Urban Exploring has become quite a mainstream activity over the years, thanks to its ever growing presence and popularity on sites like youtube, reddit and even tiktok. Even this website contributes to people gaining interest in exploring abandoned factories, soviet military bases and train stations and finding out more about their history. Of course even the city of Berlin has jumped in on the action to cash in on its abandoned places. And to be honest I can’t really blame them. The demand is there, and Tourists, Photographers and Urbexers will come and explore the ruins that this city has to offer.
We frequently get mails with all sorts of questions which prompted us to write up a little Urbex FAQ – but by far the most frequent question we get is about abandoned places in Berlin; what places to visit, where to find them and so on. Based on this, we decided to write up a little list of “abandoned places” in and around Berlin that you can legally visit, without the risk of harming yourself or falling on the wrong side of the law.
- Legal, Illegal and Grey-Area Urban Exploring
- Legal Urbex locations in Berlin
- 1. Teufelsberg
- 2. Flakturm Humboldthain
- 3. Checkpoint Bravo
- Legal Lost Places close to Berlin
- 1. Beelitz Heilstätten
- 2. Truppenübungsplatz Döberitz
- 3. Heilstätte Grabowsee
- 4. Bunker Wünsdorf Zeppelin | Bunkeranlage Maybach
- 5. Lager Koralle
- 6. Haus der Offiziere Wünsdorf
- 10 Urbex locations in Berlin you can’t visit
- 1. Spreepark Berlin
- 2. The abandoned Iraqi Embassy
- 3. The Siemensbahn
- 4. BVG Freibad Lichtenberg
- 5. The Eisfabrik
- 6. Bärenquell Brauerei
- 7. The 1936 Berlin Olympic Village
- 8. Ballhaus Grünau
- 9. Blub Badeparadies
- 10. Kinderkrankenhaus Weißensee
- Urban Exploring in Berlin and Brandenburg
Legal, Illegal and Grey-Area Urban Exploring
Before we get into the lost and abandoned places Berlin has to offer, we just wanted to briefly explain the legality of urban exploring. We do explain this on our FAQ Page, but it’s worth reiterating here again. Urban Exploring in itself isn’t illegal. But – and that’s a very big but – there is a grey area and there are definitely actions that make this hobby illegal.
Entering buildings and structures without the owners explicit permission is in most cases at least a misdemeanour. You may only explore lost places on someone else’s property if you have explicit permission to do so. In Germany, if you access private property without legal permission – you are trespassing according the Article § 123. And this is just the base charge. Depending on if you force entry, damage property or even steal (a sad but true reality that happens far too often), the legal charges and their ramifications will vary. The police or relevant authorities do not care if you couldn’t find the owner to ask permission or any other excuse you may have.
Another point worth adding is that along with the legal risk, exploring abandoned buildings (legally and illegally) also carries a significant safety risk. There are enough newspaper stories out there which document explorers being arrested, injured while falling through floors and even being shot. Of course accidents can always happen, but exploring locations through legal tours and/or with the owners permission, you can significantly mitigate the risk of injury (or even death).
Legal Urbex locations in Berlin
Berlin has changed dramatically over the last years. While the city has always been a construction zone, it seems like commercial development has really picked up over the past 10 years. When we first started exploring lost places in Berlin, there was a plethora of places to be discovered – but now many of them have either been converted, torn down, or set on fire.
There have been serious movements by organisations and business to protect historic buildings though, and thanks to them we can legally explore, photograph and enjoy them without any negative consequences. The following list is by no means complete or definitive – but it should give you a good overview of what you can legally explore in Berlin. Some of the tour organizers mentioned below also offer tours for other locations in Berlin, so it’s definitely worth checking out their websites.
And before you ask – but what about the Spreepark?! Scroll down to the end of this list and you’ll find it mentioned in places you can’t visit anymore with an explanation why.
The list of legal urbex locations in Berlin is a little bit short and less “thrilling” but hey – the reality is there aren’t that many places left that you can legally access these days. Most have either been demolished or (thankfully) been renovated. Its better to be honest and present an accurate list, rather than pad it with places that either don’t exist anymore or you can’t legally get into anymore. If you’d like a little bit more inspiration what you can do off the beaten track, check out our Urban Exploring page (or the dedicated Sub Categories like Berlin, Brandenburg and Oranienburg)
*At the time of writing – all mentioned locations were legally accessible through tours or other legal means. This is of course subject to change.
