Abu Simbel Rescue
"As soon as the Aswan High Dam started to hold back the waters of the
Nile, the temples cut into the rock at Abu Simbel were threatened and
might have sunk under the rising water. Help arrived in the form of
UNESCO, which placed a contract with Hochtief to rescue the temples,
under the eyes of the whole world, in a race against time and against
the rising water. First a dam 1,200 feet long was built to protect
the two temples. But then, in November 1964, success threatened to
slip out of the hands of the men working feverishly on the project:
the waters of the Nile had risen to a level barely six feet short of
the crown of the dam. Applying every possible technical means and
with incredibly hard work the team managed to ward off the danger and
bring the dam up to the level that the Nile water could not reach
before the work was completed.
The next job was to remove a hill 200 feet high from above the
temples. To do this the porous sandstone was stabilized with
injections of artificial resin, whilst the façades were buried in
desert sand to protect the colossal statues from falling rocks.
Only now could the experts go to work and saw the solidified stone
apart extremely carefully into blocks weighing up to 30 tons. A total
of 1,041 blocks were numbered in a sophisticated system, transported
on trucks to a point 220 feet higher and 600 feet further inland, and
then reassembled in the reverse order. Now the temples look as if
they always had been standing there."
from (with pics): http://www.hochtief.com/hochtief_en/115.jhtml
"Abu Simbel, Egypt.
Of interest, I learn that "Abu" means holy man or saint. I haven't
read yet what "Simbel" definitively signifies, but I think it relates
to the name of the nearby village. [...]
I am sure that most visitors are aware that the temple of Abu Simbel
(ca. 1270 B.C.), used to be located on the banks of the River Nile
south of Aswan. With the building of the Aswan Dam, in the early
1960s, Abu Simbel, along with many other ancient temple sites, was
threatened by the rising waters of Lake Nasser. But the temple was
saved by being literally cut up into small pieces and re-erected on
higher ground. The new site is entirely man made and is 200 feet
above the original location. Brilliantly reassembled, it today
overlooks Lake Nasser. [...]
The temple was visited in the last two centuries by many famous
The following words, written by Amelia B. (Blandford) Edwards, (1831-
1892), and published in 1877 in 'A Thousand Miles up the Nile', are
"Stupendous as they are, nothing is more difficult than to see the
colossi properly. Standing between the rock and the river, one is too
near; stationed on the island opposite, one is too far off; while
from the sand-slope only a side-view is obtainable. Hence, for want
of a fitting standpoint, many travellers have seen nothing but
deformity in the most perfect face handed down to us by Egyptian art.
The artists who wrought the original statues were, however,
embarrassed by no difficulties of focus, daunted by no difficulties
of scale. Giants themselves, they summoned these giants from out of
the solid rock, and endowed them with superhuman strength and beauty.
They sought no quarried blocks of syenite or granite for their work.
They fashioned no models of clay. They took a mountain, and fell upon
it like Titans, and hollowed and carved it as though it were a cherry-
stone, and left it for the feebler men of after-ages to marvel at for
ever. One great hall and fifteen spacious chambers they hewed out
from the heart of it; then smoothed the rugged precipice towards the
river, and cut four huge statues with their faces to the sunrise, two
to the right and two to the left of the doorway, there to keep watch
to the end of time." [...]
It was Giovanni Belzoni (1778-1823) who seems to have been the first
Westerner to have actually entered the Ramesses II temple when he did
so on August 1st 1817 after having 30 feet of encroaching sand
cleared away. He died young, in Nigeria in 1823 at the age of 45,
while he was en route to fabled Timbuktu.
I was interested to read that the original plan to save Abu Simbel
was to leave it "in situ" and build a dam around it to hold back the
waters of Lake Nasser. For reasons unknown to me, but probably due to
cost considerations, that plan was shelved. [...]
And what of Ramesses II himself? Ramesses II, the 3rd Pharaoh of the
19th Dynasty and perhaps the greatest of all the Pharaohs lived from
1303-1212 B.C. (or is it 1213 B.C.?) and was Pharaoh from 1279-1213/2
B.C. His birth name was Ra-messes ('Ra has Fashioned Him') and his
throne name was "User-maat-re Setep-en-re" ('The Justice of Ra is
Powerful, Chosen of Ra'). [...]
He was the son of Seti I and Queen Tuya, and lived, reportedly, to
the age of 96, (but that data does not jive with the dates above) had
maybe 200 wives and concubines and had 96 sons and 60 daughters. A
busy fellow indeed! He co-ruled for a time with his father, and
accompanied Seti I on numerous campaigns in Libya and Nubia. When
Seti I died in 1279 B.C., Ramesses II assumed the throne and began a
series of wars against the Syrians. The famous Battle of Kadesh is
inscribed on the walls of the Ramesses II temple at Abu Simbel. He
built the superb hypostyle hall at Karnak, finished the big temple at
Abu Simbel (started by his father) and built the smaller temple
there. And many, many, other buildings, temples or temple additions
including those at Luxor and Abydos. [...]
Now he may have also been the Pharaoh of the Oppression in the Bible.
But there would appear to be no proof of that fact probably because
the Egyptians only recorded successes in their inscriptions and chose
to ignore any matter considered to be in any way "negative". Sounds
Truth be known, as I see it anyway, not a lot is really known about
Ramesses II. Despite all the books that have been written about him.
Not particularly surprising really.
Now Ramesses II would seem originally to have been buried in a tomb
in the Valley of the Kings. But, because of widespread tomb looting,
his body was later removed, re-wrapped and taken to the tomb of an
18th Dynasty queen, Inhapi, as also happened to the bodies of
Ramesses I, Seti I and Amenhotep I. Then it (or they) were moved
again - to a Royal Cache inside the tomb of High Priest Pinudjem II.
This was all, apparently, documented on the linens that covered the
bodies. Centuries later, his body was found (in 1881) and unwrapped
(on June 1, 1886) by Professor Maspero, keeper of the museum of
Bulak, near Cairo, in the presence of the Khedive Tewfik.
Could Ramesses II have ever thought that one day he would go to
Paris? Could he have imagined Paris? Surely not on either count but
he did fly to Paris in the late 1970s for tests primarily designed to
identify the best way of preserving royal mummies. Not a lot of data
resulted. No clarification of his age at death. 1.7 metres tall. Very
poor and extremely worn teeth, extreme periodontitis and severe
abscesses. But none of that surely is a surprise, is it? Abscesses,
so my dentist tells me, can, if not attended to by an extraction,
transfer infection to the brain and if that happens it is "game
over". Enough of that. Cleaned and re-wrapped Ramesses II flew back
to an atmospherically-sterile case in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Where he is today.
