Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall, circa 1930's.
Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall, circa 1930's.Courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall, circa 1930's.
September 8, 1945, an allied correspondent stands in the rubble in front of the shell of a building that once was a movie theater in Hiroshima, Japan, a month after the first atomic bomb ever used in warfare was dropped by the U.S. on Aug. 6, 1945.The damaged building standing in the background is the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, currently preserved as the Atomic Bomb Dome.
View of the peace memorial, the Atomic Bomb Dome, in Hiroshima, Japan, 24 June 2015.
Doves fly over the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in western Japan on August 6, 2015 during a memorial ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall, circa 1930's.
Courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
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See What the Only Hiroshima Building to Outlast the Atomic Bomb Looks Like Today

Aug 06, 2015

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"

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Photos From the Ruins

Urakami Cathedral (Roman Catholic), Nagasaki, September, 1945.
Not published in LIFE. Urakami Cathedral (Roman Catholic), Nagasaki, September, 1945.Bernard Hoffman—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Urakami Cathedral (Roman Catholic), Nagasaki, September, 1945.
Nagasaki, September, 1945.
Hiroshima streetcar, September, 1945.
Nagasaki, Japan, September 1945.
A photo album, pieces of pottery, a pair of scissors - shards of life strewn on the ground in Nagasaki, 1945.
From notes by LIFE's Bernard Hoffman to the magazine's long-time picture editor, Wilson Hicks, in New York, September 1945.
Hiroshima, 1945.
Nagasaki, 1945, a few months after an American B-29 dropped an atomic bomb, codenamed "Fat Man," on the city.
The landscape around Urakami Cathedral, Nagasaki, September, 1945.
From notes by LIFE's Bernard Hoffman to the magazine's long-time picture editor, Wilson Hicks, in New York, September 1945.
Neighborhood reduced to rubble by atomic bomb blast, Hiroshima, 1945.
Bust in front of destroyed cathedral two miles from the atomic bomb detonation site, Nagasaki, Japan, 1945.
Hiroshima, 1945, two months after the August 6 bombing.
Nagasaki, 1945.
Two women pay respects at a ruined cemetery, Nagasaki, 1945.
Hiroshima, September, 1945.
Not published in LIFE. Urakami Cathedral (Roman Catholic), Nagasaki, September, 1945.
Bernard Hoffman—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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