Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

DEEP inside a pine forest in eastern Germany lies a dark and looming compound known as “the forbidden city”.

The abandoned military complex – once headquarters to the Kaiser, then the Nazis and eventually the Soviets – has seen all kinds of history in its halls.

AP:Associated PressThe eerie site of the ‘forbidden city’ that housed Nazi and Soviet leaders before lying untouched for over two decades[/caption]

AP:Associated PressAn oversized rusting statue of communist leader Lenin marks the main entrance[/caption]

AP:Associated PressAn emptied swimming pool once enjoyed by high-ranking Soviet officers[/caption]

AP:Associated PressSome of the most influential decisions of World War 2 and the Cold war were made amongst its halls and bunkers[/caption]

The huge structure in the Wuensdorf neighbourhood of Zossen, 25 miles south of Berlin, is enclosed inside a 12-mile wall and a padlocked gate.

For over twenty years, the 2.3 square mile compound lay untouched and completely cut off since the last Russian troops left in a hurry in the early 1990s.

Some brazen locals led tours inside the chilling site, but mostly it has been used by adventurous teenagers as a drinking spot.

A giant statue of the communist revolutionary Lenin stands in front of a once grand yellow mansion.

Murals of communist heroes are peeling off the walls, beer cans line the floors and mould and rust has taken hold.

It is a shell of its former glory – a complex where some of the most important decisions in history were made.

Finished in 1961, the sprawling site served the last German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, before becoming a Nazi command centre in World War 2.

It was repurposed for Nazi uses as they built fake country houses out of concrete that were designed to hide an underground system of bunkers and tunnels.

In the main bunker, Zeppelin, some of the most devastating Nazi war planning took place.

As Hitler fell and Germany was divided up, the compound became the headquarters of Soviet military high command throughout the Cold War.

Known as “Little Moscow” of Germany, it became home to 75,000 men, women and children until the Iron Curtain was torn down.

Over 40,000 troops were sent to it straight from Moscow and lived inside its walls for two to three years at a time.

Higher-ranking officers spent up to 12 years stationed there and were allowed to bring their wives and kids.

They were able to enjoy the more luxurious parts of the complex, including its huge pool, museum and stately homes.

A former Nazi casino was transformed into a concert hall for Soviets – chairs still sit in rows in front of the empty stage.

It earned the nickname “the forbidden city” as local Germans were barred from entering inside its high concrete walls.

Now, it forms a haunting reminder of both Germany’s Nazi past and the former might of the collapsed Soviet empire.

It is a ghostly testament to 20th century history.

But there are now plans to open it up and turn it into a tourist site – and some of the barracks will be transformed into apartments for locals.

Elsewhere, another abandoned Soviet site sits under the shadow of Russia’s Ural mountains – a rusting, eerie site of a graveyard of trains built in preparation for World War 3.

The steel skeletons of dozens of steam locomotives betray a time when the spectre of the mushroom cloud loomed dangerously near.

During the Soviet era it served as a nuclear war base – ready and waiting to whisk Russians to safety if all other transportation failed or was destroyed.

Time progressed, the Iron Curtain lifted, diesel trains took over and the threat of nuclear war waned – leaving a cemetery on rusty tracks.

AP:Associated PressThe last Russian soldiers left in 1994 after the fall of Iron Curtain[/caption]

AP:Associated PressCalled ‘Little Moscow’ during the Cold war – the east German compound housed 75,000 men, women and children[/caption]

AP:Associated PressA whole network of Nazi tunnels and bunkers lies underneath the abandoned buildings[/caption]

AP:Associated PressTime has taken its toll on former military HQ[/caption]

AP:Associated PressFor over two decades, only teenagers and brazen local tour guides entered the fenced off site[/caption]

AlamyThe complex was inaugurated in 1916 for the last German emperor[/caption]

AP:Associated PressThe ‘forbidden city’ is a ghostly testament to 20th century history[/caption]

AlamyThe giant statue of Lenin stands in front of a once grand yellow mansion[/caption]

AP:Associated PressPlenty of history has played out amongst its now decaying walls[/caption]

AP:Associated PressSoviet artwork is still painted and carved into walls across the site[/caption]

By

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.