Most of the time, the locked doors of abandoned buildings give way to deserted hallways of peeling paint, junk and general emptiness. So what makes them so fascinating? And what makes us want to peer inside? This series of photos should help shed some light on this dusty matter…
Beelitz Sanatorium, Berlin, Germany
Beelitz Sanatorium, built between 1898 and 1930, was one of the largest hospital complexes on the outskirts of Berlin. The complex of 60 buildings covers a staggering 200 hectares. Beelitz Sanatorium served as a treatment centre for wounded soldiers during both world wars. Of the 17,500 convalescents between 1914 and 1916 was a wounded soldier called Corporal Adolf Hitler.
After the Second World War the sanatorium was taken over by the Red Army, becoming the largest military hospital outside the Soviet Union. Some of the buildings today have been restored and remain in use, while others remain derelict.
The exquisite blend of decay and ornate architecture make Beelitz Sanatorium a popular location for filming. Roman Polanski’s The Pianist was filmed there as well as Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise. For more great images, click here. There are also some awesome images of the tomb-like bath house – check them out.
Fort du Salbert, Belfort, France
Fort du Salbert, also known as Fort Lefebvre, was built between 1874 and 1877, and named after General François Joseph Lefebvre. Located at the summit of Salbert Hill, it forms part of the Séré de Rivières system fortifications in the Belfort region of northeastern France. During the early years of the Cold War the Fort du Salbert briefly served as an air defense coordination center.
Operations at Fort du Salbert were terminated in 1959, with the station operational for barely two years. It was decommissioned due to the obsolescence of its radars, whose short range, low altitude coverage and poor performance made them of limited use. After verious military support roles, the fort eventually passed to the ownership of city and is used today for recreational purposes.
Citadel of Belfort, France
In the same region as the fort above, the Lion of Belfort is a majestic site against the cliff. It was built to commemorate the strength of the city against the Prussians during the Siege of Belfort in 1870. The 22 metre high Lion of Belfort took seven years to build. Several outlandish legends exist about the lion, from folklore – it would come roaring into the city on dark nights – to the plain bizarre – the beast was filled with some sort of communications “machinery” linked by a tunnel to the castle. Recent restoration has at least put the latter legend to bed!
The site was occupied by a castle around 1226, before the citadel was built by Gaspard de Champagne, Comte de la Suze during the 17th century. The citadel is famous for owes its heroic resistance during the Siege of Belfort, led by Colonel Denfert-Rochereau, during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
King Edward Hotel, Jackson, Mississppi
The King Edward Hotel (above and top) in downtown Jackson is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. The King Edward was built in 1923 after the first hotel on the site (Confederate House) was destroyed during the Civil War. Adopting the Beaux-Arts style, the hotel was at the centre of Jackson society and politics for over 40 years – a length of time mirrored only by the building’s spell in dereliction after it closed in 1967. Happily though, the King Edward Hotel is one of the lucky ones and, after a $90 million renovation beginning in 2006, reopened its doors again in December 2009 as the Hilton Garden Inn Jackson-Downtown.
Abandoned Office with Trucks and School Buses, Jackson, Mississippi
This abandoned depot is an interesting find – derelict offices full of old equipment, with dilapidated school buses and other vehicles lined up in an overgrown corner of the yard. Whether or not the depot is still in use is unclear, but there’s no doubt that human activity in these areas has been very limited in recent times.
Browse more amazing deserted buildings and objects in our Abandoned category.