If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big… creepy abandoned hospital. The notorious Beelitz complex has a grizzlier history than we would care to go into, suffice to say it’s worth Googling. The huge military hospital counts among its patients both Hitler and Honecker; so it’s already crossing into the stuff of nightmares. There are over 60 buildings in various states of distress, from dwellings that would make a Berlin squatter wince to parts that have been painstakingly restored and are still in use today.
Wandering round these remarkable buildings is a full day out. Nature taking its course has given some of them a beautiful make-under: red brick facades are cloaked in overgrown branches, while old paint curls and flakes into curious new shapes on the interior walls. This is irresistible bait for Hollywood, hence Beelitz has featured in both The Pianist and Valkyrie. The more dilapidated houses have ceilings falling through, under threat of further collapse at any second—so tread carefully, twinkle toes.
The site itself is a breeze to get into (just walk in off the road) but some buildings are boarded up, which just makes them all the more tempting. Going by day with a torch and a companion would be wise. To be found, there’s also a disused U-bahn station, railway tracks, and probably a few lost souls, for all your post-apocalyptic novel fantasy needs.