And a number of web sites state that Ramesses II had to have a
passport to be able to travel from Egypt to Paris and back. And an
Egyptian passport was therefore issued which listed his occupation
as "King (deceased)". Interesting if it is so! While those facts do
appear on a number of sites, they all have quite similar wording and
probably come from a single source. So I cannot tell you if that was
fact or fancy. [...]
Probably the final word on this particular page. I have read, on many
web-sites, how brilliant the ancient builders were in aligning the
main temple such that on one day a year, and only one day of the
year, the sun at sunrise shines straight through the entrance way to
the very back of the temple interior and illuminates the gods like
magic. I take nothing away from the original builders whose work is
surely astonishing. Nor from the modern re-builders who got it wrong,
by one day, when they rebuilt it. But Leo Depuydt, an Egyptologist at
Brown University, of Providence, RI, who I suspect knows his subject
very well indeed, suggests (bottom of page) that "Regardless of the
alignment, if the temple faces east, the sun is going to shine in it
twice a year." So there! [...]
Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778-1823) [...] He was the first
Westerner to have actually entered the Ramesses II temple at Abu
Simbel when he did so on August 1st 1817 after having had a mini
mountain of encroaching sand cleared away. He visited the Temple
twice - for six days in 1816 and twenty in 1817. [...]
Amelia B. (Blandford) Edwards, (1831-1892), an extraordinary English
lady who journeyed up the Nile in 1873-4, and wrote a tale of her
adventures, ('A Thousand Miles up the Nile') which is still a classic
today. She spent no less than 14 days camped close beneath the giant
statues of Ramesses II."
from (with lots of great pics and other things):
"Abu Simbel - A Moving Experience.
On 22 September 1968, some 500 guests and dignitaries gathered before
Abu Simbel in a solemn inauguration ceremony. The eighth wonder of
the world, the temples of Rameses II, had been saved from the rising
waters caused by the Aswan High Dam. We review the preceding years
and explain just how the move was accomplished.
That a second dam should be built, there had been little argument.
The first Aswan dam had had dramatic effects on the irrigation and
agriculture of the Nile but, and as the years passed, it proved
insufficient for the burgeoning needs of Egypt.
The negative effects of the high floods had not been fully harnessed
and a considerable amount of water was merely running off into the
Mediterranean while low Nile levels could no be supplemented by
stored reserves. However, the overriding factor that led to the
decision to change the water situation was Egypt's population
The growing population could realistically no longer survive
exclusively on agriculture. The power for industrialisation could
only come from a cheap and plentiful source and the obvious solution
was electricity through water. At that time it should be remembered
that nuclear power was not available and little oil had been
discovered on Egyptian territory. After painstaking research and
argument, for there were as many disadvantages as benefits, the
decision was taken to proceed with a High Dam 7 kms south of Aswan,
work officially starting on 9 January 1960.
It was of course evident well before this time that the flooding of
the Nile Valley up to the Dal Cataract and Lower Nubia would have
disastrous effects on the ancient monuments and antiquities in that
area. The Egyptian Antiquities Service, directed at that time by Mr
Mustapha Amer, had published a report in 1955 and distributed it as
widely as possible in an attempt to awaken public opinion and attract
international support and cooperation for the rescue of the monuments.
It was UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation) that responded under the terms of their
constitution, 'the conservation and protection of the world's
inheritance'. In turn UNESCO appealed to the governments of the world
for technical and financial contributions to save the monuments and
temples from certain destruction. With only three exceptions (where
only fragments could be removed) the monuments were all dismantled or
carved up, moved to another site and re-assembled into six groups.
One of these was Abu Simbel.
The temples of Abu Simbel, in their original position, were by no
means the most important or popularly visited monuments in Egypt.
However, between 1960 and 1963 a veritable flood of tourists was
drawn to see them by the debate of the fate of the temples. In turn
this provoked a plethora of suggestions, from laymen and experts
alike, on how they should be saved, some practical and well thought
out, some borne of sheer fantasy.
A selection of the more spectacular proposals included: a Polish
engineer's suggestion to construct reinforced concrete domes over the
temples, making them accessible to visitors by means of lifts
operating in vertical shafts; from an American came the idea of
building concrete barges under and around the temples, so that when
the reservoir water level rose, the temples would float up; a
suggestion from a Briton was to allow the temples to be submerged but
seal off the interior chambers, making them accessible from above. In
addition, a revolutionary membrane would separate the muddy waters of
the reservoir from clear, filtered water inside, allowing the temples
to be viewed as if in an aquarium.
It was in fact four years before the Egyptian government decided upon
the course of rescue action. Much time had been lost in undertaking
unrealistic exercises and following up spurious proposals, and
therefore, by November 1963, when a final contract was signed, a race
had begun between the rising water inside of the reservoir and the
slow growth of the money and pledges to finance the rescue project.
The original final choice of scheme was one from Italy that involved
lifting the two structures in their entirety with hydraulic jacks and
moving them to higher ground. At this stage an engineering company
from Sweden was brought in, VBB (Vattenbyggnadsbryan) of Stockholm,
to carry out the technical supervision of the work and prepare a
detailed study. It was thus discovered that the lifting scheme was
too expensive ($55 million) in relation to the international
contributions and the Egyptian government decided to adopt the
cutting scheme that VBB determined would cost only $36 million.
The scheme itself required that the sculptured and decorated surfaces
of the cliffs and the rooms be cut from the rock in blocks to a size
suitable for handling. The blocks would then be moved to a holding
area for cataloguing and repair in preparation for assembly some 65
metres higher up the same cliff face. Not only that, the plan was to
provide for a similar setting for the Temples by cutting entire
sections of the original cliff face adjacent to the facades and use
them to cover an artificial hill on top of the cliff.
The construction of the High Dam had not waited for the rescue
schemes to be finalised and in August 1964 the level of the Nile had
begun to rise. For this reason one of the first tasks of the rescue
team was to build their own dam against the primary floods caused by
the High Dam. The construction of this cofferdam was in itself a
great achievement, only completed after a dramatic race against time.
Its height was 27 metres and the length of the crest 370 metres; and
total volume of the rock fill and sand used to fill the dam was
380,000 cubic metres.
Having bought themselves time by temporarily protecting the site, the
next step was to remove the overlying rock facade directly above the
massive figures. The use of explosives was prohibited so some 150
cubic metres of rock had to be removed by rippers, pneumatic tools
and bulldozers. The front facades of the temples had been sand-
filtered to afford some protection while this work was effected and
the inner chambers had been supported by steel scaffolding.
