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Tirpitzhafen naval base

“Gorch Fock” training ship
“Gorch Fock” training ship

Kiel has been a naval base since 1864, when the Prussian fleet moved from Danzig to the Kiel Firth. The city was named as the “Reichskriegshafen” (Reich naval harbour) in 1871, which led to naval facilities being set up around the firth and to ultra-rapid development in the shipbuilding industry, which worked mainly on armaments.

Barracks and other military buildings also grew up on the Wik (Kiel district), by the strategically important Kiel Canal, and a naval harbour on the north Kiellinie (promenade), built on the initiative of Admiral of the Fleet Alfred von Tirpitz, and bearing his name. It was the home port for units of the Kaiserliche Marine, the Kriegsmarine, the Bundesmarine and now the Deutsche Marine (German navy).

Former military building in Arkonastraße in the Kiel district of Wik
Former military building in Arkonastraße
in the Kiel district of Wik

Aerial photograph of the Tirpitzhafen
Aerial photograph of the Tirpitzhafen

The “Gorch Fock” is also based here, a barque built in 1958 and still used as a training ship by the navy. Officers and NCOs receive their practical and theoretical training for later service in the fleet on board during voyages to ports all over the world.

Not far from the naval harbour, the Flandern bunker stands as a reminder of the horrors of the Second World War. This three-storey bunker was once the naval harbour’s air defence and emergency command headquarters, but also served the civilian population as a refuge in air raids. It has been listed since 2005, and used as an education and memorial centre by the “Mahnmal Kilian e.V.” association for the promotion of peace and international understanding since 2001.

Pictorial material: Kieler Stadtarchiv, Stadt- und Schifffahrtsmuseum, Wolfgang Okon
 
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