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Hiroshima's Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Park and Museum

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial, also called the Atomic Bomb Dome or simply A-Bomb Dome, was one of the only things left standing after the atomic blast obliterated most of the city and claimed some 280,000 victims instantly and from its aftereffects. Its skeletal ruins, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, have been left as a visual reminder of the horrors of war and as a plea for peace.

Across the river is Peace Memorial Park, where some 50 statues and memorials pay homage to those who died. These include the Flame of Peace and the Children's Peace Monument where Japanese schoolchildren leave streamers of origami paper cranes. Peace Memorial Museum is dedicated to telling the story of Hiroshima before, during and after World War II and also of the dangers of nuclear weapons. Personal artifacts and short biographies of victims, as well as survivor accounts, vividly portray the tragedy of war. Today, Hiroshima is a major advocate for peace, most exemplified by its annual Peace Memorial Ceremony held on August 6.