The final stages of this part of the excavation stopped just shod of
the facades, above and to the sides. The rock sections that then
formed the statues, walls and roofs of the temples, were cut into
blocks of suitable sizes for lifting and transportation. These blocks
measured approximately 0.8 metres deep, 3 metres high and up to 5
metres long. They weighed up to 20 tons each while some of the more
compact pans of the columns weighed up to 30 tons.
It was all too easy to fracture the low-strength sandstone from which
the figures had been hewn and consequently careful attention had to
he paid to strengthening the weaker blocks that were cut and removed.
This was done by means of drilling and inserting steel reinforcing
bars into the blocks and then cementing the entire block together
using epoxy resin mortar.
The cutting itself was done by saws of various kinds: many different
tools and methods had to be hired. The saws themselves were subjected
to incredible strains and wear and tear and had to be done with
specially hard steel teeth. The main cuts at the back were made by
large motor-driven chain saws and as the work became more intricate,
specially designed hand saws were devised to minimise the effects on
the sculptured surfaces. Other methods of cutting the sandstone
blocks were used, such as line drilling with wedges and wire cutting,
but the saws did the majority of the works.
Having divided the temples into blocks, the next stage was to lift
and transport the 1042 blocks of sandstone that made up the temples'
facades. Again great care had to he taken not to damage the fragile
surfaces. Special lifting yokes were used to cradle the blocks as
large cranes ranged over the entire working area lifted the blocks.
Having thus been loaded onto sand beds on low loaders they were then
moved to a storage area on the desert plateau.
The storage area was more than just a holding point before re-
assembly. At this juncture specialists from the Antiquities
Department of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture took the opportunity
to inspect all the material and restore worn or damaged stone. In
preparation for recreation, the rear sides of the blocks were fitted
with steel anchor bars and the surfaces were made waterproof by
impregnation with resin.
Before the blocks were re-erected the new site, at the top of the
same hill into which the temples had originally been carved, had to
be prepared. A suitable foundation was necessary on which to build
the temples and the massive domes that were to be constructed over
the monuments. In fact, the area in front of the temples also needed
extensive excavation and levelling to form a flat foreground.
The final position of the temples was of great importance, in
relation to each other and the exact direction they were facing. It
should be remembered that the original architects, those many
thousands of years ago, had especially lined up the statues and
entrances to the inner chambers to catch the first rays of the
For the facades of the statues, supporting frameworks were first
erected and then the blocks placed against the framework am then set
in ceramic. The temple rooms, in comparison, were re-erected by
placing them in position and then castings supporting concrete
structure behind and over them.
To encompass the re-assembled temples and to complete the new site,
two enormous concrete domes were built, one over each temple. These
domes were effectively used as an elevated base for carrying the
weight of the artificial hills which were to he formed over and
around the temples. The dome built over the Great Temple is in itself
a great feat of engineering. It has a span of 60 metres, a height of
25 metres and a width of 45 metres, and carries a load ranging from
20 tons per square metre at the crown to 70 tons per square metre at
The artificial hills were, in effect, thousands of tons of hardcore
sandstone blocks taken from the surface of the original cliff at its
lower levels and landscaped over the domes. In this way the picture
To undertake the work some 1,700 workmen and 200 staff members were
employed on the site and, when joined by their families, a thriving
community of over 3,000 lived them. But lived where? Abu Simbel was
in a desert 300 kms south of Aswan with no notable roads or
communication links. So when work started all the personnel had to
live in the desert in tents, sheds and on house boats on the Nile
itself. These conditions were not ideal, especially when the summer
season temperature exceeded 45C in the shade. Early plans had
included a township but the construction of the cofferdam had taken
precedence in view of the rising waters. In the end however, a
township was built which boasted houses and offices, a mosque, a
police station, an hotel, news rooms, shops and even limited sports
The whole salvage operation was to last four and a half years and was
completed by the autumn of 1968, about 20 months ahead of schedule.
And so when it came to the inauguration on 22 September 1968, there
were many who were justly proud of their achievements. For those who
had carried the burden of the project planners, masons, engineers,
labourers and executing contractors - it was a day of deep
satisfaction. No greater testimony to the success of the Abu Simbel
operation was made than the innocent query from a journalist who was
present at the inauguration: 'Everything looks exactly like it was
before! What have you done with the 40 million dollars?'.
The complete, detailed story of the Abu Simbel project and the rescue
of Philae and other Egyptian/Nubian sites is contained in 'Temples
and Tombs of Ancient Nubia' published by Thames & Hudson."
"As early as 1954, two years into Nasser's new government and six
years before work on the Aswan High Dam was officially begun, there
was international anxiety over the fate of the Lower Nubian
archaeological record. As the connection between deeper Africa and
Egypt, and through Egypt to Greece, Nubia's artifacts from
prehistoric times onward document the cultural exchange of several
great ancient civilizations, as well as the history of Nubia itself.
Two Egyptian monuments, Abu Simbel (a pair of New Kingdom temples cut
out of living mountain and dedicated to Ramses II and his queen
Nefertari ), and Philae (a Graeco-Roman temple complex to the goddess
Isis, free standing on an island), were selected for rescue by
removal to higher ground. Twenty-three other less dramatic
structures, from the New Kingdom through Byzantine periods, were
removed and given as gifts to countries giving the High Dam emergency
financial aid; the United States received the Temple of Dendur, now
housed at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, in what has become a
popular party room.
Among the artifacts lost are prehistoric cemeteries; 200 miles of
rock pictures of elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes, lions and ostrich
(evidence of climate change, as such no longer inhabit the area); and
complex Middle Kingdom Egyptian mud-brick fortresses. It is noted
with relief that later Nubian history moved south up the Nile, its
tokens out of the reach of Lake Nasser, such as remnants of the
Kushite Dynasty, when Nubia ruled Egypt, and of the following
Meroitic Kingdom, known for its elegant, tall, thin pyramids.
In the fifteen years between Egypt's 1959 appeal for emergency
archaeological research into the area soon to be inundated, through
to the completion of the Philae cofferdam in 1974, Argentina,
Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, The Federal Republic
of Germany, Finland, France, The German Democratic Republic, Ghana,
Hungary, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Scandinavia, Spain,
Sudan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, the
U.S.S.R., and Yugoslavia all sent teams to dig, photograph and draw
forty-three sites in over 130 expeditions.
