In the small town of Beelitz-Heilstätten was is a city within a city. This is now an abandoned hospital site, and consists of around 60 major buildings. When this place was in use, it could housing 12,000 patients at the same time.
Beelitz-Heilstätten was built as a sanatorium in 1898. During this time, tuberculosis plagued Europe and the need for hospital beds was big. The location was strategically chosen. Beelitz is located just a few kilometers outside Berlin.
When the First World War broke out, the German medical care received other areas to prioritize. They needed lots of beds for injured soldiers, and Beelitz-Heilstätten was in 1916 changed to a military hospital.
Two dictators as patients
Two celebrities have been patients in Beelitz-Heilstätten. Adolf Hitler was injured in 1916 during the Battle of Somme, and was rehabilitated here in October to November.
1945 occupied Soviet troops the entire area, and the city ended up on the East German side. Soviet continued to use the area as a military hospital supplemented by other military facilities.
In 1990, the East German dictator Erich Honecker was a patient here. Erich Honecker was both mentally and physically broken after the tumultuous period in connection to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Soviet (and later Russia) continued to use the hospital area until 1995. After retreat the area was up for sale, but most of the buildings immediately began to decay. Today there is small-scale health care in some renovated buildings, but the majority of the giant field still stands abandoned.