Starting off with quite possibly one of the most well known urbex locations in Berlin – the Teufelsberg. When the Nazis planned to transform Berlin into “Germania” the new capital of the German Reich – they had planned to construct an entire new University City in the district of Grunewald. Construction of a Wehrtechnische Fakultät (Military Technical College) began in 1937, but construction stalled and then ceased as the second world war progressed. The concrete shell of the building was completed but nothing else. After the war the cities rubble was dumped on top of the concrete shell, creating an artificial 120 meter high mountain.
In the early 1950s, the American Military placed a mobile air traffic monitoring station at the top, soon replacing it with fixed field station that was maintained by the NSA and was part of the surveillance program ECHELON. After German reunification, the Teufelsberg Listening Station had lost its military relevance and was used by the German Civilian Air Traffic Control until 1999. The property was bought by two Architects – Hartmut Gruhl and Hanfried Schütte in 1996, who had initially planned to build a hotel and other facilities but many subsequent plans to reuse and repurpose the former spy installation have failed and the property lay more or less abandoned for years. The Teufelsberg Spy Station was give a “protected heritage” status in 2018, securing its presence – at least on paper for years to come.
While The Teufelsberg Listening station was openly accessible for many years, the entire property has since been secured with a durable fence. You can legally visit the Teufelsberg though, as the owners have opened it up for tourism. The owners have worked together with street artists and turned the property into an open air street art gallery of sorts, which has increased its popularity among the instagram crowd.
Teufelsberg Address, Opening Times and Prices
The Covid crisis has affected the opening times of the Teufelsberg, so it’s best to check the website if visits are currently allowed (As of June 2021, the Teufelsberg is open). Opening Times are from Wednesday through Sunday, from 11am until Sunset. Last entry is one hour before sunset.
Tickets are available at the gate for €7 (Students pay €5), but it’s cash only. No cards accepted.
The address of the Teufelsberg is Teufelsseechaussee 10, 14193 Berlin. Getting there is relatively easy as you can just the S-Bahn to either Heerstraße station or the Grunewald Station. The walk from either station is about 30 minutes. If you have a car, you can drive directly up mountain and park on the property for €2.
Non Commercial Photography is allowed on the premises for free. Commercial photographers have to enquire with the company.
2. Flakturm Humboldthain
Flakturm Humboldthain History
A year after the beginning of the second world war in Europe, the Nazis quickly realized that Berlin might not be as invulnerable as they had hoped after the RAF started its first air raid on Berlin in 1940. By personal order of Adolf Hitler, the Nazis began with the planning of Flak Towers, which not only served as large anti aircraft defense towers, but also as civilian bunkers. Three Flaktürme were built in Berlin – in the Tiergarten (also known as the Zoobunker), Friedrichshain and Humboldthain.
The Flakturm Humboldthain was built between 1941 and 1942, and ended up being 40 meters high, and 70 by 70 meters wide. At the end of the World War II, the French Military tried to blow up the concrete structure, but the Nazis had built a rather durable structure. While they managed to significantly damage the bunker and demolish parts of it, the majority of the structure survived the explosion (the Soviets had a similar experience with the Flakturm Friedrichshain). The authorities decided to – just as the with the Teufelsberg and the Flakturm Friedrichshain – cover up the structure with 1.4 million cubic meters of rubble and be done with it.
Flakturm Humboldthain Today
While the majority of the Flakturm Humboldthain has been covered in earth and rubble, the top of the Flak installation is still (freely) accessible and offers a nice view over the park and the city. A fantastic organisation called Berliner Unterwelten has been researching, documenting and preserving Berlin’s “underground” heritage for the past 23 year. They offer tours through a multitude of Berlin’s Bunkers and underground tunnels, including the interior of the Flakturm Humboldthain.
Flakturm Humboldthain Address, Opening Times and Prices
As with all Public tours at the moment, tours with the Berliner Unterwelten had been suspended due to Covid, but seem to be operating again with some slight restrictions.
There are multiple types of tours into the Flakturm Humboldthain – but as new dates are currently not published yet, its best to check the website. The larger tour happens every fourth Tuesday of the month between April and September (the months are restricted as to not disturb the nesting bats in the bunker).
Ticket Prices for the small tour are €15, and the tour lasts roughly 90 minutes. ), Tickets for the large tour cost €52 and last 2 1/2 hours. Again, its best to check the website for the latest news.
The address of the Flakturm Humboldthain is Hochstraße 5, 13357 Berlin. Getting there is super easy as its located right next to the S and U-bahn Station Gesundbrunnen.
