The lost city and its nuclear secrets
Curtains flutter nonchalantly through broken windows, backs turned on barren rooms and hollow corridors, while outside giant empty bunkers stand shellshocked and still, doors creaking forlornly, their stash of deadly nukes long gone and with it their raison d’être.
Welcome to Vogelsang, where the Russians once had atomic weapons earmarked for Western Europe’s consumption, ready to launch at a moment’s folly in retaliation for a pre-emptive strike or in pre-emption of an imminent retaliation.
Construction at this 5,800-hectare site began in 1951 (one of the few complexes purpose-built by the Russians, most likely off plans seized from the Germans after the war) and the garrison became home to around 15,000 soldiers and civilians, some 550 buildings, a shit load of tanks, anti-aircraft missiles, tactical missiles and the most fiendish missiles of all – nuclear missiles.
Soldiers carried out maneuvers at night to avoid American surveillance, and locals had no idea what kind of shenanigans were going on behind those guarded walls.
As part of ‘Operation Atom,’ R5-M (SS-3 Shyster) missiles were brought here and to another base at nearby Neuthymen (Fürstenberg) by the elite 72nd RVGK Engineer Brigade in January 1959. The nuclear warheads followed in mid-April.
Four of the weapons were allegedly destined for England, to take out Thor (PGM-17) missile bases in Norfolk and Lincolnshire, while others were for US air bases in Western Europe and at population centers such as London, Paris, Brussels, the Ruhrgebiet and Bonn.
These things were HUGE, weighing 29.1 tons and reaching 20.74 meters, and over 20 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Four mobile launching units and 12 missiles were ready for deployment between the two bases, capable of striking targets up to 1,200 kilometers away.
The East Germans were not informed, and the missiles were delivered under cover of darkness using back roads so they wouldn’t find out.
“The Soviet Army leadership did not give the GDR military leadership any information about the stationing of missiles in Vogelsang and Fürstenberg. In my position at the time as head of the GDR air force, I had no knowledge of any action of that type,” General Heinz Kessler said in 1999.
The Russians withdrew the weapons in a hurry after just a few months, in August, likely for political reasons with Nikita Khrushchev visiting American counterpart Dwight Eisenhower in September.
However, another sneaky deployment – this time with R-12 (SS-4 Sandal) nuclear missiles capable of reaching 2,000 kilometers – was supposed to have been sent here in 1961-62 during the top secret ‘Operatsiya Tuman.’
It was so damned secret not even the soldiers knew where they were being deployed.
“Officers and career servicemen for a long time had no clue that the road ahead of them crosses the western border of the USSR and transited to the GDR,” reported the commander in charge, Colonel Vladimir Aleksandrov from Smolensk.
He left for Berlin on Sept. 17, going first to Wünsdorf, then up to Vogelsang and Fürstenberg with his sidekicks to make preparations for deployment.
Launch sites were constructed close to both bases, buildings and storage facilities built, communications equipment provided and slabs were laid for command vehicles, launch vehicles and technical batteries.
“Road signs were put up, repairs were made to the road bed and bridges were reinforced. Work was performed to camouflage both BSPs (launch sites),” Col. Aleksandrov said.
With preparations completed, he returned to the USSR on Oct. 11. The new independent missile regiment set up at Zhitkovichi (Belarus) underwent training over November and December before waiting another month for the order to leave for the GDR.
“Everyone agonized from the suspense. But the command to load up never came,” Col. Aleksandrov said. “On several occasions I reported to division command … but each time I got the same answer: ‘Wait. Increase the regiment’s training and combat readiness.’”
In the end, the Soviet Union’s production of the R-14 Chusovaya missile (SS-5 Skean), with its much greater range, eliminated the need for armed nuclear missiles in Germany, and Col. Aleksandrov was given the order to disband on July 12th, 1962.
Meanwhile, there was enough going on through the Cold War and beyond to keep Vogelsang busy.
The Red Army’s 25th Tank Division was based here and there were apparently further nuclear dalliances with the storage of TR-1 (SS-12 Scaleboard) missiles between 1983 and 1988. The Russians didn’t leave until 1994.
Now the Germans are wiping it from the face of the earth. It’s not so secret that they can leave it alone. Mechanical rubble makers have already chewed and chomped their way through a sizeable chunk of history from the north, while the forest is doing its best to reclaim the woodland it lost before construction began.
I entered through the south and promptly found a corpse. In the middle of a dark shed. A ram ravaged by wild dogs or a forgotten soldier. Teeth bared by lack of flesh in a permanent grimace, bones poking awkwardly toward the ceiling reaching for the spirit which left it behind.
Hordes of mosquitoes attacked to keep me from venturing further – must have been under Khrushchev’s orders – but there was no way I could turn back now.
Bunkers, bombs, battalions – all were present in my head as I searched for clues to secrets nobody wants me to know, hiding from time to time as I heard voices, other people perhaps, perhaps not.
Lenin was definitely there and more besides (electric fuse-boxes made by J.W. Stalin in Treptow, Berlin!) but despite a day picking my way through scattered roof tiles and scurrying from one building to the next, peering, poring, pontificating, I only made a scratch.
Interrupted by darkness and wolves, I didn’t see it all. I have to go back, I’ll go back.
UPDATE: Monday, November 24, 2014 – I went back, I had to go back. Vogelsang has a hold on me now and I actually went back a few times since my initial visit in May 2011. Each time I encountered different wildlife. It was wolves the first time, deer the next, boars another, and wild sheep on another occasion. I met ants on several visits, patrolling the site. Evidently army ants.
I made it into one of the nuclear bunkers and survived to tell the tale. I’ll tell the tale in another post if the radiation doesn’t get me first.
On the latest visit, a week or so ago, I could see that much of what I’d seen before is gone already. Not the bunkers – they’ll never get rid of them – but the commander of tank troops to the right of Lenin is gone, for example.
So, too, is the building with the magnificent full-wall mural of the Soviet soldier, family, tank, helicopter and factory buildings, along with whatever else the painters thought they’d throw in. The building should have been saved for that mural alone but Vogelsang has no Denkmalschutz to protect it.
There’s no political will to save it. It’s being destroyed so the forest can reclaim it. I don’t object to more forestry – far from it – but I really think the murals and Soviet artworks should be protected, even if it’s only wolves and their prey who get to admire them.
Despite its numbered days and dwindling attractions, Vogelsang is still very much worth a visit before it’s too late. The place is huge, still stuffed with remarkable treasures, and it will never fully erase the traces of its Soviet past.
LOCATION AND ACCESS (HOW TO FIND GUIDE)
- What: Kaserne Vogelsang. Soviet military barracks and top secret nuclear missile storage facility and launching site. This image gives you an overview of the site and run down of what happened where.
- Where: Vogelsang, 16792 Zehdenick, Oberhavel, Brandenburg, Germany.
- How to get there: Get the S1 S-Bahn to Oranienburg and then the RB12 (a weird little regional train that comes along every hour or so) in the direction of Templin. You might need to push the button to request a stop at Vogelsang train station. Bring your bike – Vogelsang itself is tiny, but the abandoned site you’ve come to explore is huge. One day is not enough, so if you’re brave or crazy enough you could always sleep in one of the buildings to continue exploring the next day. The site of interest is to the northwest of the train station. Map here.
