At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb in human history was dropped on Hiroshima. Although, the Atomic Bomb Dome was located almost directly below the explosion, it somehow prevented complete destruction and thus the remains of the building still stand. Hiroshima residents decided to keep this tragic reminder of the war intact. The site was declared a World Heritage Site in 1996. Visiting the Atomic Bomb Dome, the Cenotaph for the Atomic Bomb Victims and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum gives you a deeper understanding of the suffering caused by the war and nuclear weapons and the true value of peace.
The atomic bomb exploded at an altitude of 600 meters, 160 meters southeast of the Atomic Bomb Dome. At that time, the building was the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. At the instant of detonation, the explosion exerted 35 tons of pressure per square meter and created a fierce wind speed of 440 meters per second. The building absorbed the powerful explosion and heat, and burst into flames. Because the impact was almost directly over the top, curiously the thick outer walls and the steel dome escaped complete destruction. However, the people inside at the time were instantly killed and the interior of the building was completely destroyed by fire. Although the exact time is unknown, the building with its exposed steel dome began to be called the ‘Atomic Bomb Dome’.
The atrium of the then Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall was almost directly below the bomb’s hypocenter. Although the building was badly damaged, it managed to escape complete destruction. It was the heartbreaking diary of a schoolgirl, Hiroko Kajiyama, that determined the decision to preserve the Atomic Bomb Dome in its current state. Hiroko was exposed to radiation from the bomb as a baby. He subsequently died of leukemia at the age of 16. The dome acts as a reminder of the force and unspeakable suffering caused by the bomb, while continuing to symbolize the struggle to rid the world of nuclear weapons and achieve peace.
The Hiroshima Peace Monument (Genbaku Dome) has been preserved as a ruin. It is all that remains of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotional Hall “Hiroshima-ken Sangyo Shoreikan” after the 1945 nuclear bomb explosion. Inside the property, all structural elements remain in the same condition as immediately after of the bombing. The property can be observed from the outside of the peripheral fences and its external and internal integrity is well maintained. The buffer zone, which includes the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, is defined as a place of prayer for the victims of the atomic bombs, as well as for permanent world peace.
In the last three conservation projects (1967, 1989-1990 and 2002-2003), minimal reinforcement with steel and synthetic resin was used to preserve the condition of the dome as it was after the atomic bomb attack. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) stands in its original location and its form, design, materials, substance and setting are completely authentic. It also maintains its functional and spiritual authenticity as a place of prayer for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons.
It is one of the symbols of the city of Hiroshima and a highly recommended place to visit during the trip to Japan, due to its historical and spiritual importance.