Of the two great monuments chosen for rescue, Abu Simbel and Philae,
Abu Simbel was by far the greater challenge. Philae, a temple complex
free-standing on an island, was eventually cut into transportable
pieces and reconstructed on another, safer, island. Abu Simbel,
carved out of mountain, presented a far greater difficulty. UNESCO
(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)
posed a challenge to the world: how shall Abu Simbel be saved?
UNESCO's definition of a monument's `integrity' included its
environment. By that argument, moving the temples was not an option.
Osbert Lancaster, opposed to moving the monuments, commented: "And
there you'd have Abu Simbel on an island miles from anywhere, like a
slice of cheese on a dish. It would look ridiculous." But the
environment of Abu Simbel was going to be fundamentally altered by
Lake Nasser regardless. There were strong opinions on both sides,
both aesthetic and practical, not the least of which being the stress
Lake Nasser was going to put on the mountain itself and its ability
to support the temples. The deciding factor was money.
It took four years, 1959-1963, to decide on a plan. Many proposals
came before UNESCO, and it is such a proposal that Huldbrand goes to
Egypt to research and develop. In real life, a Polish plan, for
example, proposed a watertight concrete dome; visitors would descend
by elevator. One British plan suggested allowing the temples to be in
water, but using a thin membrane dam to separate muddy Nile water
from treated water around the monument. Visitors would observe
through portholes reached by elevators. Another British idea was to
cover the temples with a sealed hollow pyramid.
A French dam scheme was the first seriously considered contender,
proposing to protect the monuments in place, dry behind dam walls. A
board of experts from the Egypt, the United States, the Soviet Union,
Switzerland, and the Federal Republic of Germany, convened in Cairo
in 1961, was concerned with the hydraulic pumping mechanism this plan
included. A future economic or military crisis in Egypt could shut
down the pump station and at the least endanger and at the worst
destroy the temples. And the cost of constructing and maintaining
this dam and hydraulic station would exceed $80 million.
In its place, an Italian plan gained UNESCO's favor: the lifting of
the temples to higher ground by hydraulic jacks. Hassan Zaki and the
Swedish engineering firm Vattenbyggnadsbryan (VBB) were assigned the
study of this scheme's feasibility. They concluded it was possible.
They also concluding that would cost at least $58 million. At the
time, without a sure project with which to woo supporters, Egypt's
budget for Abu Simbel, including international contributions, was
below $16 million.
Egypt asked VBB to examine the feasibility and cost of a plan to cut
the monuments out of the mountain, in time for presentation at
UNESCO's 1962 General Conference. The conclusion was a reasonable
cost of $32 million.
The conference set March 31, 1963, as a deadline for fundraising for
the Italian lift proposal. The further $2.5 million raised was not
enough, and when the widely publicized lift plan was abandoned, the
cutting plan was pulled out of Egypt's hat.
Many were appalled at the thought of sawing not only the temple
structure but even the colossal statues into manageable pieces.
Georges Fradier insisted that "One would not dismantle Westminster
Abbey and set it up again elsewhere. One cannot `save' the Parthenon
by reconstructing the Acropolis in an open-air museum." But practical
and financial concerns won out. The cutting plan was adopted in June
The "Joint Venture", as it was called, was to be run by the Federal
Republic of Germany, and include firms from Italy, France, Sweden and
Even with this comparatively low-budget choice, more funds were
needed. The thought was that if America would support the plan, other
countries would follow. U.S. support of $12 million attracted a
further $10 million in international money. Work began in 1964. 1900
persons were employed by it.
First, a cofferdam was erected to protect the temples from the
already rising water. 150,000 cubic meters of overlying rock had to
be removed (without explosives), and the temple interiors were shored
up with sand infilling and steel scaffolding. Steel bars, epoxy resin
mortar, and concrete were used to prepare each block (3 meters high
and .8 meters thick) according to its condition, for cutting by saws
and removal by crane to a storage site.
Two concrete domes, one for each temple, were constructed 65 meters
above the original site to support the reconstructed temples, in
place of the mountain from which they had been removed. The surface
of the original cliff was then applied to these man-made mountains to
recreate the original environment as closely as possible. On
September 22, 1968 the Abu Simbel project was officially completed.
copyright: E. Winslow 1996"
more about the project:
section of the artificial mountain:
plan of the temple:
plans and graphic perspective of the inside of the mountain:
old pictures of the temple way before the move:
pictures of the project & the monument:
you can order a video with images of the rescue here:
"Hochtief had revenues of 13.4 billion euros in 2001, which made it
Germany's biggest construction company and gave it a leading position
in its industry internationally as well. In order to open up new
markets and to make full use of the know-how accumulated in the core
business of construction the company is constantly broadening its
range of services: airport management, project development, and
facility management are gaining more and more in importance. The
company employs nearly 35,000 people all over the world. Hochtief is
represented through its subsidiary and affiliated companies on all
the main markets: in North and South America, Western, Central, and
Eastern Europe, India, Australia, southern Africa, and the
Asia/Pacific region. Hochtief supplies more than 80 percent of its
goods and services to countries outside Germany.
During the course of its 125-year history the company has carried out
numerous spectacular projects. In the 1960s Hochtief was in charge of
transplanting the rock temples of Abu Simbel; in response to a
commission from UNESCO the millennia-old examples of Ancient Egyptian
high culture were rescued form the rising waters of the Aswan High
Dam. The temples were sawn up into more than 1,000 blocks and
reassembled at a higher location.
Hochtief's projects include eye-catching skyscrapers. Two of these,
for instance, were the construction of the Messeturm and the
Commerzbank tower that make such a distinctive mark on the skyline of
Frankfurt am Main. Hochtief has also helped to define the new face of
Berlin as the general contractor of the Sony Center on Potsdamer
Platz, which opened in 2000.
Germany's biggest construction company, however, also links places
together. Hochtief was involved in the construction of the Bosphorus
Bridge in Istanbul, which joins Asian and European Turkey, and in
2000 in the Öresund Bridge that opened in 2000 and joins Denmark and
Sweden together. Hochtief sometimes goes on to operate these
infrastructure projects as toll roads or bridges. A particularly
interesting example in a few year's time will be the tunnel under the
River Trave in Lübeck, which will replace a historic lifting-bridge
and greatly relieve traffic congestion generally.
Hochtief has also been active in the airport field for many years.
The commitment that has already led it to undertake such construction
projects as the airports of Warsaw (Poland) and Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
has now extended to the operating of airports: Hochtief, in
collaboration with partners, is involved in the operation of the
airports of Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Sydney and Athens."
Opernplatz 2 . 45128 Essen, Germany.
Hochtief has hopped to the top of the German construction industry.
