I’m pretty sure the GDR Iraqi embassy has seen better days. The time when Saddam Hussein in his “glory” times supporting the GDR and being a great ally to East Germany. The times when his posters were flourishing the walls of every Iraqi owned building and his control over the people. Eventually that all came to an end after the collapse of the wall and the Gulf War in 1991.
The GDR Iraqi embassy was built in 1974 based on the fact that Iraq was the first non-socialist country to recognize East Germany back in 1969. Of course this meant a lot for the East Germans considering that they chose and preferred the east over the west. Although things didn’t look good after the collapse of the wall in 1990. At that time there were rumours that weapons and explosives were being smuggled into Berlin and stored in the embassy. This was the during the Gulf War. There were also reports confirming the weapons and explosives being hidden in the embassy. After the reunification of Germany and new established government, the GDR Iraqi embassy staff were “kindly” asked to leave in January 1991.
Currently Iraq still has the rights of the embassy but the property is owned by Germany (just like any other embassy around the world which is owned by the country it resides in but the rights belong to the country given to). Although neither the current Iraqi government nor the City of Berlin don’t know what to do with the site. The embassy has been left to its faith but in the meantime is waiting to be explored by like minded people.
How to get there
Getting to the embassy is very easy. Its residing within the suburb of Pankow and you can take the S1 or S25 to Berlin – Schönholz Station. From there its a 15 minute walk to Tschaikowskistraße 51. Here is a map.
How to get in
I don’t know if its my luck but I seem to never have trouble getting into abandoned places. The main gate that is covered in barb-wires was wide open as if it was calling my name to come in :). Also within the building every other door was open, so you wont have any problems exploring.
What you’ll see
When you step foot in the embassy you’ll get the feeling that the staff had to leave due to a fire or bomb attack. Everything was left behind; typewriters, copiers, tv’s, booklets, documents etc. There are plenty of Arabic documents lying on the ground and you can even see receipts from the 80’s paid out with Deutsche Marks. Consider yourself lucky if you can find a picture of Saddam anywhere. Also while your walking in the embassy you’ll feel like your in a time capsule that took you back into the 1970’s because of the furniture and wallpaper. Plus the gas room and garage in the basement is worthwhile checking out if you have a flashlight.
There are no major dangers that you should be expecting other than being careful from nosey neighbours not minding their own business and calling the Polizei on you. Don’t forget the embassy is in a quiet and residential area. Plus just across the embassy there is an office building that might be one of those people to rat you out.