The Central Bathhouse, part of the Men's Sanatorium at the Beelitz Military Hospital Complex is an amazing ornate building with many stunning features.
The interesting history of Beelitz hospital has already been covered in previous reports, but if you haven’t read it it’s worth a look. Click below to expand….
The history of Beelitz-Heilstätten Military Hospital
Beelitz Heilstätten is a large abandoned hospital in Germany. The complex comprises around 60 buildings built from 1898 to the plans of architect Heino Schmieden. The buildings were built in the German Country Style, with impressive brickwork.
From 1898 until 1930 the Beelitz Heilstätten complex served as sanatorium for lung diseases. At the time lung diseases were commonplace and many such as tuberculosis were often fatal.
During the First World War the sanatorium was used as a field hospital to treat casualties of the newly developed weapons such as machine guns and mustard gas. A notable patient during this period was a young Adolf Hitler, at the time a soldier who had been shot in the leg and blinded by a British gas attack at the Battle of the Somme. This earned him the Iron Cross.
As irony would have it, his successful treatment at Beelitz and his experiences of war would set the stage for the hospital to once again be used as a field hospital, this time treating wounded Nazis during World War II.
In 1945 the hospital was occupied by the Red Army and it served as a Soviet military hospital for the next 50 years until its closure in 1995.
Today a handful of the buildings have been converted for modern use, including a neurological rehabilitation hospital and a Parkinson’s research centre. The majority of the complex, including the surgery ward, the psychiatric ward, and a rifle range, have all been abandoned and left to decay back into the surrounding forest.
The Bath House at Beelitz
Das Zentralbadehaus – The Central Bathhouse – is a prominent building that forms part of the Sanatorium für Männer (Men’s Sanatorium) – one quarter of the hospital complex.
The bath house is by far one of the more feature-some buildings at Beelitz. Built primarily with cream and fawn glazed clinker bricks, and decorated with glazed red engineering bricks creating a beautifully ornate exterior. Considering the original function of the buildings, it is surprising to find the ornate features are not limited to the exterior. Inside the building, where one would expect to find characterless and functional spaces, are also adorned with pleasing architectural aesthetics.
The ground floor of the bath house has several bathing areas, including an enormous cathedral-like domed extension strangely containing nothing but a tiny plunge pool in the centre! The first floor contains mainly treatment rooms, except for the a huge exercise hall. The high arched ceiling here is supported by huge timber beams, each decorated with carved Gothic dragons.
The bath house is probably the best preserved of all the buildings at Beelitz, despite extensive water damage due to neglect.
[jbox radius=”4″ title=”Our Visit”]Beelitz was the most anticipated location on our tour of Germany. Such huge sites are always fun to explore, especially when they are actively patrolled by security! And with such an interesting history and an amazingly ornate look, this was one not to be missed. We spent three mornings looking around the site, and it didn’t disappoint. After finding an entry into the bath house we discovered most of the features we were expecting to find across the extensive site right in that building. I’m sure this will always rank as one of my favourite buildings I have visited.[/jbox]