The company designs, finances, builds, and operates large,
technically demanding facilities worldwide. Hochtief, which has
combined its building and civil units to form HOCHTIEF Construction,
has widened its global presence with major acquisitions in Canada,
the Czech Republic, and the US (including Turner) and is now one of
the world's largest construction firms. North American operations
account for about half of group sales. Hochtief's airport management
and consulting business holds stakes in airports in Australia,
Germany, and Greece. German energy giant RWE has sold its 56% stake
in Hochtief to European and US institutional investors."
"HISTORY -- In 1871 King Wilhelm I of Prussia (1797-1888) became the
German Emperor. His proclamation completed the process by which the
German Empire came into existence. Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) took
charge of the new state with the title of Reich Chancellor (Reich
= "Empire"), and remained in office until 1890.
Immediately after the creation of the German Empire, a boom swept
through German industry. In the years 1871 through 1873 alone, as
many joint-stock corporations (Aktiengesellschaften) were established
as in all the 70 preceding years. However, boom was quickly followed
by bust: the collapse of share prices on the Berlin stock exchange in
October 1873 heralded the demise of many of these start-ups. Although
the economy began to recover in 1879, the euphoria that had
accompanied those first years had vanished for ever.
Despite a number of setbacks, German society was changing ineluctably
into an industrial society. Social inequality kept coming to the
fore. Bismarck's social policy was a first attempt at alleviating the
deep poverty of many workers and their families: the Health Insurance
Act (1883), the Accident Insurance Act (1884), and the Invalidity and
Retirement Insurance Act (1889).
HOCHTIEF -- Hochtief was founded by two brothers: Balthasar (1848-
1896) and Philipp Helfmann (1843-1899). Balthasar Helfmann originally
served an apprenticeship as a mechanic, and Philipp took up the trade
of a mason. In 1872 Philipp Helfmann moved away from Kelsterbach,
where he and his brother had been born, to the Bornheim district of
Frankfurt to start up in business as a lumber merchant. Soon after
that he become a building contractor. His brother Balthasar followed
him in 1873, having previously worked as a self-employed mechanic in
Frankfurt. In 1874 the Bornheim address book first recorded the firm
as "Helfmann Brothers".
There was a clear division of labor between the two brothers.
Balthasar concerned himself more with carrying out the building work
and with the increasing size of the company, and Philipp's field of
work focused more and more on the banking business and the gaining of
new orders that, from year to year, were gaining steadily in
The timing of the establishment of a construction company seems to
have been well chosen. Frankfurt am Main had been part of Prussia
since 1866. This political change brought enormous new impetus to the
process of industrialization. New firms established themselves,
followed by large numbers of workers. [...]
The Helfmann Brothers initially built houses "speculatively" - at
their own risk, for sale on the open market when completed. After
only a short time the firm received its first major construction
order: The University of Giessen (1878-1879), a provincial city some
miles north of Frankfurt. [...]
HISTORY -- Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) came to the throne in 1888
and ordered a complete change of course in foreign policy. Instead of
Bismarck's cautious and defensive foreign policy, he wanted to
establish Germany as a world power, and he obtained Bismarck's
resignation in 1890. The replacement was Leo von Caprivi (1831-1899),
who further extended State social policy. One example was the
Workers' Protection Act, which prohibited Sunday work and regulated
working hours. The introduction of progressive income tax also aimed
to reduce social inequalities, but these approaches were not enough
to make any fundamental improvement in social problems.
Calls became ever louder for more democracy. After several foreign
policy conflicts during the reign of Wilhelm II, the assassination of
the successor to the Austro-Hungarian throne and his morganatic wife
at Sarajevo in Serbia triggered off the final crisis. The first world
war broke out in 1914. By the end of 1918 the German Empire was on
the verge of military collapse. Sailors in Kiel publicly refused to
obey orders, and the mutiny threatened to plunge the whole of Germany
into revolution. The Kaiser abdicated and Philipp Scheidemann (1865-
1939) declared the Republic. In 1919 peace was made under the Treaty
HOCHTIEF -- The young company had already been very successful under
the name of "Helfmann Brothers", but its construction projects were
still limited to the Frankfurt area. The firm simply did not have the
necessary capital to expand its business. In this question it was
Philipp Helfmann who proved to be the more daring and perhaps also
the more far-sighted of the two brothers, because it is surely no
coincidence that be initiated the conversion of the company into an
Aktiengesellschaft - a publicly quoted corporation - only shortly
after Balthasar passed away. The name he chose, "Aktiengesellschaft
für Hoch- und Tiefbauten", can be translated as "Construction and
Civil Engineering Corporation". [...]
For all his consciousness of tradition, Philipp Helfmann was often
capable of thinking very "modern" thoughts. One impressive testimony
to his willingness to break new entrepreneurial ground is the Bad Orb
project. ("Bad" means "Spa" in this context.) In 1899 Hochtief
entered into a contract with the spa town of Orb. The particular
feature of this project lay in the obligations taken over by
Hochtief, which went well beyond the simple matter of putting up a
few buildings. In addition to planning and erecting them, the company
was also to design the outdoor facilities - roads, parks, and
gardens - arranging finance through a company established for this
project, Bad Orb GmbH, and finally to operate the spa with Hochtief
taking at least indirect responsibility. Looked at this way, the Bad
Orb project was an early example of system leadership. The first
major order from abroad also still came into the Helfmann era: the
Genua grain store (1899-1901).
The grain silo is a significant structure in another respect as well.
It was built entirely with reinforced concrete. The discovery of
concrete reinforced with iron or steel was more than just the
invention of a new building material; indeed, it revolutionized the
construction industry completely. Impressive structures made of
reinforced concrete include the Municipal Theater in Freiburg, built
in 1906/1907, and the synagogue built in the Westend district of
central Frankfurt in 1907/1908. In these structures the reinforced
concrete tended to be kept well hidden; it was used for the "internal
construction", and conventional building materials were used for the
The changes in the craft trades caused by new construction materials
and building styles were easily recognizable, but at the same time a
less obvious change was occurring in the skills and qualifications
needed by building workers. A new trade emerged: the formwork-
builder, forerunner of today's concrete-builder. It was also
something new for construction companies to have workers on the
payroll with technical qualifications who could operate and maintain
the new items of equipment that were now necessary, such as pouring
towers, rotating cranes, and the first machines for bending and
Even today we can still be impressed by the speed at which these
enormous structures were built - that is one of the other advantages
of reinforced concrete construction. Hochtief, for instance, needed
only a year to build a grain store in Hamburg with a frontage 36
meters long. However, Philipp Helfmann did not live to see this
breakneck rate of development in construction technology; when he
passed away in 1899 his son-in-law, Hans Weidmann, took over the
Chief Executive position.
