Creepy photographs show the remains of Spreepark: once East Germany’s only theme park that ended in scandal
An eerie atmosphere, smashed windows, broken dinosaurs and abandoned rides covered in graffiti- it is hard to believe that this was a theme park that once attracted 1.5 million people a year in its prime.
After its opening in 1969 it quickly became hugely popular as it was the only amusement park in the German Democratic Republic, located in North Plänterwald, Berlin.
Originally called ‘Kulturpark Plänterwald’ (Cultural Park Plänterwald), the name was changed and the park privatised in 1991, a year after the reunification. With this also came a new owner, Norbert Witte.
Witte, who once caused one of Germany’s worst ever carnival accidents when a crane he was operating crashed into a ride killing seven and injuring 15, eventually drove the park to bankruptcy in 2001. The park officially shut in 2002, when Witte and his son were convicted for attempting to smuggle drugs in one of the rides.
Today the park is a must-see for keen urban explorers and tourists who are intrigued by its eerie romanticism and sad history.
Berlin-based photographer Manuela Tänzler, 52, paid the park a visit to take some fascinating pictures that give an insight into the abandonment that now prevails over the whole area.
She said: “It fascinates me to explore these old sites. They tell hundreds of stories. I do not only take photos, I also read about the history. In and around Berlin there are a lot of forgotten treasures.
“I heard about the beauty and the atmosphere and wanted to check it out.”
Urban explorer Florian Seidel, 38, also visited the creepy location after Berlin city council repossessed the site in 2014.
Photographer Florian, from Germany, said: “I knew I would find my way into Germany’s most famous abandoned theme park, though I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to.
“When I first saw the sad leftovers of the park my heart sank a bit – all the horror stories about vandalism at famous abandoned places in Europe seemed to have come true at first sight, even from the outside.
“Upon entrance, I finally saw the park’s landmark – a Ferris wheel 45 meters high, and to my surprise, it was moving.
“During my visit, I talked to a man who had lived in the area for 40 years and knew all about the park and its history – he was not happy with the current situation.
“He confirmed that the Ferris wheel was very dangerous as the foundations are completely rotten and a very strong wind could bring it down.
“Of all the abandoned theme parks I’ve been to, this trip really had it all – security, police, neighbours, wannabe explorers, and risk takers.
“But ultimately, it’s always sad to see a park that was once so loved in a state of abject decay.”
To see more of Florian Seidel’s urban explorations visit: http://abandonedkansai.com/.