Be aware that if you are taking one of the Berliner Unterwelten Tours, the rules state that you are not allowed to do any photography, regardless if its commercial or private. It’s always worth a shot asking them privately beforehand if there is some leeway – but there’s no guarantee.
3. Checkpoint Bravo
Checkpoint Bravo History
Article: Checkpoint Bravo
While most people might be familiar with the infamous Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, but this was only one of 3 Allied Checkpoints in Berlin. The other two checkpoints – which both predate Checkpoint Charlie by a good 16 years are the Checkpoint Alpha and the Checkpoint Bravo. The Americans set up the Checkpoint Bravo on a Autobahn Bridge over the Teltowkanal which connected to the A115 Autobahn (previously known as the AVUS).
The Checkpoint Bravo proved to be a complicated issue for the DDR, as the Border and the highway leading up to the Checkpoint wasn’t a straightforward affair. The highway crossed in and out of East German Territory for over 3km. Since the DDR wanted to avoid an uncontrolled passage through its territory between West Berlin and the Checkpoint, they decided to build a new highway and shut down the old section in 1969. The Checkpoint Bravo was torn down and a new Checkpoint was built on and under the Bridge spanning over the newly built autobahn. This is how we ended up with 2 different Checkpoint Bravos.
Checkpoint Bravo Today
There’s not much left of the old Checkpoint Bravo, but it’s an interesting spot to visit – especially as there’s a lot of history the be found along the way (like the abandoned Friedhofsbahn). The “new Checkpoint Bravo which spans over the Autobahn, along with the Custom Booths and Restaurant still stand as well. The Customs Both is used by the German Customs Office for Trucks these days.
Checkpoint Bravo Address, Opening Times and Prices
The original Checkpoint Bravo is located at Albrechts Teerofen 14109 Berlin, Wannsee and can be easily accessed along the Berlin Wall path (Berliner Mauerweg). The “new” Checkpoint Bravo is located at Potsdamer Chaussee 62, 14109 Berlin. Both locations are essentially open 24 hours a day, as you can only see the buildings from the outside.
Legal Lost Places close to Berlin
While Berlin has a fairly limited amount of legal urbex locations, its surroundings has a lot to offer – more than one could practically fit in this list. The lost places in Brandenburg offer an interesting mix of guided tours, treetop walkways, and a whole plethora of abandoned military installations and bunkers left in the forest to be explored. We’ve listed the most easily accessible and safest tours available, but we also highly recommend that you check out our dedicated Urbex Brandenburg and Urbex Oranienburg Pages and see what the outskirts of Berlin have to offer. We can’t recommend Oranienburg enough, as it’s directly connected to Berlin via S-Bahn and has a lot of easily accessible and open war relics that can be explored.
1. Beelitz Heilstätten
Beelitz Heilstätten History
The Beelitz Heilstätten is quite possibly one of the most well known urbex locations outside of Berlin. Built in three phases between 1889 and 1930, the Pulmonary sanatorium consisted of over 60 buildings across 200 hectares of land. The clinic was divided up into a Mens and Womens section ( Männer-Heilstätten und -Sanatorien and Frauen-Heilstätten und -Sanatorien), with northern complex dealing with lung diseases while the southern section dealt with non-contagious diseases.
The Sanatorium served as a military hospital during the first and second world war, and had the dubious honor of treating a young Adolf Hitler in 1916 after he was wounded during the battle of the somme. After the second world war, the Soviet Red Army occupied the Beelitz Heilstätten until 1994 and transformed it into the largest Soviet military hospital outside of the Soviet Union. While parts of the clinic saw renovation, the majority of it was left abandoned and in ruins due to the owners declaring bankruptcy in 2001.
Beelitz Heilstätten Today
While the Beelitz Heilstätten was long left abandoned and the property was more or less accessible for anyone that wanted, the new owners started securing and renovating the lung sanatorium in 2015. A treetop walkway was constructed over the Women’s Lung Clinic in late 2015, giving visitors a fantastic view over the forrest and the ruins below. The first new apartments were finished in 2017, though renovation and conversion work seem to be still be ongoing. While the majority of the buildings have been renovated, it is still possible to book tours through the ruins of the “Old Surgery” and the “Alpenhaus” (the former mess hall).
Beelitz Heilstätten Address, Opening Times and Prices
The address of the Beelitz Heilstätten – or ot be more precise the Baumkronenpfad Beelitz Heilstätten ist Straße nach Fichtenwalde 13, 14547 Beelitz-Heilstätten. It is very easy to reach via public transport or by car.