Weidmann continued to manage Hochtief successfully, even though he
had several crises to cope with. Nevertheless, he set the company on
the right course for the future. Under his management Hochtief gained
a foothold in Berlin in 1906 and erected a number of buildings for
the city council. In the same year Hochtief also won two orders from
the Ruhr industrial area, as it was now operating more and more on a
national basis. In parallel with its expansion, it also set up its
first branch operations. Hochtief survived the first world war
without suffering any major setbacks.
HISTORY -- From 1919 through 1925 the Head of State of the Weimar
Republic was President Friedrich Ebert (1871-1928). His successor in
office was Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934). After Germany's defeat in
the first world war, the reparations demanded by the victorious
powers placed a huge burden on the young republic. The French side in
particularly accused the German government of being laggardly in
paying reparations and delivering goods. To put pressure behind their
demands, the French sent troops to occupy the Ruhr in 1923. The
German government reacted with passive resistance and ordered the
citizens not to comply with the orders of the occupying power. One of
the economic consequences of passive resistance was a huge increase
in inflation, and stabilizing the currency again became the top-
priority problem. This was solved in October 1923 with the creation
of the "Deutsche Rentenbank". Passive resistance was terminated at
the same time.
With the new and stable currency, the "Rentenmark", in force, it was
possible to take up new negotiations over reparation payments, and
the French troops started to withdraw from the area they had
occupied. After these first turbulent years the Weimar Republic
started to stabilize, but in 1929 the next crisis broke out. The
collapse of the New York stock exchange in 1929, which set off a
worldwide economic crisis, also enveloped the German economy. The
question of reparation payments was back on the agenda. These
economic problems were joined by political and social problems. The
political center shrank visibly, and a process of radicalization
swept through the political left and the right. By 1930 the Nazi
Party was the second-largest in the German parliament. It was no
longer possible for the other parties to form a coalition against it
that could command a majority. Political consensus, which had
sustained the Weimar Republic, sometimes with difficulty, now
crumbled away to nothing.
HOCHTIEF -- By the beginning of the 1920s Hochtief had developed from
its modest origins in Frankfurt into an established construction
corporation, but it still could not be compared with the huge
companies in heavy industry in terms of its balance sheet total, for
instance, or the numbers it employed. The names of the industrialists
that ran these companies are still very well known today, such as
Emil Kirdorf (1847-1938) or August Thyssen (1842-1929). One
outstanding member of this group was Hugo Stinnes (1897-1924), who
even as a very young man had built up a large and successful
corporation. [...] Eugen Vögler (1884-1956) negotiated a contract
with the Stinnes group, signed on February 10th, 1921, to create
a "community of interest" under which all Stinnes construction
projects were to be carried out by Hochtief. The company's head
office was transferred to Essen in 1922 as part of the integration
into the Stinnes Group. Despite all these changes, the directors of
Hochtief did everything they could to ensure continuity.
It emerged soon after this that Stinnes' plans for Hochtief went far
beyond a "normal" business relationship. The starting-off point for
his ideas was a reconstruction program, finalized on March 15th,
1922, under which German money and physical assets were to be sent to
the French industry as part of the post-war reparations. Stinnes was
quick to realize the business possibilities. On August 14th, 1922, he
signed an agreement with the French industrialist Guy Louis Jean de
Lubersac (1878-1932), who represented the French side, on the
delivery of goods that mainly provided for shipments of construction
materials to France and counted as part of the reparations. Hochtief
was to coordinate these deliveries and charge a fee for the work.
Hochtief found a highly lucrative business beckoning, but it did not
come about because French troops occupied the Ruhr industrial area;
this was the French government's reaction to the general delays in
the payment of post-war reparations. [...]
Once the 1923 hyperinflation in Germany had been halted, HOCHTIEF's
business started to develop positively again. Amongst its major
projects were the gymnasium and sports hall of the stadium in
Frankfurt am Main (1919-1926); a big power station in Klingenberg, a
district of Berlin (1926-1927); the Westfalenhaus in Dortmund (1928-
1929); and new buildings for the Zollverein colliery in Essen (1929-
Mainly, however, in the 1930s Hochtief was busy gaining a foothold in
other countries. Amongst its major foreign projects were a cellulose
factory in Finland, the Moselle Canal near Metz in eastern France and
its work on the Albert Canal between Liège and Antwerp (in Belgium)
between 1930 and 1934. These projects were carried out in a number of
phases and ensured employment for Hochtief for many years at a time.
Other contracts, of a kind that only appear once each but are none
the less welcome for that, were the construction of a road bridge
over the Maritza River near Philoppopel in Bulgaria (1929-1931) and
of a coal bunker in Lutterade, in Holland (1931). Despite a
universally poor economic situation, Hochtief's business went
HISTORY -- On January 30th, 1933, Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) took over
the position of Reich Chancellor at the head of the German
government, and went on to extend his power step by step. His
political opponents - communists, trade unionists, Social Democrats,
and even Conservatives and even political activists from the ranks of
his own party - were systematically eliminated: sent to concentration
camps or simply murdered. The attacks on the Jewish population
mounted, and Hitler also managed to gain the support of parts of the
economy that had initially kept a good distance from the new regime.
This was their political reward for the abolition of the trades
unions and of free collective bargaining between employees and
Hitler's economic policies also met initially with approval. The
economy was restimulated with debt-financed state budgets, and the
very high level of unemployment started to drop. The best-known "make-
work" program was the construction of the autobahn or super-highway
network. Even at that stage Hitler was talking about the rejuvenation
of the economy as "making Germany fit for military service again".
After President Hindenburg died in 1934, Hitler appointed himself to
the position of Reich President, and thus became "Führer and Reich
In 1935 the population of the Saar voted in a plebiscite to return to
Germany. In 1938 German troops marched into Austria. After a boycott
had been declared (on April 1st, 1933) on Jewish shops and
businesses, other repressive measures were taken against Jewish
citizens including the "Nuremberg Laws", which took away their
constitutional rights in 1935 and increasingly murderous pogroms.
Life for Jews in Germany became totally unbearable, and finally the
Wannsee Conference declared the "Final solution to the question of
the Jews"; the holocaust began.
