Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

Railways Building in Leipzig

Posted: June 4, 2013 in Germany

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I went to Leipzig almost by accident: I needed to go through this Eastern German city to get to Prague and then I saw no reason why I wouldn’t visit it properly. Of course I made my home work. I found a Facebook page of Urbex in Leipzig and then, by chance, I found a fellow who provided me an extensive list of urban exploration sites in the city with coordinates. Of these, I selected a few. The others were either too far from the center or too risky for a solo exploration.

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Well, in the end I just had the chance to visit one of these spots. It’s a couple hundred meters from the main train station of Leipzig and it’s indeed a structure related to the railways, although I had no clue of its exact nature. This is one of the things I like the most in urban exploration: to speculate about the places and what went on there in their good old times. This house was a mix. There were residential rooms, collective showers and toilette, storage rooms, an area covered by glass roofs, and even mysterious tunnels.

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One thing I can tell: it was spooky. Of course, when you do this alone and in a foreign country the adrenaline is always higher than average. I also find myself more vulnerable when I explore locations close to cities. Well, this one was right on the centers. To me it only means that odds of encounters with weirdos and tricky “fauna” increase.

I entered using the only available opening, a door under metallic stairs in which someone opened a hole. Then it was exploring and exploring. Eventually I thought I heard sounds, but then decided if there was people moving around there the level of sound would be higher and I decided it was just the wind. You see… just like in a classic scene from a horror movie. But yes, indeed it was only wind. Most people can’t recognize levels of sound. But they exist and aren’t so hard to identify. In an empty building – even in the middle of the city – noise is low and a single human step can be heard, distinctively.

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But despite this I decided I had enough adrenaline. I was not happy, knowing there was only one way out and it could be blocked by any incoming “visitors”. So I left. Coordinates of the place:  51° 20.837’N  12° 23.189’E

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And, finally, the glorious entrance:

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Hahn USAF Air Base, Germany

Posted: February 29, 2012 in Germany


My thoughts were floating and somehow it came to my mind: I never presented in this blog my first urbex adevnture, the beginning! And I did have some pictures of it! Well, yeah. It was in 2007. October. I was in my way for a trip to Bratislava and Wien, which would end in Prague where I was establishing myself. So it was a big moment, an important journey. I was flying with Ryanair, with a scale in the small aiport of Frankfurt-Hahn.

It happens this airport, before it started to being used by Ryanair, was an important American Air Base, playing a major role during the Cold War. From Wikipedia:

Hahn Air Base was a frontline NATO facility in Germany for over 40 years during the Cold War (former ICAO EDAH, now EDFH as Frankfurt-Hahn Airport). It is located 10 km (6.2 mi) from the town of Kirchberg and 20 km (12 mi) from the town of Simmern, and 2 km from the tiny village of Hahn in the Rhein-Hunsrück district of Rhineland-Palatinate in west-central Germany.

It was the home of the United States Air Force 50th Fighter Wing (in various designations) for most of those years as part of the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). It was one of several USAFE bases in Germany (Zweibrucken Air Base, Ramstein, Sembach, Bitburg, Spangdahlem, and Rhein-Main) all within 100 km (62 mi) of each other. Beyond their location in the heart of US troop concentrations, these air bases were well situated to reach all locations within Europe and the Mediterranean region.

At the end of the Cold War, Hahn Air Base supported more than 13,000 people and three squadrons of F-16 tactical fighters. When the Cold War threat of an invasion of West Germany subsided, the United States was left with a huge excess capacity of expensive airfields in Europe.

As a result, the 50th TFW was inactivated in 1991 after 35 years at Hahn. The 496th TFS was inactivated on 15 May; The 313th TFS on 1 July, and the 10th TFS on 30 September. The 50th Tactical Fighter Wing was inactivated on 30 September 1991. On 30 January 1992 the 50th was activated as the 50th Space Wing at Falcon (later, Schriever) AFB, Colorado.

On 30 September 1993, most of Hahn Air Base was returned to civil German authorities but USAFE retained a small portion as a communications site.

The German government decided to turn the former NATO airfield into a civil airport. One of the main investors in the development of the new Frankfurt-Hahn Airport was Fraport AG, which primarily runs Frankfurt International Airport, the aim being to reduce the amount of traffic using that airport.

The faculty and police training school of the Rheinland-Pfalz State Police were combined at a new joint facility located at the air base’s former housing area in 1996.”

Further info at the Wikipedia Article.

Well, and there I was, with a full day ahead of me, nothing to do. So why not explore the nearby facilities. So I walked. And walked. Eventually I found hangars, abandoned. The old checkpoints reminded me of the famous Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie. I saw the barracks, the squadrons headquarters and assorted structures related with military activity. I can’t remember the details anymore, but it was a cool day, although a bit cold and damp. All of it carrying my full cargo (remember, I was moving to Prague….).

Now, the best bit was the bunker. Yes, an underground bunker I found. Explorable. A wreck but by then no graffiti.  It was awkward. Exploring former Soviet bases it’s common. Now, it’s not every day that you ave a change to to the same with their counterparts, an American base. And as it was the best, the coordinates I am providing are for it: N 49° 56.963 E 007° 17.317

Be aware that it might be tricky to find the right access. Most of the area is fenced and eventually guarded. Ironically I almost ran intro troubles when I was exiting as I passed in front of a trailer with two civilian guards who got nervous, seeing me leaving the area from where I was not suppose to come from. Fortunately  they couldn’t speak English so I played the dumb tourist role and kept walking as they yelled at me.


 

 

Zittau, Germany

Posted: December 6, 2010 in Germany

 

I was invited to visit Zittau with a  group of friends from Prague. From there it’s easily doable as a day trip and you even can explore the Czech town of Liberec in the way. Zittau it’s a live example of the dark aspects of German reunification. Since it happened the population of this town decreased from 60.000 to about 15.000 inhabitants. Most of the people just moved to western cities, like Frankfurt or Cologne. Behind they left a huge amount of buildings… getting slowly rotten, empty or just held by old people who can’t afford a proper maintenance.

Walking in some of the streets of Zittau it’s just like traveling in time back to the good old days of DDR and Erich Hoenecker.  But, inspiring as that can be, it’s not really like exploring abandoned places. Come on, Zittau aged brutally but it’s not that abandoned! No… the aim of the expedition are the barracks of the DDR Army, in use before the fall of Berlin Wall. In those times there was an Officers School there, preparing young German men to fight the devilish West in tanks. Unfortunately that’s all I could find about the place. Perhaps a German fellow may Google it further down, but in English there is no info available.

 


a street of Zittau, 2010

 

 


two entrances spots

 

 




 

I visited the place in the Winter 2010 and it was possible to enter two of the main barracks there. I can’t promise the openings will still be there. The Army was using an huge area in Zittau. I Mean it. Part of it was already renovated and is now in use by civilians (offices, apartments, universities, etc)… but at least in these coordinates there were the open barracks and one of the access there: N 50° 53.029 E 014° 48.245

 

my favorite picture of that day… two chairs… perhaps two ghosts sitting on them

 

how about some German porn from the 80’s to finish he trip?