Beelitz, May 2014, Surgery and central baths

Surgery and the central baths of the Beelitz Heilstätten during May 2014

Many visitors came only because of the famous surgery. Personally, I found the central baths much more interesting. But I made numerous photos of both buildings.


There were some interesting rooms and corridors in the basement. There were even to oil tanks that could be lit in an engaging way. But it was necessary to use artificial light in most areas of the basement. These were my first experiments with directed light. So much more would be possible. With the knowledge I have now, I could probably spend a whole day in this corridor alone.

Large areas of the basement were lit by an internal courtyard in the past. When we visited, this courtyard was almost completely grown over by different plant. Looking at the images now, it would have been nice to capture a spherical panorama from the center of that courtyard. But back then, I didn’t have the experience or the gear. Therefore, I only shot the corridor that lead from the oil tanks towards the courtyard.

Only well-informed circles might know the former function of the different rooms in these days. Unfortunately, I couldn’t shoot the famous round surgery rooms because they were overrun by photographers when I was close by. Anyway, most walls were blemished with profane graffiti that had nothing to do with art.

The roof started collapsing at many locations. You can see that in this image of one of the side buildings and in the previous shots of the surgery ward. Of course, this speeds up the process of the collapse of the whole building. But I’m still fascinated by all the trees that grow directly on the brickwork.

View onto the partially collapsed roof of the Beelitz surgery building
Partially collapsed roof with lots of trees growing out of the brickwork.

Central bath

The central bath was an interesting building. Now, it should be rebuild and the large bathing room should be in its original state again.

The entry area is a generous room that gets flooded by light through the large windows towards the inner courtyard.

Light-flooded entry hall of Beelitz central baths
The light-flooded entry hall of the central baths. The entry is to the left, the central bathing room to the right.

Going forward from the point of view of that image is a bathroom. A filming crew put red foil in front of the window which provided a very unusual light.

The central bathing room was in the rear part of the building. It’s a large octagonal room with a huge dome and a tiny bath in the middle. Again, a panorama head would have been great in that room to take a spherical panorama. At that time, I had to be satisfied with a cylindrical panorama that stretches almost 360 degrees. You could describe the first image below as interpretation. The second image has more natural colors.

There were two large event rooms in the first floor. They both have names and a history but I don’t know them. We didn’t even notice the dragon heads during our first visit. We noticed them only on the photos afterwards. But they are a central style element visible in all large rooms of the different buildings.

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