- Getting in: Either hop the fence (quite easy) or cycle on until there’s no fence (even easier).
- When to go: Now. As I wrote, they’re intent on destroying anything remotely interesting around here. I mean, what harm is an abandoned Russian nuclear missile-launching site in the middle of a forest? They just can’t leave anything alone.
- Difficulty rating: 8/10. The main problem is getting here and the expense that incurs. Train tickets for human and bike (necessary because they do check) come to a whopping €18 or so return! The train ride from Oranienburg is about 30 minutes.
- Who to bring: Like-minded explorers. A Russian-speaker would be extremely useful for translation purposes.
- What to bring: Camera, torch, anti-mosquito spray, snack, bicycle, sleeping bag and more snacks if you’re overnighting. Maybe a bottle of Wodka for aul’ times’ sake. Phones don’t work here so perhaps let someone know where you’re going in case you don’t return after a week or two. They’ll know to send help, somewhere. Bring a map too! See below for a very useful one.
- Dangers: Some – scrap that – all of the buildings are in a bad way. Be careful etc. etc. and don’t trip over any atomic bombs or anything like that. Watch out for the mozzies in summer. In fact, you won’t need to – they’ll find you. Watch out for wolves and boars too. The wolves probably won’t hang around – they have a bad reputation but I’ve yet to meet one person who told me they were eaten by a wolf. The boars are only dangerous if confronted when they’re looking after their boarlets. Understandable really. The most dangerous animal round here is the forest ranger apparently. Some visitors returned to their car to discover that they the air left out of their tires. You have been warned. Check yourself for ticks when you get home. This goes for all these places out in the woods or where there’s tall grass. These little vampires just attach themselves without asking and help themselves to your blood. You wouldn’t even know they’re there. So do check.
Many thanks to Danish nuclear missile expert Martin Trolle Mikkelsen for background info on the Russians’ covert activities, to Frebbe for his maps and guidance over the years, and to the eagle-eyed Mark Rodden for providing copy editing duties once again!
Some further reading on Vogelsang…
- Col. Aleksandrov’s full account of the happenings in 1961-62: http://www.rngend.com/docspubweb/GC-MRBMkraszvezda16oct99.html
- The BBC filmed a clip at Vogelsang and have more info here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20079147
- Ian Hawkins wrote about his visit here: http://yearinberlin.com/2013/05/08/vogelsang-a-soviet-ghost-town/
- Der Spiegel have a short report lacking in much detail here: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/a-photographic-journey-through-an-abandoned-soviet-military-base-a-843056.html
- Benjamin Busch wrote about Vogelsang and took some lovely pictures for Uncube here: http://www.uncubemagazine.com/blog/14820889
- Stefanie Trambow and Maxim Stepanov filmed an excellent documentary on Vogelsang, speaking with local residents and former soldiers who were here in its heyday. The film is called “Lenin in Vogelsang.”
Soviet shenanigans in East Germany
Germany’s Luftwaffe used Flugplatz Schönwalde for the war. The Soviets took over afterward and left their traces after abandoning the airfield in 1992.
Flugplatz Brand was strategically important for the Soviet Air Force. Thankfully its battalions of flying fighters remained on ice for the duration of the Cold War.
Jüterbog and its military camps played host to soldiers’ charades, men playing with guns, for around 130 years before the last ones left in 1994.
I was bitterly disappointed with my visit here today. Some further advice for any potential explorers:
1. Check the train timetables. I left home (Mehringdamm/Kreuzberg) at 10:20am and didn’t arrive at the site until 1:00pm.
2. I bike isn’t merely a good idea, it’s a wholly necessary item. From Vogelsang station, it took me an hour to reach any of the buildings themselves. I spent the whole time wondering if I was even going the right way, and it was only (presumably) our dear blogger’s bicycle tracks which assured me of my steps.
3. Similarly, a compass or GPS is vital. The site is huge and you don’t want to waste time taking exactly the same route back for fear of getting lost (as I did).
4. Make sure you have plenty of spare time. I had to be home by 6pm for a dinner date, which gave me next to no time to explore and also meant the previous point had to be abided by much more ruthlessly.
5. Bring good shoes. The whole area is extremely boggy and has a lot of stagnant water (hence the huge amount of mosquitoes).
Otherwise, what little of the site I saw was cool enough, though it seems most of the interesting buildings have already been demolished. Most of what remained was barracks and other administration/living areas. Additionally, a lot of the buildings have been stripped of their contents (including wiring, furniture, heaters, etc.) in preparation for imminent demolition. That meant their historic appeal was lacking somewhat.
The dozers were working off in the distance, which meant I had to give them a wide berth. There’s also a modern house which has been constructed (or renovated) for the workers’ use.
Amazingly, there were also signs of squatters on the site (or at least overnight explorers). One room had a single-use grill in it and recent food wrappers. I hadn’t expected that such a far-off, difficult-to-reach spot would play host to this.
Regarding staying overnight, it would be extremely simple to bring a tent and camp somewhere on the site. It’s huge, and as long as it wasn’t near any buildings or roads, no one would find you and you’d be able to explore the whole thing thoroughly.
Regarding point 2, if it wasn’t clear I was on foot. I foolishly didn’t bring a bike.
Have you been to the old Russian base not far from Teltow?.From Konigsberger strasse in Lichterfelde/Lankwitz where I lived head out to the Real supermarket in Teltow,at the big crossing in Teltow bear to your left to travel to the nice garden centre,on your right after a couple of minutes is an old Russian base(security by van in operation generally same time every day about 12ish lunch time as of 2006),go to the rear and follow the railway lines,easy walk in from there,at start of railway lines is a large bunker with an easy in.Because I was alone I only went into the base.
Cheers Bill. I’ll deffo check it out. When you say “head out” do you mean by car, bicycle or on foot? And using Real as a start point, is it east, west or south? I presume it ain’t north if you’re coming from Lichterfelde? Thanks again.
If you are using Real in Teltow as the starting point,head back towards Berlin by car,when you get to the big crossing,turn to your right and as you get up the hill you will come across a very nice garden centre on your left,not far after on your right there is a wide loose filled track bear right here and follow,you will see entrance forbidden signs because of ammuntion in German lol,keep going slowly till you find the old railway lines on your left,the bunker is at the front very very close to the road and is a simple walk in through an open hatch.Follow the railway lines up through the trees and you will come straight into loads of old garages,row upon row of them,simple walk in as fence has a nice big hole.As you are Irish.pop down to Mcnair Barracks and there is an Irish guy who looks after the little musuem there,great little visit plus you can wander around Mcnair.All details correct as of 2006 when I left for the UK.
