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Now entering Spreepark

Spreepark first opened in 1969 as the only amusement park in Soviet-controlled East Germany. It shut down in 2001 amid falling attendance.

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In the decade that followed, the park fell into severe disrepair.

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Near its entrance is a sun-bleached Ferris wheel, which is 130 feet tall and can be seen over the trees as you walk toward the park. 

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A closer look at the Ferris wheel, which is now blocked off by a metal fence and white-and-red barriers.

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While there's tighter security at the park now, much of the 60-acre site is filled with graffiti after years of neglect.

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Here's our tour group, which included some Germans who live nearby and some tourists. Our guide walks us through the sprawling park and tells us about its history and some of the movies and TV shows that have been shot there.

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The tour was billed as a Performative Kunstführung, an art tour that included musical interludes. Here are the trumpeter and percussionist who came along with us.

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The lone trumpeter.

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Our first stop was an English village, which had broken windows, faded paint and graffiti.

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The rusted roller coaster, with its imposing, giant blue cat.

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The roller coaster cars are tagged with graffiti. 

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Nature has reclaimed many parts of the roller coaster ride.

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Looking at the Ferris wheel from afar.

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Spreepark has survived bankruptcy, decay and a former park operator who tried smuggling 76 pounds of pure cocaine into Germany from Peru in the steel mast of a carousel ride.

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Much of the park is now in decay and filled with overgrown weeds and plants, giving it the feel of an open-air Halloween haunted house.

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And here's a spooky pavilion.

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The musicians on our tour liked to get creative, playing with parts of the park or pieces of trash.

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A local public-private partnership is now working to preserve Spreepark and turn it into an art and cultural center.

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It's hard to say, though, how Spreepark will be preserved, since it's so big and part of its story now includes decaying rides and overgrown weeds.

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One of the many rundown buildings in the park.

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There's rust and decay everywhere.

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The tour group happens upon the creepy circus tent.

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A closer look at the rounded-dome tent.

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And now a musical interlude.

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Toward the end of our tour, the musicians lead us in an impromptu band performance, with many in the group playing  blocks of wood and rocks.

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We even play using a big blue metal box shaped like a TV.

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Hoedown under the circus tent.

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In the quiet of the abandoned amusement park, we can make as much noise as we want.

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Another look at the tent.

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As we head out of the park, we pass by a teacup ride.

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The ride's tent is filled with weeds, but the cups' paint is still bright yellow and orange.

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A forlorn-looking spaceship.

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More weeds and graffiti.

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We walk out past the Ferris wheel.

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And by a blue building that's graffitied with the words "in love" on the side.

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Thanks for visiting. Come back soon!

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