“I’m a little creeped out…”
If you would finish this phrase with “…and I love it!” then you definitely want to read on…
A tumultuous history of war, separation and upheaval has shaped Berlin it into an urban explorer’s playground. There is no shortage of abandoned, haunting spaces spread across the city. Ciaràn Fahey, author of Abandoned Berlin and otherwise known as “Der Irische Berliner” sat down with the Local to list his favorite forgotten spots.
And keep in mind that trespassing is forbidden in some of these places. Enter at your own risk.
In its heyday, Spreepark (first known as Kulturpark Plänterwald) was East Germany’s only amusement park, attracting up to 1.5 million visitors a year. It first opened in October 1969, and stood until the fall of the Berlin Wall twenty years later. The park was revamped by private investor Norbert Witte and opened under a new name (Spreepark) after 1989. A combination of factors (including possible drug smuggling in ride equipment by Witte) led to the closure of the park in 2001, where it was forgotten and left to rot.
The star of the show was the Spreepark Ferris Wheel, which you can still see today. Ruins of fallen dinosaurs, roller coasters, a Wild West town, and psychedelic cats create an eerie atmosphere that was even featured in the film Hanna.
Former Nazi college, turned Allied spy station was the feature of a previous article here. It’s no doubt that the deep history—literally, the place is built on a mountain made of rubble standing 120 meters above sea level—has added to its haunted appearance.
Today, it’s an artists haven, one of the largest street art galleries in Berlin and the perfect spot quench your thirst for urban exploration.
Deep into the Brandenburg forest lays the lost city of Vogelsang. Home to the Soviet military personnel and their family after the Second-World War, the locals were never allowed near it. And today, they want it to slowly slip back into the earth.
It was where the Soviets once held atomic weapons ready for Western Europe. Today, the site stands empty. Ruins of schools, shops and barracks sit motionless.
According to Fahey, “there were some great murals and statues around the place, but now the local forestry board is knocking it all down so the forest can reclaim it.”
This one may be the creepiest yet. The expansive former medical center (in German: Beelitz-Heilstätten) spreads across hundreds of acres and more than 60 buildings. Some were lucky enough to be restored, others, left to decay. Today, what’s left is a mix of decrepit rooms oozing with the remnants of disinfectant, rusting bed frames, rubble-covered floors and plenty of stories to tell.
It first opened in the last 1800s for Berliners suffering from Tuberculosis. Beelitzer was enlarged in 1928 to include surgery, and served as a military hospital during World War II. The Russians took it over in 1945, where it remained active until 1994.
Some of its most famous guests? Adolf Hitler was treated here during World War I, and Erich Honecker, the leader of the GDR, was a patient here in 1990, after forced dismissal from the Sociality Unity Party. And, if that wasn’t creepy enough, it’s also been the site of a few murders.