A couple of other points to mention.From Real go back to Berlin via Teltow and not via Kleinmachnow as you would be on the wrong road.If you miss the dirt track after the garden centre no worries as you would come to the front of the base.A nice day out is the famous cemetery not far from Real in Stahnsdorf,really huge place and many famous are buried here.The Siemans family plot is here as well,walk for about 3 KM inside the cemetery and you will come across War graves,as expected ours are kept in 100% prestine condition.The place is huge and does your spirits good to walk around such history,
Just thought of another to see if you do not know about it,go to the Wansee Conference Centre a real must see for anyone living or visiting Berlin.
The Historical Site
In this house – a former industrialist’s villa built in 1914-15 and used from 1941 to 1945 by the SS as a conference centre and guest house – on 20 January 1942, fifteen high-ranking representatives of the SS, the NSDAP [Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei] and various ministries met to discuss their cooperation in the planned deportation and murder of the European Jews.
Once you leave the house turn right out of main gate and after a very short drive/walk look to your left and there is a huge bunker with a big red cross on it,no idea how easy it is to get in,my guess probably very hard.I did a net search at the time and found no info about it.
Bill, thanks a million for all your helpful advice. I’ll certainly get down there and check it out. It sounds great! Hope to bring you a report and pictures of my findings in the near future. It’s been a crazy summer and it’s about time I got exploring again.
Have you been to the old asylum-seeker homes (Asylantenheime) in Eastern Köpenick (Wilhelmshagen)? Should take a look at it, interesting and scary, especially in winter/autumn.
52.429821, 13.721505 on GoogleMaps
Thanks for another great tip!
To me, the most interesting part of the site was the nuclear bunker (welded shut, though), the garages for rockets and rocket-transporters, and the launchpad which is a bit tricky to find. Naturally, you need some imagination for all these to come to life. The other buildings were almost completely empty with exception of a few Soviet wall-paintings here and there, mostly in bad shape. If you’re reasonably fit and have a map / compass / GPS you should be able to do it by walking / running (we did.)
I recommend studying / printing Martin Trolle’s map of the site:
This site is only part of a larger complex of military and nuclear sites. Again, Martin Trolle’s maps have more details. I haven’t been to any of the other sites, though.
The demolition of the Vogelsang site is progressing as of November 2011. The machinery is all there. I was there on a Sunday where they weren’t working. I met several other explorers there, including a girl making unusual photos of flowers inside these buildings using a homemade camera (only in Berlin will you see such unusual things, folks.) Someone else had left their bike locked securely inside a house. And I met a couple from New Zealand. We decided to explore together and I think they thought I was taking the whole sneaky / stealth thing too seriously – right until a forest ranger spotted us and chased after us in his 4wd, getting out yelling something in Deutsch and when we didn’t come out of our hiding he drove off in a hurry. We continued exploring – this time avoiding roads and doing our best Commando imitation. Later, just as it was getting dark, we got back to their car which they had parked right outside the main gate. It wouldn’t budge. Granted, it was a very old car, but still. So we went out and found 3 of the 4 tires flat. The forest ranger is a bit of a vigilante hot-head it seems, so you need to be careful. Unless they’re still stuck out there I’m sure they’ll post a comment in a few days saying how they managed to get their car running again …
So appropriately coloured clothes and staying off the roads whenever possible is recommended to avoid the forest ranger.
We had an amazing time yesterday, until as mentioned above we returned to our van to find the tyres had no air in them. After 3 hours of waiting in the cold a friendly German mechanic arrived and inflated our tyres and offered me a cigarette. Insurance is nice.
My advice for car drivers is; don’t park outside the locked gate on the forest road just past the train station. Your begging for trouble. As mentioned above the owner/ranger/security/vigilante is not happy about rubber neckers footing around his pad. Park at the train station if you arrive by car. It just makes more sense.
But all in all it’s a spectacular place to visit. Murals of cosmonauts were a personal highlight.
Anonymous – I’ll add the Asylantenheime to my list. Thanks for the tip.
Anonymous – If that’s the same anonymous leaving all those detailed comments you should think of starting your own blog – hilarious! You didn’t meet Yogi Bear on your explorations too?
By the way, did you try ALL the nuclear bunkers? I made it into one on my last visit. Crazy! I’ll update with details soon…
Anonymous – glad to hear you made it home! I’d suggest travelling by train and bringing the bike along to get to and around the site. If you’re parking it anywhere though, make sure it’s well hidden from that pesky owner/ranger/security/vigilante guy.
We might as well share our experiences in one common place 🙂 There’s no point going to a site just to find it has been torn down, sealed off tight, crawling with guards and dogs and what not. You spend a lot of time, effort and money to get there, no need to waste that. Once a guard (owner, ranger, whatever) catches you, it’s game over – even if you don’t get fined or anything you still have to leave the site. Also, it’s good to know such things about vigilantes deflating your car. Of course, how much we want to sneak around is a matter of personal taste. You do look like a fool if someone does see you, but the risk of that gets smaller the more careful you are 🙂
I didn’t see Yogi Bear, but thanks for asking. I also didn’t see any wolves as Mr. Irish B. did 😉 Perhaps they were wild boar? It looked like they really roaming the place along with deer and other animals.
I’m wary of crying wolf but they did have a remarkable wolf-semblance. I also saw boar-shaped boar, and deer-shaped deer on other visits so am fairly certain they really were wolves. As if it wasn’t exciting enough!
Regarding the wolf, might it have been a ram or a sheep? We cycled around some of the tracks and when we stopped we saw a ram staring right at us from the forest. He seemed to have several other sheep with him that bolted when we cycled off.
I did find a ram’s carcass in one of the sheds, and I suspect he wasn’t eaten by another ram…
But I think I’d recognise a sheep or a ram! I’m from Ireland, where men are men and sheep are nervous.
three of us went here last weekend. thanks to the tips on this site we managed to find the place (using bicycles), and it was a very interesting experience; though it was freezing the sun helped us enjoy the day; the location of this former soviet base is great – a beautiful forest. unfortunately yes, we came across workers on the site, and they are gradually demolishing the buildings; one worker spotted us and told us that we are not allowed here and to go away (but in a nice way); we said yes, yes, and we continued on our exploration away from the workers; still plenty of nice building standing up; and my favourite bit were the soviet murals of lenin, soviet solders, tanks etc in front of one of the main buildings – i hope they at least leave this undemolished, it is history and (socialist) art and surely would not hurt anybody if it continues its crumbling existence in these forgotten woods…
EXACTLY! I couldn’t have put it better myself!
This place sounds amazing! Is it still standing? I am in Berlin and would love to go soon.
As the anonymous above, i also wonder if it is still worth visiting. It sounds like a perfect way to spend a day.
Hey, does someone know if it is still interesting going there?
Yes. I was there last week, most of it is still standing, and it’s still very much worth visiting!
The words are in my head. I just need to get an evening free so I can sit down, type them out and there’ll be a fresh update to the Vogelsang post.
In the meantime, go out there! Look, see, explore!
Just give yourself plenty of time. I’ve been three times now and still haven’t seen it all.
read this article… and knew… that i’d read reference to the location before:
Thanks for posting the link. I groaned when I saw it first, though I’m not sure why exactly. I don’t know if it’s a good thing the BBC is writing about Vogelsang, but my initial reaction is for the latter. I know it’s hypocritical of me to say so.
