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Sperenberg Airfield: One of the Largest Completely Abandoned locations in Germany

Jack Beckett

Sperenberg is one of the largest completely abandoned locations in Germany. Its total area is a whopping 2,400 hectares. There is a military town, 2800 meters long runways with control towers and a huge hangar, fuel depot with underground access roads and much more.

The airfield was built south of Berlin in Brandenburg, Germany. This part of Germany fell under Soviet control after the end of WWII. Until then, military cargo for Soviet troops was delivered to Berlin’s Schnefeld Airport, which was also the main passanger airport of the GDR so it had limited capacity.

Before that, this area was used to conduct research on usability of military hardware since 1870. Prior to WWII it was also a training center for railway pioneers, which is why there are remnants of railway tracks around the territory. During the Dr. Werner von Braun worked here in a missile research facility.

The airfield was finished in its entirety by May 1, 1974, and until 1994 it was the main military airfield used by the Soviets in Germany. Here all military cargoes were delivered, since the airfield was designed to be able to receive large transport aircraft, even the huge AN-124.

The main user of the airfield was the 16th Air Army. Such aircraft as An-12, An-24, An-26, Tu-134A, Mi-6, Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters and Il-20 and Il-22 air-to-air combat aircraft were based there. Also on the territory of the airfield was the training center “Electron”, in which officers were trained for the People’s Army of the GDR.

While Sperenberg was in operation, a whole town emerged around it with a total population of 5,000 people. The town had many amenities: a kindergarten, a school, a hospital, shops and bakeries and the like. There were regular trains to Potsdam and even a direct train link to Moscow.

In the 1990s the airfield was occasionally used for passenger planes Il-76, An-22 and An-24. After that the aerodrome was used by smugglers working for the Russian mafia, who allegedly collaborated with Russian military to make their operations possible. Hijacked expensive cars were apparently driven here to be delivered to Russia, cheap alcohol and cigarettes arrived from Russia.

In September 1994, the last Russian plane took off from here and the airfield was transferred to the Germans. Ever since then the huge territory with all the infrastructure has been abandoned. In Berlin’s main airport here but because the estimated cost of the project was too high the authorities of Berlin and Brandenburg decided against implementing it.

The territory of the airfield is closed off and patrolled (by equestrian patrols). However, visits are possible and you can sign up for an excursion around to the premises.

A big thank you to  technolirik for information and photos and you can see more of his work here 

01. The access road leads to the territory of the airfield


02. The first hundred meters of the way look quite cheerful


03. However, the road is blocked off by bushes so an alterative way must be found


04. The main checkpoint


05. There are no gates, instead the entrance is blocked by  a metal fence with a sign that prohibits penetration of the object


06. The checkpoit is completely abandoned


07. Abandoned houses inside the protected territory




09. Inside the houses are in remarkably good condition




11. A bathroom in one of the flats







15. This building is pre-war construction. Perhaps it belonged to the training center of railway troops


16. An example of typical Soviet architecture in the town


17. In the past, there were many open spaces, but over the years of abandonment everything was covered with young forest, although somewhere asphalt and concrete still successfully resist nature


18. Hangar for equipment with inspection pit and sliding door


19. In some places, original inscriptions have been preserved


20. In this place there are numerous graffiti








24. There are a lot of boxes for technology here. What kind of machinery was stored here – wheeled or caterpillar armored vehicles is unknown


25. Boxes here are of several types. These for example are of later years of construction


26. There are also older ones


27. A roe deer running towards the forest




29. Here used to be a gate through which equipment left the territory of the technical sector of the airfield, but now there is no trace left of it, only a gap in the fence



30. This construction was built in 1987, according to the date marked on it




32. The airfield is surrounded by a forest




34. Airfield runway, connected to two parallel taxiways, to the sides of which were concrete platforms built for parking of aircraft




36. On the concrete there are traces of either a truck or a bus. Apparently, this is the transport on which excursions are brought here










41. After walking up the runway, there are buildings of unknown purpose




43. All the valuable equipment was taken by the Russians when leaving, and small artifacts and posters were taken away by museums, so these buildings are compltely empty


44. Some structures are gradually falling apart


45. There are quite a few such houses along the way




47. In some places there are buried storage rooms, which at first seem to be bunkers


48. The main road connecting the airfield and the military town




50. The control tower


51. The tower is not devoid of a certain grace and a peculiar aesthetics





53. The balcony that surrounds the second floor along the perimeter




55. All the premises of the tower are absolutely empty, bare walls




57. This pile of stones is actually the remains of part of the Kummersdorf test site




59. Near the stones there is an underground structure, which looks like a bunker




61. The bunker is an undergound storage built out of concrete




63. A bunker like this is a typical Soviet shelter. Thestypes of bunkers were typically built at Soviet military facilities








67. The structure that can be seen from the tower was a huge aircraft hangar with the inscription “Glory to the CPSU” on the facade