June 7, 2012
by fosco lucarelli
Ferropolis is maybe the most striking example of German quasi-obsessive nostalgia for its industrial heritage.
An open museum opened in 1995 in Gräfenhainichen, near Dessau, Ferropolis (page in English here) is a scenic landscape of old huge industrial machines from the mid-twentieth century that can measure to 30 meters high, 120 meters long and weigh up to 1980 tons.
As skeletons of huge extinct dinosaurs, these derelict machines seem finally resting in a graveyard of obsolete technology.
Ferropolis, the fragment of a new city in the middle of a desert created by open-cast mining, is both an ominous monument and symbol of the extensive exploitation of the countryside and the ecological consequences of doing so.
However, the »City of Iron« also represents a new start in dealing with nature and the countryside. It is an attempt, at the end of an epoch, to create new perspectives for a landscape depleted by industrial exploitation. It is also an attempt to find answers to what are currently two of the most frequently asked questions: where is structural change in the region leading, and what will a post-industrial cultural landscape look like?
Hence, Ferropolis has become the symbol of a path chosen for this century, a manifestation of a region undergoing change, a region in which diverse interests, experiences and hopes are reflected in a project that is a region of correspondence for EXPO 2000.