The opening times of the Baumkronenpfad are as follows:
|Month||Open Days||Opening Times|
|March||Daily||10:00 until Sunset|
|April to September||Daily||10:00 until 19:00|
|October and November||Daily||10:00 until Sunset|
|December to February||Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday||10:00 until 16:00|
Adult tickets cost €13,50, while children between 7 and 17 pay €10, and children under 6 are free. The various tours costs between €10 and €15. As with all public tours during the Covid crisis, opening times and tour availability might be severely restricted – though the Baumkronenpfad appears to have reopened as of the 21st of May, 2021.
2. Truppenübungsplatz Döberitz
Truppenübungsplatz Döberitz History
Article: Truppenübungsplatz Döberitz
The Döberitzer Heide – a forested area to the west of Berlin had been used as a military training area since the 18th Century. The Döberitz Aviation School was set up in 1910 – and since the Luftwaffe wasn’t a separate military branch yet, it fell under the command of the army. Döberitz is the origin of all (German) Army aviation, as well as the air force of the Empire.
From 1910 onwards, flight tests were also undertaken in Döberitz and the air base was expanded with several aircraft barracks and a larger airfield. It was the central training and test site of the newly established Luftwaffe. In 1914, the Fliegerbataillion Nr. 1 was stationed here – under which the fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen (The Red Baron) was trained. Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, “modern” combat units were trained and organized there. The sandy, dry soil of the heath made it an ideal training area for heavy artillery and tanks, while the Döberitz Airbase was used to train pilots and paratroopers. In 1936, the Regiment General Göring was formed and trained here – and the infamous “Legion Condor” set off from here on its way to fight in the Spanish Civil war.
From 1942 until 1945 – high speed aircraft and thermobaric weapons were developed and tested here until the base was evacuated.After briefly being used as a refugee camp, the Soviet troops moved in and occupied the area in 1947. The airfield was in use until the mid 1950s – but was then transformed into a training area for infantry troops in 1968. The aircraft hangers were converted into missile storages and a launchpad was maintained until 1972. At one point over 20,000 Soviet troops were stationed at the Truppenübungsplatz Döberitz. With the end of the Soviet occupation and withdrawal of its troops in 1991, the base was left abandoned.
Truppenübungsplatz Döberitz Today
While all the military barracks and bunkers have been demolished – the area is littered with their remnants. The leveled airfield was turned into a wild animal reserve in 2004 by the Heinz Sielmann Foundation, while the training area was turned into a nature park in 1997. Here and there you’ll see brick walls peeking through the dense forest, and the rubble from demolished bunkers still litter the countryside. There’s also a nice observation tower in Finkenberg from which on a clear day you can see as far as the Alexanderplatz and Teufelsberg.
Truppenübungsplatz Döberitz Address, Opening Times and Prices
The Döberitzer Heide Nature Park is freely accessible to all who visit it. The nature park itself is over 3600 hectares in size, so there’s no “single” entrance. If you’re coming from Berlin, getting to the Döberitzer Heide is relatively easy. A simple ABC Ticket and a 20 minute Train ride will drop you off in Dallgow-Döberitz. From there it’s a brisk walk through town to get to the entrance of the nature park. It’s also from this entrance where we encountered the most ruins – and if your lucky and look hard enough – you might even spot an abandoned Tram somewhere in the forest.
3. Heilstätte Grabowsee
Heilstätte Grabowsee History
Article: Heilstätte Grabowsee
With Tuberculosis Sanatoriums generally having been built in higher altitudes, the question came up if it was possible to treat patients in the flat lowlands of northern Germany – rather than having to send patients off to the Mediterranean or the alps of Switzerland. The Red Cross decided to put this medical question to the test and leased 20 hectares (for 50 years) of secluded woodland next to Grabowsee (Lake Grabow) on the outskirts of Oranienburg in 1896. During the First World War, the Heilstätte Grabowsee was opened up and used as a military hospital, and was used to house numerous prisoners of war. By the early 1940s, the Heilstätte Grabowsee was turned into a Reservelazarett (reserve hospital) of the Wehrmacht.
The Red Army took over the Heilstätte Grabowsee after the second world war and turned it into a military hospital, much like they did with Beelitz Heilstätten to the south of Berlin. The Soviets undertook some slight modifications, such as turning the morgue in the cellar into Sauna, and bricking up certain parts of the long connecting corridors. After the Soviets left, The Heilstätte Grabowsee was put under monument protection in 1994, but that didn’t really mean much – as the Sanatorium was left abandoned in the forest. While the Soviets had run the place down, it was still fully functional and habitable. That all changed over the next years.
