Saturday, August 9, 2008

Steel from historic East German palace used to build Burj Dubai

Dubai: Steel nowadays is a scarce commodity. This is the reason why, curiously enough, part of the iron structure of former East German leader Erich Honecker's seat of government, Palast der Republik in Berlin, has found its way to Dubai. The steel has been recycled and partly used for the construction of the world's tallest building, Burj Dubai.

Berlin's daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel revealed that the demolition of the Palast delivered some 25,000 tonnes of used steel. The material was transported to a smelting plant south of Berlin, where the iron girders were cut and melted down into handy blocks.

The steel is not only used by German car manufacturer Volkswagen to mould engine blocks, but is also sold by steel dealers to various construction sites in the world. Dubai, of course, tops the customer list. Scrap dealer Henryk Wetzel told the newspaper that the recycled steel is picked up by a commodity broker, shipped via the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea to Istanbul and then bought by a Turkish company that manufactures steel girders for the Burj Dubai tower.

The Palast der Republik was built in 1976 and is currently being demolished. The process will be complete by the end of this year. The palace was dubbed 'Erich's lamp shop' by Berliners because of the 1,001 lamps that once hung in the main hall. Many Berliners prefer to see the building conserved as a museum.

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