It was taken over by the Soviet and then East German military and was out of bounds to the public until 1990. Today, it houses a museum about the site's history, a ramshackle restaurant and a disco. Most of its 6,500 rooms stand empty. The sea wind whistles through its broken windows.
The place testifies to Hitler's megalomania. A festival hall for 20,000 people was planned but never built. It was to have two piers big enough for ocean liners, swimming pools with wave generators, shops, a school, a power station, hospital and even ultra-modern solarium halls with infrared lamps.
It looks like an endless phalanx of forbidding government ministries rather than a holiday resort. But the design won an award at the 1937 Paris World Exhibition for the idea of a mass tourism and its modern architecture of steel-reinforced concrete, which has withstood the rough sea climate.
Four of the 500-meter blocks were sold to private investors between 2004 and 2006. The portion housing the youth hostel was bought by the local authority and refurbished for €15.1 million.
Investors plan to convert parts of the building into a hotel and apartments. A further block has been put up for sale. The minimum asking price is €500,000.
cro -- with wire reports