Heilstätte Grabowsee Today
While the organization that leased the Heilstätte Grabowsee has done a considerable amount to slow collapse of the buildings, the majority of the property is in terrible shape. Almost all of the smaller outer buildings are completely rotten through and one would need a death wish to enter some of them, while the upper floors of the larger buildings are also showing signs of age. Beautiful details can still be found, but the overall experience is one of emptiness.
For those interested in street art, there’s an abundance to be found here. In September 2020, a Berlin based real estate company called “Gratus Immobilien AG” wanted to invest over 30 million euros into the project to build over 140 apartments on the grounds with work slated to begin in early spring of 2022. As of July 2022, it is still possible to legally visit the Heilstätte Grabowsee.
Heilstätte Grabowsee Address, Opening Times and Prices
The Heilstätte Grabowsee can be legally visited, simply e-mail or call the number on the Kids Globe website, and the friendly Mr. Hanke – who lives on the property with his Dog will set up an appointment with you. In general, it’s best to call 2 hours before you intend to show up. Visits aren’t free, the current rate is €30, while commercial photography etc. will set you back a bit more. Drones are explicitly prohibited. The address of the Heilstätte Grabowsee is: Malzer Weg 19 16515 Oranienburg (Schmachtenhagen).
4. Bunker Wünsdorf Zeppelin | Bunkeranlage Maybach
Bunker Wünsdorf Zeppelin History
Article: Bunker Wünsdorf Zeppelin
Wünsdorf (50 kilometers south of Berlin) traces its military history back to the 1870s, when Kaiser Wilhelm II established Prussia’s (at the time) largest military proving ground in the area. With the outbreak of the first world war, Wünsdorf and its military installations became the headquarters of the Deutsches Heer. After the treaty of Versailles – the Germany military temporarily gave up the Truppenübungsplatz Zossen.
The Weimar Republic had already stationed mechanized units in Wünsdorf by 1931, but the Nazis didn’t waste any time when they came to power, and seized the opportunity to expand and fortify preexisting military installations. More importantly, the Nazis had decided to make Wünsdorf the headquarters of the Oberkommando des Heeres. With Wünsdorf now the headquarters of the German Army, the Nazis began building fortified command bunkers, the Bunker Zeppelin and the Bunkeranlage Maybach. The Bunker Zeppelin served as the main communications Bunker, while the Maybach installation was for the individual staff departments.
From 1945 onwards, the Soviets made Wünsdorf the headquarters of the Group of Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany. While initially destroying or sealing the bunkers, they decided reactivate the Zeppelin Bunker in the late 1950s. They unsealed the bunker and attempted to make it Nuclear Bomb Proof and then turned it into the main communications bunker (Codename Ranet) of the High Command of the Group of Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany.
By 1994, the former Soviet Army had left Wünsdorf and handed over the empty Bunkers to the German Government.
Bunker Wünsdorf Zeppelin Today
Around the early 2000’s, the military area including the Zeppelin Bunker and the Maybach I bunkers came into hands of the Bücherstadt-Tourismus GmbH, which manages the property and has opened up the Bunkers for tours. While the Bunkers are not freely accessible, the owners organize regular tours through the property and into the Bunkers. Wünsdorf itself has a huge amount of history to be explored – there are dozens of abandoned bunkers throughout the town, and there quite a few bunkers and even an abandoned training tank hidden in the forest behind the city.
Bunker Wünsdorf Zeppelin Address, Opening Times and Prices
The Bücherstadt-Tourismus GmbH runs several types of tours, which range between 1 hour and roughly 4,5 hours in length, Tour prices start at €12 per person (and can go up to €30 depending on the tour type). Tours are done throughout the year – but some tours require a registration beforehand which is best done via phone.
The contact phone number for the Bücherstadt-Tourismus GmbH is +49 (0) 33 702 – 96 00. Despite the Covid19 crisis, tours are operating again, though with reduced group sizes. The office of the Bücherstadt-Tourismus GmbH is right outside the entrance of the Bunker Zeppelin area, and the address is: Zehrensdorfer Str. 12 15806 Zossen, Wünsdorf-Waldstadt.
5. Lager Koralle
Lager Koralle History
Article: Lager Koralle
With the experience that the Nazis gained with the construction of the Bunker Zeppelin, they set in motions the plans to construct the secret bunker complex for the German Navy Command. Construction of the Lager Koralle (Coral) began in 1939, in the forest of Lobetal just 20km north of Berlin.