On September 1st, 1939, the German Army invaded Poland, and the
second world war broke out. The construction industry took on a
particularly important role, working under the close supervision of
the Todt Organization to build defenses such as the Westwall and the
Atlantic Wall, as well as roads and railways over which the armed
forces could be deployed, and of course industrial plants. Towards
the end of the war the construction companies worked on the new
underground locations for armaments factories. After its initial
phase in 1939/40, the number of forced laborers working on these
projects increased enormously. From April 1943 onwards Germany was
forced more and more onto the defensive, and its armed forces finally
surrendered on May 8th, 1945.
HOCHTIEF -- After the depressed mood of the preceding years, the
Annual Reports from 1933 onwards at first started to reflect
optimistic future expectations. It was obviously Hitler's government
that gave rise to them. The favorable opinion that many people had of
Hitler can be seen in the fact that many members of the Supervisory
Board joined the Nazi Party after it had won the parliamentary
elections in March 1933. However, in 1933 not one member of the
Management Board was a Nazi party member; it was the "directors", the
hierarchical level immediately below the Board, who nearly all had a
party card. Nazi party membership was never a prerequisite for a seat
on the Supervisory or the Management Board. The management of
Hochtief was therefore not under any overall obligation to follow the
party line, and even the Jewish members of the Supervisory Board
remained in office until the "Nuremberg Laws" robbed all Jewish
citizens of their civil rights in 1935. In another case, however,
affecting a politically persecuted member, the Supervisory and
Management Boards took the view that he was a "liability", and he had
Eugen Vögler, the CEO, did not join the Nazi Party until 1937, which
was relatively late. He also made himself available to the Party
as "Führer" (leader) of the "Construction Industry Business Group"
and held an honorary position in the Hitler Youth. On the other hand
he protected an employee who was being persecuted as a Christian of
Jewish origin. Similarly he successfully resisted attempts by the
Labor Front - the Nazis' replacement for the trades unions they had
disbanded - to interfere in the company's internal affairs.
As early as March 1934 the expectations that Hochtief and other
construction companies had placed in a new stimulation of the
construction business appeared to be fulfilled, because that was when
work started on the Autobahn or super-highway network. Hochtief was
also involved in another major project, the national center for Nazi
Party rallies in Nuremberg. In 1936 Hochtief finally moved out of its
offices at Pferdemarkt in Essen and into a new head office building
in Rellinghauser Strasse, where it still has its headquarters. In
1937 work started on a leisure center at the beach resort of Prora,
on the Baltic island of Rügen, under the title of the Nazi party
slogan "Strength through Joy". In addition to this and other
buildings for the State and the Party, Hochtief also built many
industrial buildings. For instance a truck factory was built for the
Opel company in Brandenburg in record time in 1935. From 1936 onwards
the "Second 4-Year Plan" increasingly determined the speed of
construction work. Then it was said that within four years the German
Army would have reached combat readiness, and German industry would
have to be on a war footing within four years as well. In the years
that followed, orders of this kind increased at an unmistakable rate.
Once Germany had defeated France in 1940, work started on
the "Atlantic Wall", and Hochtief was involved in this as well, and
in "Operation Viking", which started in Norway in October 1941.
Hochtief also operated outside Germany, in countries that Germany had
occupied and others as well: Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary,
Austria and even Iran. These projects mainly involved traffic routes
and sometimes industrial buildings, but Hochtief also worked
on "buildings for the Führer" such as his mountain retreat in the
Bavarian Alps, called the Berghof, his "Wolf's lair" command
headquarters in Rastenburg (then in East Prussia, now Poland), and
the notorious Führerbunker in Berlin.
From 1939/1940 onwards Hochtief employed forced laborers on its
construction sites. Little is known about these projects or the men
who were forced to work on them because many documents have been lost
or destroyed. Another difficulty is that many of the construction
projects were carried out by consortia, so it is not possible to make
any reliable statement about the forced laborers whom Hochtief
deployed there. The information that is available can be seen in the
Corporation Chronicle, which appeared in October 2000.
Towards the end of the war construction work came to an almost
complete halt. The employees on the construction sites in Eastern
Europe fled for their lives as the Soviet troops advanced, and in
March 1945 the Hochtief head office was badly damaged in a dead hit
from a bomb.
HISTORY -- In 1945 the occupying powers took over the governing
powers in Germany and divided the country into four occupation zones.
In 1948 a currency reform was carried out in the western zones and
then in the "East Zone". Immediately after that the Soviet Union
blockaded Berlin, and the western allies responded with the Berlin
Air Lift. The division of Germany became clear in 1949. Konrad
Adenauer (1876-1967) was elected the first Chancellor of the Federal
Republic and Otto Grotewohl (1891-1964) the first Minister-President
of the "German Democratic Republic" (East Germany). The Berlin Wall,
first built in 1961, came to symbolize the division of Germany.
Just as political life had to be redesigned after the war, so too did
social and business life. Wartime damage was gradually repaired,
homes were built, roads and railways restored. Trade unions
reappeared, as did employers' associations, and they engaged in
fierce discussions over the Works Constitution Act, finally passed in
1952. This was the first occasion on which employees' representatives
found their way onto the Supervisory Boards of major corporations.
The decisive impetus to post-war reconstruction came from the
Marshall Plan, and people were soon starting to talk about an
economic miracle. The Federal Republic regained its sovereignty in
1955 and became a member of NATO in the same year. In the 1960s the
course was set for a modern social state. In 1961 the German
Parliament (the Bundestag) passed the Social Assistance Act and the
Capital Formation Act. After years in which the economy had grown by
leaps and bounds, the Federal Republic suffered its first economic
crises in 1966/1967. Unemployment grew steadily.
HOCHTIEF -- In 1945 Hochtief presented a picture of destruction. The
construction sites and branch operations east of the Oder-Neisse
Line, which from now on was to be the frontier between Germany and
Poland, all had to be abandoned: Königsberg, Danzig, Katowice and
Krakow. The same fate later befell the branch operations in the
Soviet occupation zone: Halle, Magdeburg and Leipzig. The CEO, Eugen
Vögler, had to flee from the occupying authorities. Artur Konrad
(1882-1970) took over the management of the company until 1950, when
he was succeeded by Josef Müller (1893-1981).
Employees returned to their homes from all directions. Under the
difficult conditions prevailing in defeated, war-torn Germany, they
tried to organize everyday life again. Their cities were bombed to
pieces and flooded with refugees driven out of former German
territories in Eastern Europe, and the majority of the German
population regarded itself as victims; they were not interested in
discussions about "war guilt", the destruction of the Jews or any of
the Nazis' other crimes.
There was a universal shortage not only of food, but also of
construction material, machinery and workers. Most of the Hochtief
branch offices had been damaged or destroyed in air raids. Much of
the building machinery and tools had been stolen or were useless.
