After our successful trip to Teufelsberg spy station, we still had enough daylight to travel to the Beelitz Hospital. Lars, a native German, his Russian girlfriend, and Andre, another Russian now residing in Tel Aviv, allowed me to tag along on another abandoned adventure.
Beelitz-Heilstätten is located very close to the train station. We were not sure how to get there, but we asked a local couple for help and they pointed us in the right direction. Through a path in the woods, we stumbled upon a building. My excitement set in. A creepy, possibly dangerous, abandoned hospital! What more could a girl ask for?!
The hospital is a well-known location outside of the city. It’s obvious that the grounds have been explored by many travelers and locals alike; there is graffiti everywhere as well as a fair amount of litter.
The buildings are all in extreme decay. Even though the hospital has only been abandoned for about a quarter of a century, there are almost full-grown trees growing on top of the collapsed roofs.
Beelitz hospital opened in the early 1900s as a tuberculosis sanatorium and nursing home. When World War I began, it became a military hospital and over 10,000 soldiers were treated there, including Hitler after his leg was injured in battle. After the war, the hospital expanded again. At its peak, the grounds had over 60 buildings, all of which are now in some state of decay.
After World War II until the mid 1990s, the Russians had control of the hospital, and was used for treating Soviet troops in the region. It was less than 10 years later that the hospital was officially abandoned and left to rot back in the woods while the town continued to grow around it.
We checked out the grounds before delving in to what looked like one of the main buildings through one of the only non-boarded-up windows. I was wearing my (now-disgusting) little black flats because my proper adventuring shoes were not properly worn in before my trip and they had given me blisters. As Lars helped me get my footing on one of the window ledges, I was afraid that I would lose my shoe and that it would be lost forever in the gutter that was below. I did not want to be forced to hobble around with one bare foot through the mysterious debris left on the floor of the hospital.
With the boost, I made it through the window and into a room that must have been a bathroom. The tiles on the bathtubs and toilet stalls were still white and most of the stained glass in the windows was still in place and cast an eerie glow on the room. It was late afternoon. The sun was preparing to set. I was impatient. I wanted to see as much as I could before all daylight was lost.
We paired off in the name of exploration and made no meet up plans before taking off in different directions. Andre could barely keep up with me as I dashed up some sturdy-ish looking stairs and down a dark corridor. We spoke in hushed voices as if we were afraid to waken the ghosts of Beelitz. I wished I was alone to explore the old rooms, but at the same time I was terrified to be without Andre. The sweat under my arms was caused by exuberant nervousness. I was convinced that either a ghoul or a town prankster would jump out at me at any moment. While Andre decorated the wall of one stairwell, I journeyed ahead.
Several hours were not long enough to see the whole grounds. I wish we had an entire day. We ventured into the most intriguing buildings—some of them boarded up and difficult to enter and some of them wide open, inviting us in.
We reached the roof of one building, or what was now the roof, there may have well been another floor at some point in time. We were afraid to step off of the staircase. The thin tall trees that jutted off the top hid any weak points that we may fall through.
Once the sun really began to set, we were exhausted, hungry, and ready for a drink. We retreated semi-reluctantly, back to the train station and headed back into the city.
My introduction to abandoned tourism began in Berlin and since then I have spent hours researching where I should go next. There are so many abandoned places all around the world that I hope to visit and explore.
What abandoned places have you visited? Which ones are on your bucket list?