It’s worth mentioning that the Lager Koralle – aside from being a bomb proof secret headquarters for the Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine – was also the main transmission base for the Nazi U-Boot fleet. The Lager Koralle was completed (from an operational perspective) by the end of 1942 and at its peak employed over 1000 people in and around the complex.
The Soviet Red Army took over the Lager Koralle on the 22nd of April 1945, and began demolishing (aka blowing up) the Hochbunker and the Lagebunker with old mines and leftover explosives (which still contaminate the ground today). The area was then used by East German Police Units, specifically the 17th, 18th and 19th Volkspolizei to train in urban warfare tactics. In the early 1970s, specialists of the 20th Guards Army (which was already heavily deployed in the area around Eberswalde) converted the bunker into Command Message Center.
The former Submarine Command Communications bunker had now been reconverted into a similar use – but now it was being used so Moscow could keep in contact with its forces that were stationed around the GDR. When the Soviets moved out of the Lager Koralle, they handed it back over to the German state which – as with so many former Nazi turned Soviet Military installations – had no military use for it.
Lager Koralle Today
The areas with the Lagezimmerbunker and the Luftschutzbunker as essentially publicly accessible – but the Fernmeldebunker and the area around are still managed by the Brandenburgische Boden-Gesellschaft under the authority of the State of Brandenburg. Over the years, vandals and idiots have made their way into the bunker – more often than not with force, damaging the entrance, ripping out cables and stealing leftover technical equipment.
A group of military and radio historians have spent that past decade (and more) exploring, documenting and caring for the area and have legal access to the Lager Koralle. They are continuously working on gaining as much knowledge about the Lager Koralle as well as getting funding and possible monument heritage protection for the area.
Lager Koralle Address, Opening Times and Prices
The ruins of the Lagezimmerbunker and the Luftschutzbunker as well as an assortment of smaller structures in the forest are freely accessible by anyone that seeks them out. It is worth pointing out though that the bunker ruins can be dangerous and one should be careful exploring what’s left of them. The underground Fernmeldebunker is not publicly accessible, and neither is the property that it sits on.
Team Delta, which has permission from the state of Brandenburg to document and essentially safeguard the property occasionally runs tours which also explore the underground bunker (but these are very rare). It’s worth checking out their website and getting in touch with them. The generall address of the Lager Koralle is: Lager Koralle 16359 Wandlitz 52.738820, 13.574131 (Geo Coordinates).
6. Haus der Offiziere Wünsdorf
Heeressportschule Wünsdorf History
The Heeressportschule in Wünsdorf traces its origins back to the years 1914 -1916, when the german military decided to establish the headquarters of the Reichsheer in Wünsdorf. It was in the early years of the first world war that the military built the “Militärturnanstalt” (literally Military Gymnastics School).
With the large scale demilitarisation of Germany after World War I, the german military briefly gave up the Truppenübungsplatz Zossen and many of its installation ins Wünsdorf, but it didn’t take long for rearmament in the area to pick up again. While the Weimar Republic had already stationed a low number of mechanized units in Wünsdorf in the early 1930s, the Nazis decided to ramp up its rearmament plans and stationed the Panzer-Regiment 1, the 3rd Panzer Division as well as the Heereskraftfahrschule in the Stammlager Zossen and in Wünsdorf. At the same time, the Nazis decided to to make Wünsdorf the headquarters of the Oberkommando des Heeres.
After the second world war, the Group of Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany (later known as the Western Group of Forces) picked Wünsdorf as its headquarters – turning it into the largest soviet garrison outside of the Soviet Union, and sealing it off from everyone aside from outsiders, earning itself the nickname “the forbidden city”. The former Heeressportschule was turned into the “Haus der Offiziere” by the soviets, an officers casino with a cinema, theater, mess hall and other amenities.
Haus der Offiziere Wünsdorf Today
The Soviets outstayed their welcome in Wünsdorf until they finally decided to go back home in 1994. As with all other former Soviet Military installations in East Germany, the property was handed over the newly unified German state. The German government didn’t really have a clue what to
With the dozens of buildings they now owned in Wünsdorf, so they essentially just rotted away. In recent years, the city of Wünsdorf has made a considerable effort to redevelop the abandoned soviet properties, turning one of the large administration buildings into a refugee center, while renovating dozens of apartments and making them livable again. The Haus der Offiziere Wünsdorf is still languishing in its abandoned state and many of its buildings have fallen into serious disrepair (the roof of the former swimming pool is at risk of collapsing).
