Living in Berlin means having a possibility to enjoy a lot of variety and diversity.
Bandwidth goes from hardcore-partying to adorable sights and landmarks, from culture, art, amazing unique history and politics. What also works pretty well here: Visiting old, abandoned places Berlin.
Latest, since the fall of the wall you find especially in East-Berlin countless numbers of those buildings. Such places – everyone who visited them might agree to this – have a charm and spirit of its very own kind.
Depending on their formerly purpose, size or grade of conservation can a trip to these places be a very special experience!
Well, in our case it definitely was – we were visiting in the mid of April the once quite famous and often visited “Ballhaus Riviera” in Berlin Grünau.
But let us slide directly to the scene.
Abandoned Places Berlin
Together with my sister and her boyfriend Robert we wanted to see on Saturday, the 18th of April 2015 some kind of other side of Berlin.
Quite far in the South East area of Berlin is located the district Treptow-Köpenick with its part Grünau, pretty well known for its Regatta track, a lido as well as a retreat for Berlin City people.
The contrast to the colorful fast Big City life in Berlin Mitte is pretty obvious.
In this respect it was also for us some kind of mini-holiday from everyday urban life, but it was more than this. Main target of our day trip was as mentioned the abandoned Ballhaus Riviera.
You reach that place quite easy by taking the train, S Bahn line S8 and S85, as well as the tram 68. It’s located in Regattastraße 167 and was inaugurated in the year 1898 and it is a very special attraction for adventurers and photographers.
Since 1991 this building with its own history is abandoned und since 2006 its in the possession of a Turkish business woman from Ankara.
Unfortunately since that time the Ballhaus Riviera is going to rot more and more.
All attempts from the city council to motivate the new owner for modernization measures are unsuccessful so far.
So some people even say, that this is some kind of tactics, because without any change the building will decay completely soon. So far the news to the Status Quo.
A bit different it is going with the interesting history of this building, on which I want to elaborate now a bit closer.
Built in 1897 and inaugurated one year later the ensemble consists of actually two buildings, both rectangular in the footprint and because of the year it is equipped with elements from Art Nouveau.
One of the buildings was meant to be a restaurant and living area, the other one includes the huge, 9 metres high Ballroom:
The Riviera was meant to be a recreation especially for water enthusiasts, concrete for Regatta-fans, as well as for the Big city people in general, who saw their city Berlin rapidly growing around the last turn of the century.
From the jetty you entered directly the generously garden area and the outside local, which was an attraction for many Berliners and those living around Berlin.
Once you have been there you get quite a concrete impression about “the good old times”.
Especially during the NS era, when the Olympic Summer Games took place in Berlin and the water sports played an important role, the Ballhaus Riviera was very well visited, also from famous international guests.
The buildings, which you can see with the naked eye came through the World Wars without any damages.
There are pictures from the Ballhaus Riviera and the whole building complex from that once better time for the Riviera.
But also during the following GDR era the Ballhaus Riviera was used intensively for festivals and celebrations.
Ran by the so called HO (Handelsorganisation) there were many events, especially sport related.
Not really comparable to the festivals and events in the US-influenced West-Berlin part, but not less entertaining.
But there was not truly a significant meaning importance than Grünau.
Beginning with the fall of the wall the younger history was ringing in the slow decay of the “Riviera”.
The so called Treuhand (Trust Company) was closing the building same as they did with all other properties, where an ownership of formerly GDR buildings was unclear.
A quite complicated situation in which part of the building got provided conservation, which was of course another hurdle to find possible investors additionally to the high price itself led to no change at all. Such state is of course pity and even now, 25 years after the fall of the wall still this affects to many once so great and beautiful buildings East-German wide.
So the new ownership didn’t change anything at all – it’s just another “brick in the wall” without happy end. And the building became in the beginning a secret tip for adventurers but while becoming more and more famous during the years it also attracted obviously many vandals and petty criminals.
Nowadays the condition of the Ballhaus Riviera is nothing more than a shell and not even mainly due to natural decay like typical abandoned places Berlin. Not only, that obviously all things of worth were misappropriated, no more than this it’s the wantonly destruction of the still existing which leads to a fastened process.
Eventual interested visitors might keep in mind, that a visit during the day maybe is not that dangerous, apart the fact that it might be illegal and also other visitors have the same idea as you.
It’s pretty easy to imagine that here it’s going on there quite busy, especially during the weekend.
And imagine walking there in this dark rotten building and suddenly you hear some kind of creepy sound from somewhere there in the dark – goose-bumps guaranteed, probably like in every other Abandoned Places Berlin!
But anyway, the whole structure is in such a bad condition, that a visit is anyway too risky and definitely not to recommend!
As some present visitors there mentioned, there should be an access to the area left hand, where the fence is opened und the building can be entered via the basement from behind.
Well, that’s it for now with our impressions of Ballhaus Riviera as part of Abandoned Places Berlin. Berlin itself is of course also a very attractive thing during the April month, especially the green outskirts.
So that’s why we spent the rest of the day with light strolling through the beautiful Grünau and we enjoyed a lot the regenerating sun and giving back of vitality and energy.
Have a great time!
Greetings – from hotspot to hotspot hurrying Hendrik
Dear reader, if you enjoyed reading our article we would be very happy about a small donation.
Thank you sincerely, Birdie & Hendrik.