Anyone knowing if this place is still standing? Or when it will be torn down?
It’s still standing, most of it. But they’re in the process of tearing it down, so don’t delay!
I will be in Berlin in June and this is on top of my list! How is the demolition process going? Even if there is “not much” there I would still love to visit it, and Irish Berliner if you are willing to join me (as I would be otherwise be going on my own)
I don’t see why they would demolish something like this, too cool!
@AussieCassie right? i don’t get it either. anyways i’m planing on checking out the site next week (mid april that is). i’ll post a report once i’m back and will also put some pictures on instagram (“denisschimpf” if you want to take a look at them).
@irish thanks for putting up martins map!
Any news on the demolition progress? How was it when you went @Denis ?
We visited on Monday!
All the most interesting stuff is still there, like the theatre, school, cafe, cinema and gym. They are still demolishing it from the north, but they are making slow progress with just one digger and maybe five people. Google satellite view gives a fairly accurate idea of the stage they are at now – lots gone from the map posted above. We didn’t have time to check out the missile area though.
We posted more on our visit here: yearinberlin.com/2013/05/08/vogelsang-a-soviet-ghost-town/
Thanks Kirstie! I’m due another trip. I look forward to checking out your post! IB
Me and a friend visited today!! It took us about 3hours to get to the site from charlottenburg but we had to walk from vogelsang station. The site was fascinating definately worth a visit!! We saw all the good bits inside the town, the gymnasium, theatre, cinema as well as what we reckon was a school, a canteen/diner and some sort of playing field. There was definately some construction work going on in the north end but it was a Sunday so there were no workers. Also a word of caution by the playing field there were jeep tracks that were fairly new. But other than that there was no trace of any kind of people since the place was abandoned!!
This place is really wonderful!!! You really feel like your lost inside of a forgotten place. Taking a bike is a good idea, but not necessary. The walk to the site was about 30 mins on foot without one. We’ve been there twice already, and there’s still a bit more to see. There are some buildings in the north end that have been demolished. But No signs of construction or workers on either of the days that we were there, and we went all over. Just lots of deer. Ran into a beautiful heard jumping over the fences on the north end, and scared a few that were hanging out inside one of the buildings.
Cool! Good to hear!
Visited Vogelsang the day after i saw Krampnitz and it was really nice, but in very poor condition. Me and my travelling partner actually got a big lost and stumbled into two wild boars that was very threatening, scary but very exciting. 😀
The houses are in extremely poor condition and many will problably collapse in the coming years, we didnt dare to enter many of the buildings because of roofs that had collapsed and walls that was about to give way.
But still, very interesting place to visit and see.
Well, at least you weren’t boared. 😉
I think I saw a wolf on my first visit there.
We went there about a week ago. Very nice spot and it was very good to have the bikes. We did not see any security or demolition workers (on Sunday), only a few other explorers and some families picking mushrooms. And a lot of deers.
There were people (friendly) collecting wood from the site/buildings (almost officially) which will be demolished at some point. There is a fence around the area with signs “do not enter” from the outside (invisible from the inside), but there were no signs or fences when coming through the main roads (both), so we felt quite legal there:)
There are some parts that are already demolished: in the north, and near the Missile Base. There were also signs explaining that demolition is funded by EU, so obviously it will be continued (it was sad to see that).
As most of the paved roads were paved, we did not have problems with mud (except for the road to the launchpad, but it is not far away from the good road anyways).
We entered most of the main buildings and felt rather safe there 🙂
Some more of my impressions and photos (October 2013) are here: vserys.com/blog/vogelsang/
I went there a coupe of months ago, about october 2013.
huge areas of the place doesn’t exist anymore..
The most of the buildings are completely empty and the theater collapsed.. it’s now an open air teather! 😀
In my personal opinion it still worth a visit! the only thing is that now one day is more then enough, specially if you are not taking professional pictures!
I was there on saturday, I didn’t see any employer or machine to destroy the last buildings. I had the impression they suspended the demolition work, but I’m definitely not sure about it!
Enjoy the place, and thanks once more to the owner of this web site!
Thanks for the comment Yuri! Last time I was there was August 2012 – how time flies! – but I’m surprised to hear that “huge areas of the place doesn’t exist anymore..”
I suspect that you didn’t get to see all the stuff to the south of the main buildings, where the missile bunkers and all that were. There is/was just so much to explore I don’t think it can be done in one day.
I need to do an update…
By the way, your photos are fantastic!
Yuri I have seen photos from the theatre from the 1st of december where the roof is still intact. Are we talking about the same building? The one with the magnificent grafitti with a face?
9th April 2014 — theatre is still intact. Small fire seems to have caused a hold in the front middle of the stage, but, apart from that, it’s all still there!
I am travelling from Stockholm to Berlin (again) in a few weeks and I would really like to visit Vogelsang. Last time I went to Krampnitz and this place seems to be just as fascinating.
Where is the most convenient place to park and enter when travelling by car?
hi andreas, for information feel free to contact me email@example.com –
a map with information about demolishing -> goo.gl/A8zO2A
Excellent map! Thanks!
thanks! feel free to use it for your blog like you did with your general map of locations … – F.
Went there yesterda and parked my car in front of the woods, on a little sand road. When we came back someone put a stone in the valve of one tire. It was empty. The carhelp man said hat this was very common. The car was aparently parked on private property. We didn’t see ANY sign. Perhaps the people who live there are fed up with all the tourists?
So beware wehen you go. It was a great trip though and I highly recommend it. Thanks for the great site.
You’re welcome. Sorry to hear about that car. Never heard of it happening before so it’s good to be warned. Thanks.
“I think I saw a wolf on my first visit there.”
IB, as you will probably have guessed from the many high seats, the current owner of the whole thing is a hunter. At the former SAM site (around the 1st “Wachturm” item on the above Google map) there are what a traveling companion who himself is a hunter identified as “Luderplätze”. A Luderplatz is essentially a little hole in the ground where you put “Luder” which is hunter-speak for rotting pieces of meat / animal parts. Why would you do that? As bait to attract Raubwild. So it is very well possible that what you encountered was not a “sheep” or “boar”, but indeed a wolf.
I wouldnt be too worried tho, when I visited I stumbled upon groups of families that were there – why i don’t know. One family seemed to be out on a picnic..
Families of wolves?!
I was unclear, sorry. People families, you know, four people out on a picnic. 🙂
Guys, thanks for all the info here. I visited the site this morning and am impressed. Amazing experience.
Theatre and school are intact yet. Cinema is now a mountain of rubble… 🙁
Yes, the area saw quite some changes. Was there in January 2013 together with my fellow Russian photographer Victor Boyko. We shot a photo series on Vogelsang.
we have been in vogelsang today. it was very easy to find but we were quite surprised when finding several groups of explorers. maybe it was because of the weekend but for my taste it was a bit too many people. however, the advantage of going there on the weekend is that there are no workers present. it is still an impressive place in a scenic forest but you gotta be fast before the government takes down the entire place. i can also agree to other posts that now one day seems to be enough for exploration.
we’ve been in vogelsang on tuesday. demolition is progressing. some buildings still shown on bing maps (which has 2014 satelite data for this location – google is quite outdated) vanished.
monument of the aviator near the theater is gone – not sure it was destroyed by the demilition crews, though – didnt look like it judging by the surroundings. maybe someone ‘saved’ it? unfortunately, absentmindedly i forgot to look for the lenin-monument at the other side of the building. does anyone know whether its still there? cinema is gone.
as mentioned on tuesday evening in karlshorst, when documentary film “lenin in vogelsang” was shown, the monument of the soviet tank soldier has been officially sold to a museum.
