Hiroshima 75 years on: The last structure still standing after the atomic bomb blast

The steel frame of the dome and parts of the walls survived and became a lasting memorial to the destruction and death caused by the bomb. Credit: AP

The Genbaku Dome, often referred to as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, is the only structure left standing near the epicentre of the first atomic bomb which exploded on 6 August 1945.

The building was completed in 1915 and was used as a venue for trade events and it was almost completely gutted in the atomic bombing in 1945.

Through the efforts of many people this ruin has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the explosion.

The steel frame of the dome and parts of the walls survived and became a lasting memorial to the destruction and death caused by the bomb.

The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima following the dropping of the atomic bomb Credit: US Air Force/PA

Key facts

  • Hiroshima was home to around 345,000 people in 1945 before the explosion

  • Bomb was dropped at around 8:15 in the morning Hiroshima time

  • Blast had an explosive power of 12-15,000 tons of TNT, incinerating five square miles of the city surrounding the Aioi Bridge normal bombs

  • Up to 80,000 people are believed to have died in the blast and resulting fire storm, including some 20,000 military personnel

  • Among those who survived, many were struck down by cancers linked to the radiation over the next two decades

  • The final death toll is estimated at 135,000


Hiroshima following the dropping of the atomic bomb Credit: Crown copyright/PA

Not only is it a stark and powerful symbol of the most destructive force ever created in history, it also expresses the hope for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons.

It was well-built and a skeleton of the structure was left standing after the bomb was dropped.

Rebun Kayo, Hiroshima University graduate student, finds debris from the Atomic Bomb Dome in the Hiroshima river. Credit: AP

The buffer zone, including Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, is defined both as a place for prayer for the atomic bomb victims as well as for permanent world peace.

The iconic building was designated as a World Heritage site in 1996.

In recent days several people have visited the site, taking photos and reading signs about the history of the building.


To mark the 75th anniversary, survivor Michiko Kodama shared her story of what life was like years after the deadly bomb dropped