This massive abandoned building complex had been on our urbex bucket list for years. Once, this first class hotel was an important figurehead for the city. But these glamorous times have passed. This summer the former hotel received their last guests after 20 years of vacancy. Join us on one of our most favorite urbex adventures so far.
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It was half past four in the early morning. Even though it was Sunday the city slowly came alive. We only slept for around three hours on the roof of the vacant Hotel Astoria. Earlier in the night we gained access to the building via an open window. But before we could reach the roof we had to struggle through the flooded basement.
This morning we had only around two hours to explore the colossus. We wanted to leave the hotel on time before it would be impossible to get out unseen because of the busy roads. After all we were in the middle of a major city right next to the central terminal. We knew that the area would be overrun with people in no time.
After a construction time of two years the hotel was opened in 1915. Even then the place should attract a premium clientele. There were several restaurants and bars, as well as multiple saloons and a dance café. During the National Socialist era this hotel was owned by a Jewish building contractor. In order to save his life he was forced to sell the establishment to the Nazis far below value.
In World War II the building was gravely damaged by bombing attacks. Huge parts of the hotel had to be rebuilt from the ground up. In the course of this the bed capacity was increased significantly. After a renovation some years later the grand hotel could provide accommodations for around 470 guests. Most of these visitors were high-ranking individuals from national and international institutions.
Back then this site was known as one of the most beautiful hotels of the German Democratic Republic. The rooms were modern as well as individually and tastefully furnished. It is said that none looked like the other.
Today this can only be guessed. After several years of vacancy nearly every part of the building has been destroyed by thieves and vandals. Even a number of construction measures took place here some time ago.
The facility operated until 1996. Due to diverse flaws the hotel had to shut down in the end. By this time the visitors demanded high standards but the place couldn’t meet the requirements any more. So the heritage-protected building was abandoned and left to decay.
Among the local citizens there is incomprehension as well as legitimate anger. Most of them would love to see a revival of the well-established address. And as a matter of fact: There’s hope now. The gigantic building was sold to foreign companies multiple times. But the current owner is planning a short dated and costly redevelopment measure. Hotel Astoria will even get its former name back. Upper segment accommodations will be located here, as well as housings, offices and rooms for service providers. The construction works are supposed to start already next year. If all goes well, the new Hotel Astoria will open in the summer of 2020. Three years after we, the last guests, spend a night of the roof of the history-charged building.