Necessity, however, is the mother of invention and one Hochtief
engineer set up a kind of mining operation with an excavator he had
rescued from somewhere and extracted brown coal (lignite) at two
locations, Bülitz on the River Elbe and Delliehausen (near
Göttingen). The quality, however, was so poor that people called
it "combustible potting-earth". Nevertheless, the business made
sufficient profit for him to acquire a vacant lot in Hanover on which
a Hochtief office was built.
Despite all the problems, Hochtief employees resumed work, and the
first job after the war was to clear away the rubble and to make at
least minimal repairs to roads and buildings. Orders for new
buildings were a complete exception. It was not until the currency
reform and the introduction of the Deutschmark in 1948 that any great
improvement appeared in the order books, but then the "economic
miracle" or wartime recovery started to affect Hochtief as well.
Homes and factories and of course office blocks had to be built. One
of the very early major contracts went to Hochtief after the war for
the construction of the Bonn University Hospital on the Venusberg
From 1951 the Hochtief Management Board tried to resurrect its
foreign business, which had lain fallow since the war, and a start
was made with the building of the Nile bridge at Mansourah in Egypt
(1951-1952). Hochtief also received orders from Turkey, and in 1952
work started on the construction of the Sariyar hydroelectric plant
and in 1953 on the Izmir power station. In 1954 Hochtief took shares
in a harbor-building company in Kandla (India).
In 1955 relationships with Egypt were strengthened with the
construction of a smelting works in Helena. Many foreign projects
were carried out as development aid. From 1962 Wilhelm Hartman (1908-
1974) systematically built up the foreign business. The
transplantation of the rock temples of Abu Simbel (1963-1968) in
Egypt gave Hochtief an international reputation.
HISTORY -- The Grand Coalition ruled for only three years and was
replaced by a coalition of Social Democrats and Liberals. The German
Parliament elected Willy Brandt (1913-1992) as its new Federal
Chancellor. He resigned in 1974 in connection with the arrest of his
close assistant, Günther Guillaume (1927-1995), on spying charges.
Helmut Schmidt (1918-) took over the office of Federal Chancellor.
His coalition of Social Democrats and Liberals collapsed in 1982, and
Helmut Kohl (1930-) took over the position of Chancellor. His
government, formed by the Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian
sister-party, the Christian Social Union, was replaced in 1998 by a
coalition of Socialists and Environmentalists headed by the Federal
Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (1944-).
One important goal of the Socialist-Liberal coalition in 1971 was to
find a new basis for German-German relations. In 1972 the two German
states undertook by treaty to maintain a good neighborly relationship
on the basis of the equal rights of both states. They mutually
recognized the border between them. In the same year it proved
possible to sign the Traffic Treaty, which made it easier for West
Germans to travel to East Germany and vice versa.
The Federal Republic was hit by the oil crisis in the 1970s. The
numbers of the unemployed rose for the first time since the second
world war to more than a million. The oil crisis enabled the
environmental protection movement to gain a hearing. Staring as a
series of regional citizens' action groups, a national party emerged
in the early 1980s generally known as The Greens.
The last few years in German history have been totally dominated by
the ramifications of reunification. The General Secretary of the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev (1931-), took
the path of perestroika and glasnost ("transparency" and "reform").
When, as part of his reforms, the border was opened between Hungary
and Austria, many East German citizens seized the opportunity to
escape to the West. This refugee movement was followed by mass
protests. On November 9th, 1989, the Berlin Wall lost all
significance as East and West Berliners started dancing on it. At the
diplomatic level the so-called "Two-plus-Four Agreement" (the two
Germanys and the four victorious wartime powers) governed the terms
of the reunification of the two States.
HOCHTIEF -- In 1966 the terms "concern" and "service-provider"
indicated that a change was taking place in Hochtief. The development
of Hochtief into a "concern" - a group of companies with consolidated
accounts - proceeded unobtrusively and was initially nothing more
than a formality, primarily of importance only to the accountants. In
actual fact the establishment of a consolidated Group was
necessitated by an amendment to the Aktiengesetz, the German Act
governing the structure of companies of this status, in 1965.
In addition to this mainly formal change, a tendency to take on
broader construction tasks started to emerge in the 1960s and proved
to be significant to the step-by-step development of Hochtief "from
the master-builder to the system leader". The beginnings of this
development were typified by the terms "turnkey projects", "general
contractor" and "service provider". The first Hochtief project
undertaken within the meaning of these terms was the Athens Hilton
Hotel (1961-1963) in Greece. The Hilton Hotel was followed by a large
number of other turnkey projects.
After the years of the economic miracle, the growth rates in the
German construction industry started to flatten out and as early as
1966 Hochtief's net income for the year was only slightly higher than
in the preceding year. The engine of positive development was still
the domestic German business, which from 1967 through 1975 stayed at
or above 80 percent, while foreign business only was recording slow
The oil crisis changed the relationship between domestic and foreign
business totally and forever. While the quadrupling of oil prices in
1973 unleashed a crisis in many industries, the construction industry
benefited from the unexpected wealth of the oil-exporting countries.
The 1975 Annual Report recorded an increase in foreign business and a
decline in domestic business. This trend continued until 1980, when
Hochtief's total construction output passed the DM 6 billion mark for
the first time, with its foreign business contributing more than
half. The construction of Jeddah Airport in Saudi Arabia (1974-1981)
contributed significantly to this result as the biggest single
contract Hochtief had so far ever handled.
In the 1980s, however, the foreign business crumbled away visibly,
but Hochtief managed to remain stable by expanding its domestic
business. One aesthetically ambitious building at this time was the
Torhaus in Frankfurt am Main, completed in 1984. After the lean years
from 1986 through 1988, Hochtief started once again to report clear
HISTORY -- The formal reunification of Germany came about at a
breathtaking speed in the summer of 1990. In May the "People's
Chamber", which was the East German parliament, approved measures
under which the six East German States would apply to join the
Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) under Article 23 of the
(West) German Constitution. The treaty on currency union came into
force very soon after that, in July, and the Treaty of Union was
signed in August. In September the two German nations and the four
victorious wartime powers (the USA, the United Kingdom, the Soviet
Union, and France) signed the "Treaty governing the final regulation
of Germany" in Moscow. In the fall Helmut Kohl won the first Federal
elections in the reunited Germany. Then on June 20th, 1991, the
Bundestag declared Berlin to be Germany's new capital city. It was
not until 1998 that the German Social Democratic Party came to power
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