September 27, 2023

Tour Report: Knight's Manor "Blue Sky"

In August 2019, we visited an object that we had long had on our list, but never had the opportunity to visit until this point. It is an old manor whose history goes back a long way. The villa, to which the title "manor" has passed, was built in the late 19th century.
Initially used as an industrialist's villa, over time the building underwent many new uses - as a planned mothers' recreation home, as a Reich Labor Service camp, as a Red Army military hospital, as a school for judges, as a school for the FDJ travel agency, and as a pioneer leadership school.
After a fire devastated the attic in the summer of 2018 and the firefighting efforts caused further damage, we knew that the days of this beautiful building were numbered and included it in our plan for the next summer vacation.
It was a warm day and the journey was uneventful. However, finding a decent parking spot not too far from the property was significantly more difficult. We ended up parking somewhat awkwardly on the edge of an allotment. There were already a few other cars parked there, so we could hope not to attract further attention.
From there we walked along the road until we reached the wooded area that was once part of the magnificent park that surrounded the manor. Through this now very dense forest we crept up to the building from the back. We could hear that the farmed part of the estate was busy, so we kept extremely quiet as we searched for an entrance into the building. Fortunately, there was an open door that was out of sight and hidden by trees.
When we entered the building, we were on the one hand impressed by the princely looking rooms, but on the other hand a little disappointed, because due to the fire many rooms did not look like we had seen in older photos.
The main subject, however - the staircase - was still in quite good condition despite the fire and the extinguishing work. For this, the trip had been more than worth it! Even the ceiling painting, a blue sky with a stylized sun in the center, was still there apart from some damage.
In other rooms, the extinguishing water had caused quite nice decay, so that we could make our way to the next locaton with a good yield of pictures in our luggage.

To find out about the history of this place and to check out all the photos, click the button below.

September 1, 2023

Tour Report: Ballroom "Wintergarten"

It's one of those abandoned buildings that I've seen photos of over the years, and although it doesn't really look spectacular in the end, I've long harbored a desire to visit and photograph this old ballroom.
So when the opportunity presented itself, I took it. 
It was also the last opportunity, because just a year or so after our visit, the roof collapsed and demolition followed just a few months later.
We were on our way from one overnight stop to another during our 2019 summer vacation, and the old social hall was very conveniently located on the way for a quick stop. There was even a public parking lot almost directly in front of it.
Finding an entrance was very easy - there wasn't really any fencing, so we could easily find an open door.
We were first in a long corridor, and there was a strong smell of smoke - probably a relic of one of the many larger and smaller fires that have raged in the old building over the years.
Starting from this corridor, we found some rooms that were long past their prime - you could see through the ceilings into the ballroom one floor up, the walls were covered in graffiti, and the floors were full of rubble and trash.
We reached the ballroom via the staircase. Although it was already more than broken, we were amazed at its former splendor. The metal columns, the high, vaulted ceiling, the railings decorated with wooden elements and the large, framed stage - grand celebrations certainly took place here!
At the time of our visit, the last sounds of the orchestra had long faded away, and the ravages of time have gnawed deep holes in the floor and ceiling.
We dared to take only a few steps into the room to take a few pictures. The floor was so precarious that we quickly retreated back to the more "solid" area of the building.
We found the collapsed ceiling in the dressing room area particularly impressive - the broken wooden beams formed a strange structure that seemed almost surreal.
All in all, the visit was worthwhile, because you could get a good idea of how beautiful the ballroom must have looked in its best days. It is always a pity that such buildings are not preserved and put to a new use - although here the protection of historical monuments and the immense costs of a renovation in keeping with the preservation order often deter potential investors.

To find out about the history of this place and to check out all the photos, click the button below.

August 19, 2023

Tour Report: Linoleum Factory "Smell of Chemistry"

This place can be explored officially, and that is what we tried during our summer vacation in 2019. We didn't have a phone number, so we just drove by on the way from another location. It was a pretty long drive along winding roads through the forests of Saxony. As we arrived at the impressive building, we had high hopes of being able to explore it within a few minutes. We parked the car at the main gate, looked around and found a sign with a phone number. No one answered. We heard a phone softly ringing in one of the buildings, but it seemed like no one was around. We tried a few more times in the slim hope that maybe someone was in the bathroom and would open the gate for us shortly. This hope was dashed; no one responded to our calls.
So we set out to explore an alternative location. After about 15 minutes, my cell phone rang. It was the owner of the linoleum factory who had seen our call on the phone. He was indeed not in the restroom, but had been grocery shopping.
We asked if a tour was still possible, and after he agreed, we immediately turned around and drove back.
At the factory, we were received by his wife, who went through the formalities with us (declaration of exemption, rules of conduct, obolus, etc.). Afterward, she briefly explained to us where and how we could move around in the building, gave us the tip to definitely look at the laboratory and let us in.
Since it was already relatively late in the afternoon, we hurried to be able to look at as much as possible in sufficient light.
The place is really incredible. Large production rooms, machines, almost no graffiti or vandalism, great decay - and chemicals. I have only visited one other place in all these years that had a similar level of chemical exposure. The smell in some areas was almost unbearable, and given the age of the substances, I can imagine that they are not necessarily healthy...
But something like that has never stopped us before, so we went from area to area, room to room, looking at everything.
We did not find the laboratory.
Fortunately, we met the owner in between, and she explained where we would find it.
At the end we chatted with her a bit, and as a special surprise she allowed us to take one of the beautiful French glass bricks we were so excited about.
Despite the probably non-negligible health risks, it was a really wonderful location - lots to see, great colors, friendly owners, and a goodie at the end - what more could you ask for?

To find out about the history of this place and to check out all the photos, click the button below.

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