Top 10 Cities for Urban Exploration

The Berlin Olympic Village in busier days. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Big draw: Beelitz-Heilst├Ątten Hospital

Long before Adolf Hitler was chancellor, he was treated at Beelitz-Heilst├Ątten, a WWI-era military hospital, for a leg wound as a young soldier in 1916 [source: Hawkins]. Almost 80 years later, deposed East German dictator Erich Honecker was treated there for cancer.

The sanatorium was built in the late 1800s to deal with Germany's tuberculosis outbreak, and the complex is accordingly massive. It later became a German military hospital, then a Russian military hospital, and ultimately the stalking ground of a serial killer named Wolfgang Schmidt [source: Chalk].

More to explore:

  • Iraqi embassy: Quickly abandoned in 1991, furniture, typewriters, books and documents remain [source: Aljazeera].
  • 1936 Olympic Village: Built to showcase Aryan superiority, site of Jesse Owens' multi-faceted victory and, after World War II, barracks for Russian occupiers. The sprawling complex has been silent since 1992 [source: Scraton].
  • Spreepark Planterwald: Abandoned amusement park complete with motionless Ferris wheel. Enough said.

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