Haus der Offiziere Wünsdorf Address, Opening Times and Prices
The former Heeressportschule Wünsdorf and the buildings on the compound are guarded and secured by a large fence and security cameras. The building has an allure that attracts many urbexers and tourists alike, though sadly more than a few have left their marks on the property. The buildings in Wünsdorf can be legally visited, the most common route is through the “tour” operator Go2Know, who offer a slew of legal tours in lost places (and who I can recommend). They’ve got set dates that can be booked through their website to the tune of €70.
Of course, you can also talk to one of the security guards at the gate and pay them a slightly smaller free to get legal access to the property. All at your own risk. There is a nearby – semi abandoned stadium that was used by the Soviet Troops which is also interesting to look at, but only if one is passing by.
The address of the Haus der Offiziere in Wünsdorf is Hauptallee 117, 15806 Zossen.
10 Urbex locations in Berlin you can’t visit
We can guarantee that almost every listicle about Abandoned Places and Urbex Locations in Berlin (even recently published ones) contains at least one of the places mentioned below. But to be frank, these articles are clickbait selling people half truths (at best), and are essentially just copy pasting what everyone else has written, without actually having visited the sites or kept tabs on their status.
If you read through the reasons below why you can’t visit them anymore, you’ll notice that’s because most of them don’t even exist anymore (in their abandoned state that is) as they’ve either been refurbished or torn down. Of course this list could be a lot longer, as so many places have vanished over the years, but we’ve picked out the most frequently mentioned locations to give you a current status update. A gentle reminder at the end, aside from the Spreepark and the Olympic Village – none of these locations could be visited legally without the permission of the property owner.
1. Spreepark Berlin
Status: Currently being renovated and set to reopen in 2026.
Quite possibly the best known “abandoned” location in Berlin, it’s probably also one of the main reasons why Urbex has become a tourist thing in Berlin. The park shut down in 2002, but official tours through the closed park were offered from 2010 onwards. As of March 2021, the city of Berlin has decided to renovate and remodel the park, including the giant ferris wheel. The giant ferris wheel has since been deconstructed and the park has been closed and no tours re being offered anymore. The newly renovated Spreepark – including the ferris wheel is set to reopen to the public in the year 2026. As of 2022, public tours through the (still in renovation) Spreepark are available on Saturdays and Sundays until the end of October 2022. Tickets costs €5 per adult and €3 for children. More information can be found on the Spreepark website.
2. The abandoned Iraqi Embassy
Status: Boarded up and secured. Set to be renovated, date unclear.
Article: The abandoned Iraqi Embassy
The abandoned Iraqi Embassy of East Germany used to be one of the more popular urbex spots in Berlin, but even at the height of its urbex fame around the year 2012-2013 – it was mostly just a vandalized ruin. What many websites won’t mention is that as of 2019-2020, the Iraqi Embassy has actually reclaimed the building and wants to turn it into a cultural institute. While it hasn’t been renovated yet, the property has been cleaned and more serious efforts have been made to seal off the building more securely. They have also announced that they will prosecute any tressparers.
3. The Siemensbahn
Status: The line is being reactivated. Construction work began in 2019 and it set to be completed by 2030.
Article: The abandoned Siemensbahn
The Siemensbahn – a defunct S-Bahn line in the northwest of Berlin had been one of our favorite locations for years. It was a nice urban jungle high above the streets of Berlin – where you could often spot kids and families just hanging out on the defunct railway lines and the abandoned S-Bahn station. The S-Bahn line was abandoned for a good 40 years, but the the district is being rejuvenated and the city has planned to reactive and extend the line. Light construction work at the S-Bahnhof Siemensstadt began back in September 2019, but it will most likely take until the year 2030 for the line to be reactivated.
4. BVG Freibad Lichtenberg
Status: Demolished in 2018
Article: The BVB Freibad Lichtenberg
The BVB Freibad Lichtenberg was a small open air swimming pool dating back to the year 1928, and served as as a training venue for foreign swim athletes training for the Olympic Summer Games in 1932 and 1936. After German reunification – as was the fate of a lot of east German infrastructure it was closed down. The Freibad Lichtenberg was torn down in the summer of 2018.
5. The Eisfabrik
Status: Renovated in 2019 and turned into a coworking space.
Article: The Eisfabrik
We have to admit, even we used to hang out in the abandoned Eisfabrik in the summer to enjoy a cool drink on the roof (despite the pungent smell). The Eisfabrik dated back to around 1896, and produced – surprise surprise – ice. Production ended in October 1991, and the factory was shut down. The buildings were renovated between 2017 and 2019, and are now being rented out as coworking spaces.
