiroshima’s scenic spots. However, more than 90% of Hiroshima City’s buildings were blown out or burnt down by the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945. Located only a short distance away from the hypocenter, the building was exposed and damaged entirely by fire but miraculously, it was able to retain most of its structure. Though cracks and other damages of this building–renamed as the Atomic Bomb Dome–progressed in subsequent years, the building underwent a preservation construction project in 1967 which was funded by a total of 66,197,816 yen that had been donated from around the world. Since then, enabled by subsequent donations, preservation construction projects and conservation researches have been conducted twice.
Enlisted as a World Heritage site as the symbol of peace
Because the Atomic Bomb Dome is the only building in the world that coveys the horror caused by an atomic bomb in the same state as it was immediately after the bombing, the building was listed as a World Heritage site in 1996 as an unparalleled symbol of peace that appeals for the total abolition of nuclear weapons and speaks of the importance of peace. Though visitors cannot enter the Atomic Bomb Dome since it is fenced off, viewing it from the outside is more than enough to observe the terror of the atomic bomb. On the opposite side of the Atomic Bomb Dome across the Motoyasu River is the Peace Memorial Park, a highly recommended complex for learning about the conditions at the time of WWII. If you are planning to go to Itsukushima shrine at Miyajima, you can take an excursion boat from a stop in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome; the boat will get you there in about 45 minutes.