April 23, 2024

Tour Report: The State Security Hotel

During our fall vacation in November 2019, we took a short tour through the German state of Brandenburg. To start the tour, we had visited the old Soviet memorial from the Cold War on the way to the hotel, which was a good start for this tour, as the area is full of relics from this period that were either used by the Soviets or the GDR authorities.
This was also the case with the two objects we had chosen as our destinations for the following day.
As it was late fall and the days were already very short with little daylight, we skipped breakfast (we usually only have a small snack on the way) and drove to the first location. We could have walked the 3 kilometers, but as we had another stop about 50 kilometers away, we decided to take the car.
Our first destination was the ruins of a hotel that was going to be used by functionaries of the GDR State Security (Stasi) for recreation. It was under construction when the Wall fell and the building was never completed as a result.
We parked our car in the public parking lot of a nearby thermal spa. From there, we made our way to the old building. After a few hundred meters, we reached the forest path that would take us to our destination. After just a few minutes, we could see the first outbuildings through the trees, but we ignored them for the time being as the main building was our destination.
After a little more walking, we reached it and, as we had expected, there were no fences or doors to stop us on our way.
So we got into the building without any problems and took our time looking around. There was graffiti everywhere and quite a lot of garbage lying around in some areas. We had already suspected this from the pictures we had seen online beforehand.
The most interesting thing was the architecture. Although it's difficult to make out due to the many trees, the restaurant building has an unusual shape, reminiscent of an octagon, and an atrium-like staircase connects the restaurant with a roof terrace and the wellness area. There is a relatively small pool, which is now filled with rainwater and garbage.
As we looked around the hotel rooms, we were overcome by the feeling that we were no longer alone. It seemed to us that we kept hearing footsteps, but we put this down to raindrops falling from the ceiling in the corridors. We were mistaken. At some point, we ran into the arms of a gentleman. We got a bit of a fright, but this is not an unfamiliar situation for us, so the shock was limited. The gentleman was around 60 and asked what we were doing. It turned out that he was a local resident who had made a habit of chasing away teenagers who were using the building as a party location so that no fires were started on the site in the middle of the forest, which would spread to the forest, which was very dry in places.
We were friendly and explained to him what we were doing and he left us alone. What else could he have done - he doesn't have the right to enter the site, and calling the police for two people in their mid-forties taking photos would have been a bit excessive.
After the encounter, we took our time to explore the rest of the building before walking back to the car. On the way back, we took a quick look into the outbuildings, but they seemed to be the illegal dump for the neighborhood, so we didn't even bother going inside.
Upon reaching the car, we had the aforementioned snack and went back on the road to get to the next location.

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

April 16, 2024

Tour Report: Soviet Army Memorial D.

After the end of the Second World War, the eastern part of Germany was occupied by Soviet troops. The GDR emerged from this area in 1949. The Soviet troops occupied around 10% of the territory of the GDR. As part of the hero worship that resulted from the victory of the Red Army in the "Great Patriotic War", monuments and memorials were erected in many Soviet locations in the GDR - mostly by the soldiers of the garrisons themselves.
After the withdrawal of Soviet troops following the fall of the Berlin Wall, many of these monuments were forgotten, some were demolished and many were damaged by vandalism.
If the opportunity arises on our excursions, we try to visit and document these relics not only of the Soviet occupation, but also monuments to the liberation of Germany from the Nazis and - from our point of view - memorials against the war.
During our November 2019 vacation, one of these memorials crossed our path on the way from a location back to the hotel, and of course we couldn't pass up the opportunity to stop and take a few photos.
We were really lucky. On the one hand, because the two parts of the memorial were not yet completely covered in graffiti - which is now (2024) the case - and on the other hand, because the weather was really fantastic for photos, as the sun was about to set and the clouds were painting beautiful pictures in the sky.

To find out more about this monument and the pictures it shows - and to check out more photos - click the button below!

April 3, 2024

Tour Report: Ammunition Factory and Soviet Depot F.

As we do every year, we set off on a week-long tour in November 2019 to explore a few abandoned places in eastern Germany.
The first part of our trip took us to a wooded region near a lake. There are the remains of an air munitions facility from the Second World War, which was used by the Soviets as a trophy, fuel and ammunition depot during the Cold War.
The fact that there was a public bathing area at the lake with a public parking lot played into our hands, as it wasn't far to walk and our car didn't attract any attention.
From the parking lot, it was only a few hundred meters to the main gate of the facility, which was of course locked. We could certainly have climbed over despite the barbed wire, but decided to go further into the forest and look for a hole in the fence, which we found after about 15 minutes. From there, we first had to fight our way through quite a lot of undergrowth before we reached the normal paths.
This facility is pretty big - it extends over more than one square kilometer, so we had to walk around a little more than usual.
The complex, which is secured by fences, consists of a large number of buildings and bunkers. The buildings include an administration building, the staff area with vehicle halls and workshops, a canteen and social building, a group of ammunition workhouses, the case washing facility, several packing houses and the tarpaulin hall, as well as an engine shed and the remains of the railroad line used to transport the ammunition.
We started our exploration near the main gate with the administration buildings. From there, we went past the parking garages and followed the paths to the ammunition workhouses and the packing houses. Towards the end of our tour, we found some of the ammunition bunkers that hadn't been demolished by the Soviets. In the forest, lots of remains can be found, such as the coal bunker for the railroad and the power station.
Many of the buildings and bunkers have been turned into bat habitats and are not accessible, but the place was still very interesting to explore.
Towards the end of our excursion it started to rain, so we decided not to continue our tour of the site for the time being - after all, it's good to have a few more unknown corners to revisit.

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

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