Not more than an hour outside of Berlin is a once bustling hospital complex called Beelitz-Heilstatten Sanatorium. I happen to find inspiration in all sorts of unusual places and this was one of the best I found on my trip to Berlin. Here is a little background on the amazing compound I am about to show you:
This immense hospital complex was designed by architect Heino Schmieden and built in 1898 in the Southwest portion of Berlin near the city of Potsdam.
Originally built as a tuberculosis sanatorium this massive complex was converted into a military hospital during World War I by the German Imperial Army. Young Corporal Adolph Hitler was treated at this hospital in October of 1916 for a leg wound received from British shelling during the Battle of Somme.
In 1945, after the defeat of Nazi Germany, the German nation was divided in two. At this point in history the USSR took control of the facility turning it into a Soviet military hospital. Even after the reunification of Germany on October 3, 1990 the Soviet Army remained in control of the hospital until 1995.
Following the Soviet withdrawal, attempts were made to privatize the complex, but they were not entirely successful. Some sections of the hospital remain in operation as a neurological rehabilitation center and as a center for research and care for victims of Parkinson’s disease. The remainder of the complex, including the surgery, the psychiatric ward, and a rifle range, was abandoned in 2000.
As of 2007, none of the abandoned hospital buildings or the surrounding area were secured, giving the area the feel of a ghost town… (Source: wikipedia.org)
Now this type of adventure is not for the faint of heart. In order to access the most preserved buildings on the compound we had to lower ourselves through a ground floor window into the basement of one of the main buildings. Once in the basement we found a labyrinth of tunnels about 5 feet tall. As all three explorers (myself, my brother Dave, and my fiance Trevor) are 6’0″ and above this made for an interesting beginning. We wandered in pitch black tunnels for a good 15-20 minutes before finding a staircase into the main hall of the building. But once we were in we emerged into an amazingly preserved gymnasium!
Next up, final post from Berlin and off we go to Spain!