Good day everyone. I have been super busy with everything except photography & blogging for the last while. We are looking forward to our upcoming trip to South Africa – our visit home is definitely welcome in this cold Canadian winter! Today I have a guest/feature post from GoEuro which I hope you will enjoy!! :) **
(This article is not written by me and I was not paid to feature this article)
Berlin is a city characterized by its history – from the opulent castles of Potsdam to the gritty industrial clubs of Kreuzberg, there is much to discern of the city’s incredible past in its landmarks. Scratching beneath the surface will leave visitors in awe at what they uncover: the city is replete with unrecorded stories and mysteries that are bound to tug at their imagination – and there is no better place to begin to unravel these hidden histories than in the city’s many abandoned buildings.
1.) Flughafen Berlin-Tempelhof
An abandoned airport that has since been transformed into a park, Tempelhofer Park is the most accessible and visitor-friendly of Berlin’s abandoned sites. Originally built in 1922, Tempelhof Airport was subject to a turbulent history that mirrored the history of the area during the 20th century. After various closures, re-openings, rebuildings, and re-appropriations, Tempelhof was finally closed in 2008, after the opening of Schoenefeld Airport.
Today, it is popular as a huge open area in the middle of the city, with much of the former airport facilities being re-appropriated for recreational purposes. The old runways are now popular for rollerskating and cycling, the huge expanses of grass are popular for kite-flying and summer picnics, and visitors to the park can stroll around the outside of the old airport terminal or find the remains of an old airplane scattered amidst the trees.
Located in the middle of a park in the old East Berlin neighbourhood of Treptow-Köpenick, Spreepark is a relic of the area’s GDR days. Originally opened in 1969, Spreepark was the only consistent entertainment park in the GDR, and the only one in the entirety of Berlin. It remained open until 2001, until, despite attracting more than 1.5 million visitors annually during its height, it was eventually closed due to a series of accidents and a foiled Peruvian drug-smuggling scheme.
It now lies in a bureaucratic stasis, and, left to rot among the foliage of the park around it, it is slowly being taken back by nature. Garish rides stare out from the grasp of thick vines, huge plastic swans float on fake ponds riddled with algae, and the rides themselves creak and groan, coming alive in the wind. While some prefer to jump the fence and risk being caught by the security guards patrolling the site, guided tours are offered on a limited basis.
Lying just outside of Berlin, this hospital was opened in 1902 as a massive tuberculosis sanatorium and nursing home. Playing witness to the political turbulence and violence of the next 100 years, the building underwent numerous expansions and changes, becoming a military hospital during both World Wars until it was eventually taken over by the USSR after WWII.
Finally abandoned in 2000, the beautiful site is riddled with ghosts – thousands of injured young soldiers (including a young Hitler, who was treated here during WWI) have passed through its now empty hallways, giving visitors the feeling that there are interrupted stories that linger here, remaining in the same graceful state of decay as the building that holds them.
4.) Abandoned Iraqi Embassy
This former Iraqi embassy to East Germany – a role that fell into obsolescence around the same time as the Berlin wall – is a massive site that now lies in disuse due to a diplomatic loophole between the Iraqi government, the former GDR government, and the current German government. Basically, while the current German government owns the land, the former GDR government guaranteed the Iraqi government special rights to the building, and now, despite the Iraqi embassy having a new building in Berlin, nobody will go near it.
However, this provides a great opportunity for urban explorers, who will find plenty to dig through during a trip into the building. It remains full of abandoned furniture and documents – mostly in Arabic – giving the impression that whoever was there left in an awful hurry.
This huge site is a defunct Nazi/Russian military complex that was opened by the Germans in 1937, taken over by Soviet forces in 1945, and then finally abandoned in 1992. It consists of more than 50 buildings, some of which look as though they haven’t been touched since WWII and feature a mix of Nazi and Soviet imagery, with some of the Nazi imagery being replaced by the Soviets when they took over.
Throughout the complex you will find offices, toilets, kitchens, dormitories, meeting rooms, and even some old Russian graffiti – pieces of a life and a community now long since abandoned. However, if you can find it, the real highlight is a striking ceiling mosaic of the Nazi Eagle.
Jayme Collins, originally from Kelowna, Canada, now lives in Berlin and works for GoEuro, a new multi-mode travel search engine. In her spare time she enjoys exploring Berlin’s haunting history and abandoned sites.
(Please let me know if you would like to see an article like this one every now & then! – You know, just to satisfy your craving for travel-related knowledge & tidbits! Also, please visit GoEuro & see how you could benefit from it on your next Europe trip!)