Bowlingtreff - Abandoned Bowling Club Hidden Underground, Germany

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Jul 25, 2017
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Surrounded by many people this former magnificent building is growing lonely downtown. This place is an unusual example for postmodern architecture and unique in whole Eastern Germany. A community center of superlatives has been developed under the ground many years ago. Citizens met here for bowling and other leisure activities and they finally had a shining counterpoint against dreariness and decay. Built during the time of the former German Democratic Republic this house was considered to be a sudden desire for change but over the last few years it slid into obscurity. Today the area is rotting away. So it’s up to urban explorers like us to bear this symbol for secret resistance in remembrance.

39910347134_7400844b67_b.jpgBowlingtreff #01 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

Only in exceptional cases you can find a loophole that serves as a gateway to this special place. This time we needed the help of a local urban explorer to find our way in. He brought a rope along. Due to the fact that most parts of this facility are running underground we had to climb down five meters first.

Watch our video on YouTube:

And there we were: In the middle of a subterranean bowling alley. Shielded from the outside world we no longer heard any sounds coming from the surface although we were only a couple feet under a major street.

There were 14 bowling alleys in total distributed over multiple levels. Around 80 people could play here at once.

40578859832_392716abf6_b.jpgHidden Underground by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

Shortly before the downfall of the German Democratic Republic, this bowling center was built. It’s said that it even was an illegal construction. An old electrical substation from the 1920s was converted into a modern place of enjoyment.

But back then there basically wasn’t any money or material left for public structures. And yet, an exceptional building was constructed that was lavishly furnished in addition.

25750347147_7f581203d6_b.jpgMeet the Crew by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

A roof made of glass, oak parquet and marble testified an unusual high standard. The interior was a reminiscent of Western casinos like the ones in Las Vegas. The government in Berlin probably would have never allowed something like that in the first place. But they didn’t hear about the bowling center until the opening.

26749368768_4440d83e9e_b.jpgBowlingtreff #05 by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

The townspeople were excited and loved to come here and play some rounds of bowling in the subterranean halls. It was a welcome change from everyday life in the GDR. During a 15-hour opening time over 2.000 visitors were playing here per day. But only for ten years. In 1987, the bowling center was opened and in 1997 it was already closed down.

40578864832_2529d49a3f_b.jpgCasino by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

The clever architects made sure that this place remained a community center for regular people and didn’t become one for the high-ranking party members. All the bowling alleys here didn’t conform to the norm because they were simply too short. That’s the reason why party leaders didn’t claim the site for themselves and left it to the citizens.

38811130730_dc96bbaf74_b.jpgNeon by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

It’s amazing to see how deep the structure is extending into the underground. Meanwhile, we reached the forth basement level. Down here we discovered some odd machines the use of which wasn’t revealed to us. And there is even power! A pump prevents the basement from flooding.

26749362158_4ef8c7d68d_b.jpgMad Science by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

The future of this history-charged building is unknown. On the one hand the bowling center is located in a prominent location but on the other hand the costs for potential investors are extraordinarily high. It’s highly unlikely that this magnificent building will awake from its slumber anytime soon. But to those who know the history of this place it’s a memorial. A memorial for protest and for hope. And it’s that what should be remembered.

38811122780_14fe5e966b_b.jpgOctagon by Broken Window Theory, on Flickr

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