It’s the most recognizable building in Hiroshima, described by TIME as “Hiroshima‘s Eiffel Tower, its Statue of Liberty.” The Genbaku Dome was once an exhibition hall, functioning as the city’s convention center. After the atomic bombing of Aug. 6, 1945—exactly 70 years ago Thursday—it was the only major building left standing near the explosion site.
“Where the dome rose, only the supporting beams remain, a giant hairnet capping four floors of vacant gray walls, much of their outer skin peeled away, exposing patches of brick,” TIME later explained. “The interior floors are also gone, making the entire structure an accidental atrium. A front doorway leads to nowhere. A metal spiral staircase ascends to nothing. A pillar lies on its side, wires springing like wild hairs.”
Today, the Dome is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, where it serves as a physical a reminder of the horrific destruction of atomic power—and humanity’s power to rebuild.
Read TIME’s 1945 assessment of the bombing, here in the TIME Vault: “Awful Responsibility”