Link - article by Avi Abrams

Past glories of Socialist "fun & games" deserted and overgrown with weeds

We here at DRB are big lovers of abandoned amusement parks, see for example our Abandoned Disney and Abandoned Amusement Parks in Asia. These places are truly haunting and provide an incredible venue for urban exploration, atmospheric photography and, perhaps, even for a location or two for low-budget movies.

Spreepark PlanterWald, near Treptower Park in Berlin: complete with fallen dinosaurs!

(images credit: Sara, Sarah Porteus)

Many such deteriorating parks are hidden behind security barriers, or camouflaged with faux facades in an effort to pretend that they do not exist. But this particularly fantastic place, Spreepark PlanterWald, is "hidden in plain view". It is located smack in the middle of a major European city - Berlin - close to the much-visited Treptower Park.

It is clearly marked on every map - and does not seem to be closely guarded. Standing abandoned since 2001, it even has its own website. In other words, it could be a perfect "first foray" for any budding urban explorer or abandoned places photographer.

(image credit: Ray Kippig)

The ferris wheel is always the highlight, the most prominent feature of such places, and the Planterwald ferris wheel does not disappoint:

(images credit: Sarah Porteus, Julian White)

When it opened in 1969 as Kulturpark Planterwald, it was the "only constant entertainment park in the GDR, and the only such park in either East or West Berlin". However, the Berlin Senate did not seem to have provided for enough parking space... which is quite silly, all things considered. Plus, the forest around the park was deemed to be doomed from the impact of visiting crowds. In any case, the socialist and then private owners were left with a bunch of debt and the place got suspended in limbo... But the story does not end there (read on).

The bugs, the bugs are enjoying it! -

(image credit: Laura Wedlake)

Indeed, this former amusement park is situated centrally, located close to famous World War Two monument in Treptower Park, and was very popular in its day. It is fitfully surrounded by the lush forest, which casts leafy shadows on rusted remains of roller coaster tracks and hides the quaint carousel rides in the middle of overgrown ferns.

Going into the maw of a beast:

(image credit: Stephen O'Rourke)

Roller coaster promises wild rides into the foliage:

(image credit: Mike)

Some traces of Indiana Jones, or Amazon adventures:

(image credit: Julian Turner)

(image credit: Morgen Nebel)

Very inviting buttons on an old control panel - it's hard not to push them:

(images credit: 1, Esbjorn Guwallius / Berlinow.com)

There are cups and teapots for a quick breakfast fix:

(images credit: Dennis Gerbeckx)

Out of the mist appears a Viking ship:

(image credit: Morgen Nebel)

Let's go for a drive with Grouch Marx! -

(image credit: Matt Chisholm)

Dinosaurs are particularly extinct in this location

They are dead, fallen, rusted out - turned into a joke, or weird headless monsters:

(images credit: Dennis Gerbeckx, Sebastian Niedlich)

(image credit: Gregor)

(images credit: Darris, Dennis Gerbeckx)

Let's go hunting! -

(image credit: Morgen Nebel)

Graceful swans look upon the dinosaur graveyard with mixed feelings:

(image credit: Dennis Gerbeckx)

This dragon head still seems to be in a good condition:

(image credit: Sebastian Niedlich)

The story of park's decline is rife with smuggling and criminal overtones: when in 2001 park was declared insolvent, one of the employees (or park owners - Norbert Witte) arranged to move some attractions all the way across the ocean to Peru (where he moved with his family and tried to open another Lunapark there). When his venture failed there as well, he was caught smuggling cocaine (valued at $20 million) back to Germany inside the mast of one of the ships ("Flying Carpet" ride)!

Visit Flickr pool for more images of Planterwald here and here.

Treptower Park holds a few wonders of its own, too

Here is an interesting sculpture from the Socialist Avantgarde era, dedicated to the World Youth Festival in 1973 in East Berlin:

(left image credit: Sebastian Panwitz, right image Veronica Lehner)

On the right image above we see the futuristic house Futuro peaking from the shrubbery... not in pristine condition anymore, sadly.

Treptower Park has an interesting drinking fountain (left) and across the river, in Stralau, there are some marvelous wall murals (right):

(images credit: Hajo)

To give you an idea of the park's surroundings, here is a medieval-style bridge and a view of the morning Treptow Park forest:

(images credit: Klaus Bruk, Rene Reimann)

In the middle of the park, there is another gem: Archenhold Sternwarte observatory, where Einstein lectured on the Theory of Relativity in 1915. It houses the longest 21m reflecting telescope in the world - which looks like a surreal gun pointed into the sky from the building:

(images via 1, 2)

In the meantime, some tree trunks in the Treptower Park were subtly enhanced by a local artist - Walter Mason (by simply drawing a couple of lines in the snow):

(image credit: Walter Mason)

And just across the river, in Alt Stralau, there are more fascinating abandonments waiting to be explored:

(image credit: Nixenkai)

Article by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.




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Anonymous Peter said...

This park features in the movie Hanna, IMDB

Anonymous SparkyMcWelderpants said...

This may be my favorite photo essay DRB has ever posted. Habe you ever done a piece on Dr. Evermore's park outside of Reedsburg, WI, USA?

Anonymous SparkyMcWelderpants said...


Blogger Avi Abrams said...

No we did not yet, but we will include in next part, thank you.

Anonymous Donny said...

Now this amusement park is a true part of history that I would definitely want to visit someday.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to work just down the street from this and had no idea it was even there.

Blogger High Power Rocketry said...

" It houses the longest 21m reflecting telescope in the world"

Sorry but this is one of the largest REFRACTING telescopes in the world. Length does not mean anything for telescopes, however, only diameter. Anyway this is not the largest in the world but it is a really big one!

Anonymous David Lowe said...

It kind of has an Alice In Wonderland feel to it. It also reminds me of Jurassic Park with the 'dead' dinosaurs. Creepy.

Blogger mono magnético azul said...

woaow!!! i feel so much excitation when i see this pictures, this park....

Blogger Unknown said...

The cool thing about the Spreepark in Berlin is, that you can visit and take a tour of the park every weekend!
More info:

Anonymous Dave said...

I lived in Berlin for many years, and one of my abiding memories is of going on that roller coaster. My friend and I that day were the only people on the ride, which by then was already ricketty and decaying. The trolley/seat had no safety harnesses, just a handle in front to hold on to. The machinery slowly (really s_l_ow_l_y) cranked us up to the top of the first slope, and then promptly stopped. After admiring the view for about five minutes, we started to look around for someone to help us. A man in a boilersuit (the same man who took our ticket money) was climbing up the framework to us. I immediately thought he was going to escort us down the frame to safety, which was a bit of a scary thought. But with admirable disregard to Health & Safety, he just shrugged and said "Off you go!" and gave the gondola a mighty push down the tracks. I spent the next few seconds convinced we would not finish this ride alive. Somehow, we made it to the end in one piece. Sad to see the ride wasting away like this, but it still has a place in my heart.

Blogger Unknown said...

The futuro is no longer there. Here's the story of how it was saved by a Berlin citizen: http://einestages.spiegel.de/static/authoralbumbackground/1989/wie_ich_lernte_ein_ufo_zu_lieben.html

Anonymous Anonymous said...

See it on Google Maps

Blogger sabbersolo said...

Also worth visiting in Treptower Park is the Soviet War Memorial!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The blue Lion-like face and the Nesquik cups come from a french theme park, Mirapolis : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirapolis
Maybe other rides are from there too.


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