6. Bärenquell Brauerei
Status: Slated to be transformed into a new city quarter. The club Griessmühle has relocated into the former brewery.
The Bärenquell-Brauerei used to be one of the largest abandoned factories in Berlin, and a fantastic place to explore. Dating back to 1882, the Brewery operated under different brands until 1994, when production finally ceased. As of 2020, new investors are planning on turning the defunct brewery into a brand new city district, with cafes, clubs, shops and offices. While Berlin’s clubs have been fighting over closures for years, and been suffering under the cvod restrictions – one famous German club – the Greissmühle – seems to have had a stroke of luck and found a new home in the Bärenquell Brauerei.
7. The 1936 Berlin Olympic Village
Status: As of 2019, official tours have ceased, and the buildings have been turned into apartments.
The Olympic Village was constructed for the athletes of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, though its worth pointing out that the Olympic Village isn’t actually in Berlin, but in Elstal (a good 24km away). After the 1936 Olympics, the Village was repurposed to house a wehrmacht infantry school and a military hospital.
After the end of the second World War, the soviets moved in and used the property until their departure in 1992. The Olympic Village was given a protected heritage status and was eventually sold off to a property management company. Regular tours through the property were give until 2019, but they have ceased since. The former Olympic Village is currently being renovated and turned into fancy apartments.
8. Ballhaus Grünau
Status: What was left of the buildings has been turned into a luxury retirement home and restaurant.
Article: The Ballhaus Grünau
The Ballhaus Grünau (also known as the Ballhaus Riviera) used to be a beautiful dance hall dating back to to the year 1895. It’s important to note that the property actually consisted of 2 dance halls, the Ballhaus Riviera built in 1895, and the Gesellschaftshaus Grünau built in 1897. Both the Ballhaus and the Gesellschaftshaus were immensely popular in the 1930s, and they survived the second world war relatively unscathed. Both the Riviera and the Grünau continued operating in the GDR, but had seen some questionable renovations.
After german reunification, both of them were closed and left abandoned. Multiple fires, extremely shady investment deals and general vandalism have left the buildings in absolute ruins. In 2020, the Riviera had been completely gutted and construction work began to transform the building into luxury retirement home. The Gesellschaftshaus Grünau burnt down after an arson attack in 2019, and was replaced with a new building. As of 2022, the construction project has been completed.
9. Blub Badeparadies
Status: After multiple fires, the process of tearing the Blub down began in 2020 to make space for apartments.
Built in 1985, the Blub – Berliner Luft- und Badeparadies was the first and only “water park” in Berlin. It initially attracted a very sizeable crowd, but over the years visitor numbers dwindled due to sever hygiene issues and a lack of safety. Several sections of the Water Park were closed down from 1999 onwards as they posed a severe health risk. The Blub was plagued by rats in 2002 which caused it to be closed down.
The owners declared bankruptcy in 2003, and the blub shut down for good in 2005. Since then it’s became a regular haunt for urbexers, vandals and the generally curious. After receiving a bout of prominent media attention around the year 2015, the vandalism increased, with arnson becoming a regular occurance. A fire in 2016 burnt the place almost completely to the ground. In 2020, the ruins were torn down, and 638 apartments are set to be built on the property.
10. Kinderkrankenhaus Weißensee
Status: Heavily damaged due to multiple fires. Slated to be converted into a School. Official planning still pending.
Article: The Kinderkrankenhaus Weißensee
Inaugurated on the 8th July, 1911 – the Kinderkrankenhaus Weißensee was the first communal run children’s hospital in Prussia. A new building was added to the hospital to increase its bed capacity in 1987, but was ultimately shut down by the city in 1997. A Russian company bought the property in 2005, but neglected to take care of the heritage listed buildings, and they’ve been falling into disrepair ever since.
Visiting this place is just a sad and at times life threatening event. Its set on fire every other week, and the buildings have become super dangerous. The district of Pankow has been in talks since 2020 build a School on the grounds of the hospital but hasn’t received approval of the senate yet. Don’t believe the hype. The Banana graffiti room that you see plastered on instagram isn’t worth the trip.
Urban Exploring in Berlin and Brandenburg
We hope you enjoyed our list of legal urbex locations in and around Berlin. If some of the information here is incorrect or outdated, please do let us know so we can change it accordingly. If you feel inspired to go out and explore the numerous abandoned ruins that Berlin and Brandenburg have to offer, check out our Urbex Map which has a full list of all public listings that we’ve explored so far.