Abandoned Medicine – Beelitz Heilstätten

May 3, 2013 9 Comments »

abandoned berlin

Beelitz stairway – history crumbling

The trees limbs were heavy with freshly fallen snow providing a peaceful backdrop on this entirely eerie place. I had made my way outside of Berlin to the little community of Beelitz on this snowy Easter weekend to photograph Beelitz Heilstätten, a sanatorium for tuberculosis treatment methods in the early 20th century.

In 1898 Beelitz Heilstätten opened with 600 beds to treat the ill. The sanatorium was strictly divided along gender lines: women were accommodated to the west of the main road, men to the east. As it grew over the next few years more buildings were added and it turned into a ‘city for the ill’ with a post office, restaurant, stables, water tower, power plant, butcher shop, and even a beer garden. As time and history marched on around Berlin the sanatorium also served at a wartime hospital, and a GDR hospital, in addition to continuing to serve TB patients with ‘advanced technology’.

The extensive sanatorium ‘campus’ has been abandoned since 1994 and now is in the familiar limbo of many historic, unused buildings in/around the Berlin area. While the government and owners decide what the fate of the Beelitz campus is, companies like Go2know have been granted special permission to run photography tours through the crumbling buildings. The site is so extensive that they have separate photo tours for the men’s and women’s section.

I took the photo tour to the women’s section of the sanatorium and we were able to walk around the snowy grounds and inside 3 main buildings and photograph to our heart’s content. I love these tours since they are a great setting to practice with lighting and composition.  I didn’t take a tripod with me – so that makes it even more challenging in these low light situations.  The tour information was only provided in German – but there were enough people there to translate for me and honestly I was there to do photography – so I didn’t need much guidance.  And quite frankly – the ‘leader’ simply gives an overview of the history, buildings, and things to be careful of or special things to see, he hands you a blueprint layout of the buildings, and then you are own your own for 4 to 5 hours to explore!  The ultimate photography tour if you ask me!

Abandoned Berlin photography

Dental work anyone?

berlin graffiti

Most of the site had very little graffiti – it must be protected quite well.

Beelitz photos

Hallway in the medical building

Beelitz Photography

Iron work railing of the dilapidated stairway

Beelitz pictures

Room in the hospital ward

beelitz buildings

One of the Women’s medical buildings on a snowy day

Abandoned buildings berlin

A back stairway

Abandoned building photography

Room in the women’s clinic


broken window

Broken windows were common among the abandoned facilities

Abandoned building photography

Room 11


Abandoned building photos

A crumbling wall

photo tour berlin

An old cafeteria

abandoned building photos

Remnants of a once beautiful building

berlin photo tours

A perfect photo tour to really practice with lighting situations.

abandoned building photography

Looking through a wall in the clinic

window pictures

A beautiful old circular window

View all of the Beelitz photography from my tour here

See other Berlin photo tours I’ve taken with Go2know.com
Paper Mill
Meat Factory

Other Berlin Photo tours:
Spreepark – Graveyard of Fun

More Info:
Beelitz History
Photo Tour Information specializing in Abandoned Berlin


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