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Forgotten Skies: Abandoned Airports in Berlin’s Historic Landscape

You can dive into the remnants of Berlin’s aviation history with our guide to abandoned airports in Berlin. And uncover hidden stories, wartime echoes, and the secrets behind deserted runways.

You can embark on a journey through time, uncovering the hidden gems of Berlin’s lost places, and urban exploration is a refreshing experience. Our passion for discovering the stories behind forgotten sites led us to explore the remnants of the city’s aviation history.

Here, we present five abandoned airports in Berlin, each with unique tales of the past and a bonus exploration of the iconic Tempelhof.

Join us on this exciting adventure!

What remains of the Flugplatz Oranienburg can be seen not that far away from the Oranienburg Hauptbahnhof. Built before the Second World War, between 1936 and 1939, this abandoned airfield was used until 1945 by the Luftwaffe and the Heinkel-Werke Oranienburg.

Flugplatz Johannisthal Lost Place: From Birthplace of Flight to Desolate Wasteland

Opened in 1909, Flugplatz Johannisthal was Germany’s early commercial airfield and witnessed the birth of heavier-than-air flight. However, our visit in January 2021 revealed a desolate wasteland, perfect for an abandoned airport in Berlin, contrasting the rich aviation history.

We passed by bike a few times on our way to Adlershof, and we always wondered what it would look like from inside the fences. We knew about the abandoned Flugplatz Johannisthal for years, and we even tried to find our way a few years ago. Still, we only made it in early January 2021.

The abandoned airfield near Adlershof stood eerily quiet, with remnants of a bygone era. Despite a police station nearby, Flugplatz Johannisthal showcased the stark reality of time’s impact on once-thriving aviation hubs.

The Abandoned Flugplatz Brand: A Transformation from Warfare to Water Park

Flugplatz Brand, situated 60 kilometers south of Berlin, served as a Luftwaffe air base during World War II. Soviet forces took control post-war until 1990, when it was transferred to German authorities. Later, Cargolifter purchased the area, assembling the world’s largest hangar.

The company’s bankruptcy in 2002 led to the transformation of the hangar into Tropical Islands, a tropical-themed water park. The pictures here are from an exploration trip in January 2017, uncovering a military airfield’s remnants covered in snow, revealing a captivating history.

The Forgotten Flugplatz Rangsdorf: Where History Landed Quietly

Flugplatz Rangsdorf, a town south of Berlin, holds a historical secret. In 1944, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg landed here after attempting to assassinate Hitler. Our exploration in March 2018 unveiled a quiet, fenced-off area surrounded by decaying buildings. It was once a crucial airfield that echoes with the distant hum of passing cars.

The Flugplatz Rangsdorf is one of many abandoned airports in Berlin, which is no longer open to the public. It is a place that reminds us of its importance during the war. It is now left in ruins and silent but has a story to tell.

Flugplatz Oranienburg: Remnants Amidst Modern Development

Built before World War II, Flugplatz Oranienburg served the Luftwaffe until 1945. Our visit in March 2021 revealed remnants of the airfield near Oranienburg Hauptbahnhof. Most of the area led to a federal highway and a REWE distribution center.

When the Nazis came to power, the Treaty of Versailles forbid the country from having an air force. But, in early 1935, Hermann Göring presented the new Luftwaffe to the world, and a lot of the planes in that new Nazi airforce have been built by Ernst Heinkel in Rostock. One of its planes, the Heinkel He 111, would become the standard aeroplane for the air forces. The factory in Rostock wasn't able to manufacture more. A new factory was needed, and this is how the Heinkel-Werke Oranienburg came to be.

The long-awaited exploration, accompanied by drones capturing the site from above, provided a unique perspective on the connection between Heinkel-Werke Oranienburg and Flugplatz Oranienburg.

Flugzeughallen Karlshorst: Witness to History’s End

Situated in Karlshorst, Flugzeughallen Karlshorst holds historical significance as the site of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender in 1945. Despite the area’s association with the German-Russian Museum, our exploration focused on the abandoned airplane remnants.

Flugzeughallen Karlshorst

Karlshorst, not a typical tourist spot, reveals layers of history tied to the end of World War II and the subsequent Cold War era.

Bonus: The Mystery of Tempelhof’s Abandoned Airplane

While Tempelhof Airport itself transformed into a vibrant public park, a mystery remained: why is a lone plane fenced off on the vast field? This seemingly-forgotten aircraft holds a piece of Tempelhof’s past as part of a short-lived regional airline.

At Tempelhof, a peculiar sight greets visitors—an abandoned airplane known as N106TA. This mysterious aircraft, protected by a fence near one of the landing strips, intrigued us for years. Venturing beyond our initial curiosity, our drone flights revealed the story behind Tempelhof Airways, the regional airline connected to this abandoned aircraft.

The south part of Tempelhof, between the train tracks of the Ringbahn and one of the landing strips, is outside of the Enhanced Warning Zones that surrounds the Reichstag and most of Berlin. And, since there is a lot of space available, this area is one of the easiest ones to fly in town.

The abandoned Tempelhof Airplane is a silent testament to the enigmatic aviation history within Berlin’s iconic Tempelhof airport.

Forgotten Skies: Abandoned Airports in Berlin’s Historic Landscape

Berlin is packed with historical surprises, and its abandoned airfields are a testament to the city’s ever-changing story. From their roles in wars to pioneering flights, these sites paint a picture of what once were. It’s tempting to sneak inside, but we always stay cautious – safety first!

Join us on this journey of exploration, where every decaying structure tells a tale of the past.

Felipe Tofani

Felipe Tofani

Felipe Tofani is a passionate designer with a penchant for crafting unique experiences and a mixed taste in music. As the curator behind this blog's explorations, he takes pride in discovering fascinating destinations. Whether unearthing hidden gems or sharing captivating historical narratives, Felipe is the creative force driving the stories you find here. Join him on a journey of design, discovery, and the delightful rhythm of unconventional tunes.View Author posts