Spreepark, Berlin

December 5th 2013, 8:11:00 pm

Breaking chronology for a change because I love these photos so much.

There's a lot of old abandoned things in Berlin; there are entire sites dedicated to what's out there, how to get in, what are the risks, etc. I've always been fascinated seeing old places that would have been someone's home or workplace for years on end, but one day left to rot and let nature start reclaiming. I love seeing photos of such places, and the few abandoned places I have been very cool experiences.

One of the places in Berlin that really sounded unique was an old theme park, the Spreepark, which existed way back in the days of East German, becoming more westernised after the reunification of Germany. It was abandoned in 2001 and has since become thoroughly derelict. I read that you can get in to the site through gaps in the fence, but there are often security you have to watch out for, possibly with dogs, so when I found out that they'd started doing tours of the place on Sundays I decided to take the easy way out and pay to get in there legitimately.

The tour was in German, and boy did they have a lot of information/stories/something to share. Each time we'd stop somewhere the guide would talk for like 20 minutes, and to be honest the first two places we stopped weren't intrinsically interesting or photogenic, so all of the non-German speakers started to drift off further along to get a sneak peak until eventually I was no longer "just a bit ahead" but instead I was off exploring by myself proper the way I really wanted to do it anyway.

There's something vibe killing about being in a group of 40 people at somewhere "abandoned", so I was very happy to get lost and find myself in parts of the park where I couldn't see or hear another person. The one sounds were the wind, the birds and the creaking of the old Ferris wheel as the wind made it turn. Very eery!

One security guy was still doing laps of the park on a bike, but I managed to avoid him for the most part. The one time I did get spotted by him I was actually near some other people, and because we had the tour passes on he just friendlily herded us back to the tour group. That pass was pretty much a get out of jail free card! Soon enough I wandered off again to explore without the herd.

There was an old flume ride, now with the track mostly full of leaves.

Crazy old cars on rails made to look like faces, with various moustaches.

Sad and busted up old dinosaurs, fallen over and missing limbs.

There were swan boats that had managed to free themselves from the tyranny of their traditional canals, now floating free next to pirate ships.

This lonely old couch, left to rot in the middle of an old market square, would have some good stories to tell about how it even got there.

There were the rotting cabinets of old arcade machines, long ago fallen over in the not-very-water-tight food court.

There was a roller coaster, complete with giant rainbow dragon-face tunnel.

Every single bridge I could find to the island with the wheel on it had rotten through and collapsed, so I never did get to see the base of it.

I'm always intrigued by the final series of events when a place gets abandoned. Did they know at the time that they weren't going to return, or was it just closing for a short period? How did all the swan boats get out of their canal? Where were all they dinosaurs originally, and why?

So many questions that will never be answers, but so many beautiful examples of a place being reclaimed by entropy and nature.

As usual, there are lots more images in the full galleries on Facebook and Flickr.