That’s a brilliant documentary. Highly recommended.
I think there are still tours there at weekends, hence the numbers of people. I guess the diggers, bulldozers and building-chompers are on duty during the week.
so, when you say the tank soldier monument has been sold, you mean also this part, dont you: yearinberlin.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/p1050415.jpg ? you know which museum has it now?
and does anybody know in which building this mural is and whether it still stands: flickr.com/photos/jrej/7649807062/in/photostream/ ?
for unknown reason, the museum (sorry, i forgot the name – but i’ll try to find out) was’nt interested in the lenin-monument on the left side of the officers’s club. so, this one should still be standing.
this mural is gone since 2012.
The name of the museum is “Blaulichtmuseum Beuster”. They have a vast collection of east-german and soviet fireengines, police cars and military vehicles.
I have visited Vogelsang 15 times in the past 5 years. When I come by car I always park at the station. Nobody will harm your car there. I’ve heard more stories about cars that have been damaged by locals, flat tires included. So, if you come by train or car, you walk 350 meter beside the railway line, on the right hand side. Shortly after the switch, where the two tracks come together, you cross the railway line. There you find a path to the left. After 150 meter you pass a barrier. Shortly after the barrier the path bears to the right. Now just keep on walking until you reach the first houses. The whole trip from the station takes less than 40 minutes. On weekdays there are workers on the way, but nobody will send you away. On weekends Vogelsang is busier with visitors. A friend of mine once met a group of neo-nazi’s. He returned home immediately, he had a bad day. There are single persons and groups who stay overnight. I know one of them, a Russian who once lived in Vogelsang. He is harmless, but I also found traces of hard drug use. The houses are mostly in bad condition, so be careful. When you want to visit Vogelsang, don’t wait too long. The demolishing goes quick now. I guess in two years everything is gone.
Thanks for the helpful info!
Guys, do you happen to know what is this place? goo.gl/maps/2LJq3
It’s near Köln, called “Vogelsang”, and Maps says “Resort on former Nazi training ground”.
the toponym “Vogelsang” (i.e. birds singing) is quite often in Germany. Soviet garrison Vogelsang near river Havel as described in this blog is in federal state Brandenburg north of Berlin and is not to be taken for another Vogelsang in Brandenburg east of Berlin at river Oder. There you’d just find more or less impressive ruins of a never completed war-time power plant.
Now, Vogelsang in Eifel hills, federal state of Northrhine-Westphalia and about 100 km west of Cologne near Belgian border has been built in mid-1930’s to house a NSDAP school for Nazi ideology. They called such places “Ordensburg”. You’ll find pictures of the building at english wikipedia s. v. “Ordensburg Vogelsang”.
After the end of the war british officials made a very reasonable suggestion to use the stone and other material of the vast site for the rebuilding of Cologne. In 1946 however, “Ordensburg” complex an territories around, including small village of Wollseifen, have been converted to a british military training ground. The nazi buildings used as barracks since then and Wollseifen got depopulated and destroyed. In 1950 Belgian troops took over and stayed there until 2005.
Since 2006 the area, including the barrier lake Urftstausee and the deserted village, is part of Nationalpark Eifel. The buildings of “Ordensburg” are now partly used as headquarter of Nationalpark administration, but also as international meeting place, educational institution and museum. You can visit without entrance fee. For more information see vogelsang-ip.de – also english, frensh and dutch translation avaliable there.
This map has been updated to end of September 2014. Feel free to use and to pass on the link. On Sept., 28th. I have’nt seen any construction machines or workers huts. Yet, it is autumn and hunting season. Meeting the forester or the tenant of the hunt should be fine, if you pretend just to walk on the main driveways…
I went yesterday for the first time to Vogelsang and it’s really amazing. Many buildings have already been demolished and quite a lot are really fucked up, but there are still many very interesting buildings (school, gym, sauna, heating houses, laundry, garages etc.) and the murals are also quite impressive. And then there are a lot of huge buildings and areas that are just worth an exploration (actually everything that is still standing).
There seems to be no problem with owners or security guards, at least at weekend. We saw a few groups of young people walking around, apparently there are constantly people visiting the spot, but it was not so much as to disturb you.
We took our bikes and it was cool, but it is not really necessary. One advice: study the map, before going. It really helped us a lot. Thank you anonymous (30.09.2014), the information is fantastic and still updated.
And now a question: It it worth to explore the Sonderwaffenlagen and bunker in the southwest area? We didn’t have time, since it was getting dark…
Yes, it’s worth it!
O.k. It really seems interesting…
Thank you, openurbex!
“So, too, is the building with the magnificent full-wall mural of the Soviet soldier, family, tank, helicopter and factory buildings”
IB, does your above quote refer to the wall mural behind the “Kalshnikov monument”, by any chance? The one shown in your pic …0493.jpg above?
That would be sad, indeed. Because a friend of mine actually DID file a Denkmalschutz request with the “Untere Denkmaschutzbehörde” for this very mural and a second one up at the former tank shooting range back in summer 2012. I guess after working really hard thinking the request over for more than 2 years, they decided to reject it, after all.
Oops, that should read “Kalashnikov” of course.
Yes, I’m afraid it is. If anything was worth preserving…
Such a shame.
Is this referring to your friend’s noble attempt? heimatgalerie.de/garnison-vogelsang-.html?start=11
Wow, talk about fast… Just a few days after the decision, and it’s already gone 🙁
“Is this referring to your friend’s noble attempt?”
Yes that’s what I was talking about. Wasn’t aware he already wrote about the decision on his site.
Originally he decided to keep mum about the Antrag so as to not ruffle feathers during the process. That point is moot now I guess. At least one good thing came from the Antrag – it delayed the mural destruction for more than a year (in autumn 2013 the construction workers at the site preparing to tear down the thing were “not amused” that they had to work their way around this mmural and the adjacent buildings). So at least some more visitors got the chance to see it before it disappeared. Same goes for the magnificent mural in the basement of the building right next to it which also was to be destroyed over a year ago.
off there 1st Feb. Anyone been recently? is it still worth a visit?
Can anyone assess the situation?
we visited this past weekend, and this mural still stands.
