Haunting Photos of the ‘Forbidden City,’ an Abandoned Military Base That Hasn’t Been Used in 25 Years
- The “Forbidden City” is a military base in eastern Germany that has barely been touched in 25 years.
- The complex was used as the Nazi command center during World War II and occupied 40,000 Soviet soldiers during the Cold War.
- Haunting photos of the abandoned military base show what the Forbidden City looks like today.
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There’s a military base in eastern Germany that’s been abandoned for 25 years.
Known as the ‘Forbidden City,” the Wünsdorf complex in Zossen — about 20 miles outside Berlin — dates back to the early 20th century. It was used to house prisoners of war during World War I, and in 1935, it became the headquarters of Germany’s armed forces, serving as the Nazis’ military command center during World War II.
Soviet forces took over the base during the Cold War. It was home to 40,000 Soviet soldiers, according to one estimate, and it was the largest Soviet military camp outside the USSR. East Germans who lived outside the complex couldn’t get in without special permission, giving way to its nickname, the “Forbidden City.”
But Soviet occupation of the base would end following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union. By 1994, the last troops had left the Forbidden City.
Now, 25 years later, the base has hardly been touched, save for occasional tours of the decaying landmark.
As a photographer with a focus on abandoned buildings and a passion for history, I traveled to Wünsdorf to see the Forbidden City for myself.
Here’s what the military base looks like today.