On the picturesque beaches of the northern German island of Rügen, along the Baltic Sea, sits an empty 20,000-person resort. The buildings stretch nearly three miles down the coast, with all 10,000 rooms facing the beautiful bay just 500 feet from the water’s edge. Yet, no one ever used the rooms, movie theater or planned swimming pools.
Prora, known by locals as The Colossus, was built from 1936-1939 as part of the Nazi program of “Strength Through Joy.” The plan was to house workers in eight identical six-story buildings, feed them catered meals in scheduled seatings, and prepare them through propaganda and social activities to do their part in Hitler’s plan for Germany. It was also one of the largest architectural projects of the time, with 9,000 workers. The design, done in a Bauhaus style, won a Grand Prix award at the 1937 Paris World Exposition.
But the Nazi resort plans never came to fruition. The outbreak of World War II meant the project was never finished as construction workers headed to the weapons factories instead.
But finally, some plans are moving forward to turn some of the buildings into luxury apartments and vacation rentals.