We visited this past weekend — apparently a perfect (albeit cold) time of year, considering there were no mosquitos and the ticks were still hibernating. We took a car and some camping gear…parked about 200m from the concrete wall near the missile bunkers without incident (read: all tires and windows in-tact). No trace of any workers (just their machinery) or even the park ranger. Took a quick look at the bunkers then spent most of sunny Saturday walking through the site and surveying the buildings to the North. Many houses and garages still stand, many have collapsed roofs but can still be entered. The mural mentioned above is still there, just hidden behind the overgrown foliage. Also as mentioned, most buildings have been stripped of -well- everything. Seems someone was even trying to pull up some parquet flooring. We met only a host of deer and two other explorers at the bunkers…saw another two people in the distance but never crossed paths. We saw no one else on-site Sunday. Heaps of Panzer shells to the North (near the small bunker with the front entrance closed for bats). Surprisingly — almost effortlessly — entered the bunkers on Sunday and made some light painting photos. Awesome experience.
Forgot to mention: watch your step in the forest!! We crossed several small metal disks…a few in front of the green bunker, even. Not sure what is still live or what’s been fully detonated but don’t suggest risking it out of curiosity.
Pretty convinced that The Wannsee Conference Centre is NOT an abandoned place. The website even refers to opening hours being between 10-18 during weekdays. Sorry, but if it is in fact not abandoned, it loses all its magic to me. But that might just be me 🙂
It is a magical place. The clock stopped ticking. Inspiring. Thank you for publishing your pictures. They are amazing and were the perfect excuse for visiting Vogelsang. We went there and took some too. The place is huge. It is worth it to take a perfect combo: bike and camera. You will recognize a window. 😉
Hope you enjoy! (The photos of Perspekteva were taken not only in Vogelsang, but in other spots that you have in your blog!)
I’ve been there last weekend. What an huge location! I prepared our visit by putting all highlights in my Garmin GPS, so they were easily and fast to find, which was also very time-saving. It’s literally a walk in the park. We met some other photographers. No signs of security or something. We parked the car at the Vogelsang railway station and crossed the train track. Most of the things on the pictures in the article above are still there, including the murals. No musquitos found. Some buildings in the north are demolished and completely gone. Yes, it’s a magical place. Still a visit worth, but you have to reserve a day for it, at least! 😉
The site openurbex.org seems to be “out of order”. Will it be working again soon?
There are no further clues of any workers or demolising machines in the area. Just a sign with the names of the companies, who demolished some of the buildings. Great place, worthy for the eyes to see. Though you should watch out for parts of glass from the shatterned windows on thier way down, bring a first aid kit just in case, cause there are no one to come to your rescue. Sadly there aren’t many leftovers, so the only souvenir I got was the experience 🙂
Went back this week and it actually seems, that the demolition process has been stopped. There are no machines and the place is just like when I was here one year ago, so there is is still a lot to see and to explore, it’s really worth it! The only bad news is that some graffiti-idiots decided to ruin some cool Soviet spots, spraying horrible tags over or close to them.
Been there today, one of the best experiences in my life, thanks for the infos and tips. No workers or security, only me, my co-explorer and girlfriend and another (nice) German couple met while exploring the gym. We wandered for 7 hours in this iron curtain wonderland (I agree, the soviet visual propaganda always fascinated me), I think we managed to see everything except for one (big) thing, the missile bunkers and the launchpad (sigh, sob). Are they still up? Beacause of the lack of GPS and cellphone map in the last part of pur tour (batteries gone) we didn’t find them. We noticed that a large zone near the garage 50 has been completely demolished or covered with sand, kept going around where we tought they were (southwest zone, near the aforementioned garage) but nothing 🙁 My vacation ends tomorrow and then I’m going back to Italy without seeing the whole package, that’sad, grr. Anyway, thanks again, the job you’re doing is amazing 🙂
Btw has anyone visited Falkenhagen base? If it’s still worth an accessible then I’ll know where to book for th the next vacation 😀
There is an alternative direct connection to Vogelsang(Gransee) station right next to the site from Berlin Lichtenberg station. Regional (RB) trains leave from there every hour.
Was there on Sunday, no security, no hassle, no construction, still a lot to see and do. Would have liked to see the Plotbot art as well as mentioned in another article here as well, but could not find it. I will go again in the summer for sure!
Was there today, 7-8 hours on spot. Since the last comment is from a long time ago I’ll expand a bit, trying to elaborate on what’s been said so far.
But first things first: All Hail King Fahey !
So here we go:
– Bike: I thought it would be a no-go without a bike, but that’s wrong. Worse: I’m not sure how much more good than bad the bike does you there. In my experience I cut a lot through the woods, and there the bike is a pain in the ass you have to push forward like an asshole. Taking the ‘roads’ is not always possible, or the best solution, etc. So if you don’t mind a 15-20min walk from the train station, I’d say go with no bike.
– Highlights: all the highlights I had in mind are there. Lenin, the panzer, couple of murals, training yard, bunkers (don’t miss the bunker’s), … for the rest, it was pretty boring, which makes the thing not so dense, just so you know. I did not enter all the buildings of course (would take more than a day), but those I entered contained nothing interesting. Given the time it takes to go there from Berlin, I recommend visiting the site with the google maps of the place loaded on and go from here to here, according to what you want to see and what’s said there. Actually if you want to be even somewhat efficient you simply need that. In a short winter day, there is abso-fucking-lutly no way of entering every building. And this is for the green-starred ones!
– Demolition: it was Saturday and no action, but …
– The forester: I guess it’s the guy that came to me at one point. Nicest dude in the world. Suggested I take another way to ‘get to the train station’, since the way I was taking would lead me face to face with a river lol. #ForesterForPresident
– Timing: You wanna get there early. Like I said: I took the first train from Berlin, and even there and cherry-picking the places to go, I only barely made it to the 15:46 (16:45 no more light now). I was alone though, so I always do stuff faster than with friends. Get up early.
– Wildlife: saw three deers very early in the morning. Then nothing else but squirrels (and an amazing bird but I don’t know the name sorry … well it was big).
– Entry to one of the bunkers by the roof’s smoke exit: well, you gonna have to bring tools to dig in then. No.way. It’s blocked, unfortunately! But the bunker still rocks!
And now to bed – woke up at 5:30 boys and girls. Can you do it? It’s amazing to get there early! (for that actually I think the winter time does add up to the experience, even though it shortens the day).
PS: oh and I failed to found that launchpad, a bit south of the main action, kind of alone in the woods in between the train station and the main site (it’s indicated with an arrow one picture somewhere). Anyone found it?
We went there last week with a few friends, parked by the station and cut through the woods. I advise to carefully check the map because the woods are full of different paths (and non-paths haha) but you do eventually find it, it’s just too big to be missed ! As the previous comment, I agree that most buildings don’t contain much, and the demolition and the re-naturing has obviously gone a long way. Still, the bunkers’ area is worthwhile, and it’s a strange interesting feeling to wander around the woods-city ! youtube.com/watch?v=PPHygd1l8i0
Wrong link … youtu.be/RJRTrr-qFIQ
Was there yesterday. Awesome site. And large. Didn’t have the time to check out the nuclear bunkers though. Still things to see there. Kindergarten, school, Lenin statue and wall, gym, theatre, the 20m statue wall is still there in the northwest. Buildings are in very bad shape though, some are missing roof etc.. be careful and watch your step, the floors are getting pretty rotten. And go NOW before it’s too late.
Excellent to hear that there is still some of it left as of June. I hope they haven’t finished demolition by July. 🙁 I will be there in a little over a week I hope. Still debating whether to go on Sunday, or Monday. Sunday sounds like one can avoid the workers which could be good.
Another thought.. I see the area is being used for hunting of some sort. Is there some danger of being mistaken for wildlife and shot? Haha.. Thanks for all the work on making this area public. It’s a shame that some enterprising millionaire didn’t buy it up and make it into a museum.
we will check out this place in the next few days …. 🙂
Hey so I’m checking this place out on Friday July 8th alone but would rather not go alone. Anyone interested in joining me? Send me a email at phillybeast1[at]gmail.com thanks!
I’m going Friday the 8th. When you guys going? I would rather check this place out with others and not alone.
Will you go there by car or train? Where do you start?
I’m going by train. Hopefully getting to Volgelsang station by 9:30ish in the morning. Shoot me a email and we’ll talk more. phillybeast1[at]gmail.com
So, tomorrow at 9:05 or 10:05 at Vogelsang station?
Like Anonymous above, I would rather visit this fascinating place with others.
Is anyone planning on visiting in the next few weeks, on a weekend?
Hi Anonymous… yeah I am in Berlin for the last weekend in July and would love to check this and a few other sites out…elmejorbrad at the gmail platform…drop me a note.
So, just to be sure… those lines on the map mark actual paths, right?
Frebbe, thanks for all your updates! It helped us a lot today.
Unfortunately the Forester was at home, so we didn’t went past his house.
But next to that: the most awesome place to urbex…WOW!
The only downside is that all the wood (like floors and so on) is getting in pretty bad shape. I’m affraid that more buildings are gonna fall apart :/
OK..and I have another downside I just remind: who is the nutter who set the floor of the stage in the theatre on fire!? It’s suge a shame…
But I want to end this late night message in a positive way: AWESOME URBEX GROUND!
I was wondering one thing on my visit in Vogelsang yesterday. I’ve been already there a couple of times in the past, but went yesterday the first time to the area with the remaining three wooden style houses (see Google maps: 53°03’15.27” 13°21’36.27”). When I entered this area I had the *feeling* that somebody would live there in the first house so that I withdrawed from this area. What I’ve seen from the distance was a clear and new looking glass bottle (maybe Wodka) on the window ledge, something what looked like fire wood, a green plastic box near the fire wood and an ancient tricyle for children. The wooden house itself looked pretty intact. I might be completely wrong and it might has been just a feeling. Has somebody been to this wooden houses in the last time and could confirm or reject? I’m just insecure if I should make a second attempt. Don’t want to end up like the guys in the “Urban Explorer” horror movie ;-). Anyway those houses are a nicely hidden so they would be perfect for living there ;-).
Anyway, thank you Ciaran for this great site and all your effort. It’s really helpful and highly appreciated!
I’d like to say ‘thank you!’ to the author of the post for all the info concerning Vogelsang, and for the very useful map. Thanks tothem I could arrange a very satisfying 5 and a half hour exploration of the base four days ago. I just came back home and I wanted to say thanks. The info was perfect. I’d like to add just one thing – entering the nuclear weapon storage N.5 was not difficult at all, for the gate to the back side – the one you come to through the small brick building – was open. On the contrary, the other (N.6) was totally unaccessible (welded gate on one side and a heap in front of the door on the other end).
I will be posting about this experience on my wordpress. Thanks.
I just want to give you a little update regarding my previous post about the signs of habitation at the mentioned wooden houses. After I had the feeling somebody is living there I was curious and brave enough to start a second attempt a week later. I know Vogelsang well but have never been to those wooden houses, so I couldn’t help to start a second attempt. As I told you before, last time I recognized a bottle of Vodka in one of the windows and some firewood from the distance, this time a bicycle leaned against the front of the wooden house.
The bike might has belonged to one of the young people which were hanging around on the rooftop of the heating plant nearby as well, but anyway I had the feeling again that somebody is living there or at least has built up his camp there. The place would cozy and hidden enough to stay there for some weeks ;-). Also the trail to the house was much more trodden down than other trails in Vogelsang as it would used very frequently.
I would suggest leaving this house alone when exploring. Has anyone been to this area in Vogelsang recently and could bring some light on this matter?
Hello Frebbe, could you provide me a quick legend to your map. (like what are the differences between the green and the brown areas)? Also, out of curiosity, the do-not-touch landmark, is it a landmine?
The map included in the article is now a 404 and a lot of the recent comments have been deleted. Any updated info on this site? i.e. what has already been demolished and what survives. Also the location of the forester’s house would be helpful.
I was there 2 days ago, it was hard to find from station Vogelsang. We have seen some buildings but we could not find the big things like the cinema etc. If we did better research than we could find it for sure. But we didnot any research. We did not see any workers or the ranger.
Those comments were removed by the author, who also happens to be responsible for the map. He has his reasons for removing them and we have to respect them. Meanwhile, there’s still plenty to see and find in Vogelsang.
I was there on Dec 26th. I could see most of the details.
I’ve been there in spring 2015. One can easily getting lost in this huge site with it’s forests. A tip for everyone who wants to visit this huge area: do a lot of research of all the hot spots on the site you want to visit via Google Earth. Create pins of them, convert the KML containing the pins to a GPX file and upload it into a GPS device, a Garmin for example. That makes the navigation a lot easier and saves a lot of time searching for them on this huge site. Another tip: make a waypoint of your car and you won’t get lost in the woods! Just my two cents! Enjoy! 😉
Hey Guys. I am planning a trip to the site in a few days and am in need of a map, or perhaps more precise information about the geography of the place. Uptade on demolition or security would be nice top! Cheers
I briefly explored the area two days ago (Friday) entering from North leaving at South (no fence or gate to jump). There is still a lot to explore although the buildings are in a quite bad shape. Saw traces of ongoing demolition but nothing was happening at the time of my visit. I have met no one during my visit (no guards, no workers, no other explorers) although I had to make some maneuvers to avoid crossing our routes with a large forestry truck extracting wood on the East side (they use the concrete roads of the site).
I have not managed to find Lenin neither the bunker – given the limited time and as the map is gone from above (would be nice if someone recreated it). I recommend planning to spend a lot of time there and definitely bringing a bike.
On the demolition progress: as far as I saw the buildings around 53.06943, 13.39903 and 53.0425, 13.36495 are completely gone, don’t even bother.
Cheers and thanks for this article and all the useful comments.
Lenin moved from Vogelsang to Wünsdorf’s garnisons museum. Lenin stands now in front of the museum entrance.
I also recommend a tour to the Zeppelin bunker in the area, where tickets can be bought at a local bookstore.
Was last week in Vogelsang and it’s true: Lenin is gone! Besides that, most of the buildings are still intact, so that it’s still worth a visit… Pics and more info in my site about Lenin-monuments in Germany: leninisstillaround.com/2015/08/05/lenin-in-death-row/
Thank you so much for this detailed blogpost and for all the helpful comments and updates here! We also went there recently as a small group, took the train from Berlin in the morning, brought our bikes and easily found the area in the woods. From recent storms, there are a lot of trees which fell over the bike track, so you should be prepared to carry your bike sometimes.
When arriving in Vogelsang, we were overwhelmed by the huuuuge size of the area and were lucky that we met an extremely friendly man who lives nearby, grew up in the area and sometimes goes there to watch birds. He spontaneously showed us around and told us many historical facts and own personal stories about Vogelsang. Amazing!
From the north-western side of the whole military area, some bulldozers have already destroyed a few of the buildings, so you should be quick if you want to go there. Maybe one fourth of the whole buildings have already been gone and more of them will probably disappear in the near future, because the government is about to re-naturalize the whole place.
Some highlights that we still discovered were the fake-tank for practice purposes, the two gyms (one for children, one for soldiers), the school, the kindergarden, the launderette, the old movie theater and many houses of the officers and conventional soldiers. Apparently, hardly any of the buildings looks like on the photos in this blogpost anymore, because people have destroyed a lot, left their trash and sprayed their graffitis nearly everywhere.
So when you come to Vogelsang, don’t expect to find the place like you see it on the photos here, but you will still discover an amazing place with lots of history!
As many of the people wrote here before, bring your bike, go with a group and not on your own, bring a flashlight, a camera, a mosquito spray and wear long trousers and sturdy shoes to protect yourself from ticks, branches, metal pieces and barbed wire. And be careful, some of the buildings are in danger of collapsing and some ceilings are already full of holes. 🙂
It’s gonna be a fun adventure! Enjoy!
P.S.: If the train back to Berlin is full because there are already too many other people with bikes in there, take the next train to the opposite direction to Templin Stadt, stay inside the train and then take it back again to Berlin via Vogelsang. At least it worked in our case. 🙂
The Lenin-relief that used to be in Vogelsang was transported to a small museum in Wünsdorf, where it’s standing in front of the main building. At least it was not destroyed by the bulldozers! More info and pics: leninisstillaround.com/2018/08/27/vogelsangs-lenin-saved-from-demolition/
I’ve been to Vogelsang twice. I remember from my first visit in 2013 there was a Soviet mural wall with the carved scenes of the harvest and the soldiers as pictured in this post (not where Lenin was, deeper in the forest). On my second visit a few years ago, I couldn’t refind the wall. Does anyone know if this was removed/destroyed or if I was just lost?
Does anybody know the current status of Vogelsang today? Is it demolished or partly demolished? Any plans for it?
I’m really looking forward to an answer. Thanks!
Why don’t you check it on your own? Go there, be surprised what is left or, in case nothing is left of it, have an incredibly relaxing hike through the forest… 🙂
Thanks for your answer. I only have 4 days in Berlin and much too see. I don’t wanna be disappointed, ending up with nothing. Thats why I asked.
Okay, I understand that point. My last visit there was in February, 2019. The remains of the camp on the railway line, the entrance area with dog kennel, garages and warehouses, the tearoom with shop, the house of officers with a relief wall (without the Lenin), the school with gymnasium, the large sports hall, the barracks buildings with a staff building, the building with classrooms and the plunge pool and the tank dummy, the small medical building behind it, the laundry with the buildings around it, the barracks with soldier’s head on the gable and the two reliefs in the (water-filled) cellar and also the long colorful wall with reliefs. Furthermore, I found accessible: the earth-covered large garage over a narrow corridor, the northern of the two bunkers for nuclear weapons via a ventilation pipe and the telecommunications bunker. It is possible that further demolition work is taking place there at the moment and correspondingly fewer buildings are standing. If you have any questions, just check my blogger profile or use my email.
hey! any recent updates ?
Yes, apologies for not updating before. There’s not as much as there once was there before, but it’s still very much worth a visit! I’ll update this post with new photos and instructions soon.
I was about to ask the same question as I’m planning to get there next week 😉
Vogelsang is nearly teared down. Just a few houses left – but still the quite nice theater/cinema is there with roof repaired.
I went there a couple of days ago. Still fascinating, you can wander around there for hours but unfortunately, it’s full of ugly graffitis…
Er blevet inspireret af jeres billeder
hvor langt Er der at gå fra det nærmeste parkerings område kan se på Google Earth at der ikke er så mange veje rundt i området
sory went Danish
Has been inspired by your photos
how far Is there to walk from the nearest parking area, can see on Google Earth that there are not so many roads around the area
are most houses worth seeing, demolished?
It’s huge… You can wander around for hours and have amazing surprises while entering most of the buildings… From the station – you can park around that area I think – , it’s like 20/30 minutes walking I think.
Hey all, is it still possible to visit? 🙂
Yes, I was there just today.
Update March 2021: We were there on the 20th of march. We were already there in 2015 and it is still a great place to visit, but actually more damaged than before. For example the main gymnasium is now with graffitis and the original paintings are pretty damaged. That was a pity, because this was the best of this place! Also more rubbish than before. But, as I said, still a great place to explore! We have a travel blog (but in Spanish!) and you can see here some info/pictures: https://www.elmundoenfotogramas.com/destinos/europa/alemania/sitios-abandonados-en-berlin/
I went here April 14, 2022 and it still stands, but torn like discribed. Houses are empty shells. I thought the sports hall and theater was the most interesting. It’s here exactly so you won’t miss it:
As always, thanks Spudnik for the great descriptions and the story behind this place.
You will walk 4+ km before you see anything.
Like said above: DON’T FORGET TO PRESS THE STOP BUTTON ON THE TRAIN, because its a really small place where people don’t get off.
Photos on Insta @starkurbex_
Buy Abandoned Berlins books, they are great!
One thing that I dont understand is that the basket cage (goal) was up on the wall when I was there but on Spudniks photos it’s on the ground. So someone put it up again? To play some basket ball? 🙂
There is 2 gymnasium
are you still Able to go in the bunkers?
Yes you are. it looks like it’s closed though, just walk around the left side from the main entrance that is bricked up and you will see a plate that you can push in. The coordinates are around here: 53.056714, 13.369203
We went on Friday- easy to get in/around, still a fair bit to see in the gym/theatre/school buildings. I’d recommend saving an offline map with some of the coordinates listed in the comments before going.
One tip – the coordinates for the large bunker for storing nuclear weapons are: 53.0436610, 13.3651810
You can get in via a tunnel in the hillside, it’s pitch black and pretty atmospheric. But be aware this spot, unlike the rest, did seem to be under video surveillance. We were asked by a very friendly security person not to walk on or in the hill, that was it.
I went here last week, it was incredible. It’s HUGE and my biggest mistake was not leaving enough time to see everything. I was easy to access and I did not run into any guards. It’s located a ways down a dirt road/path that’s not accessible to cars, so leave enough time to walk or bring a bike.
I was there last summer (2022). It was my second visit here, first one was in 2017.
Place was still amazing and huge but some buildings were demolished (around 53.057618, 13.359115).
On youtube there is a cool documentary about this place (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSS7cTaqBvM).
Thank you for posting a link to the documentary! I saw it at Kino Krokodil when they released it and loved it but could never find it online. It’s definitely worth watching. Will include the link above 🙂