It is hard to believe that such a central and important building as the Leipzig central post office headquarters can be now abandoned and decaying, but it is.
This was one of the things I learned during my visit to Leipzig, a city located just an hour by train from Berlin.
It is a huge building, with a strong communist look located in the central Augustplatz, the city’s transport hub, which also houses important buildings such as the University of Leipzig or the Panorama tower.
While its front is boarded up and the access banned to the public, it was not difficult to enter the building through an unlocked gate located in a courtyard / parking on its rear facade.
The complex of buildings surrounding the courtyard, several of which display the typical communist friezes of the 50s, seem to have been abandoned too.
The courtyard itself, which judging by its size and features I guessed was the place where the old post trucks used to park, had abandoned furniture scattered everywhere.
The rear facade of the main post reveals a typical architectural style of the 60s, when Bauhaus and brutalism were the norm and any kind of classical ornamentation was sacrificed only to be replaced with pure functionality. Only a few white ceramic tiles in blue decorate the walls.
Accessing the building’s interior was not complicated, especially considering that the switches that were supposed opened the gate, have probably not worked in years.
Once inside, the post office building becomes a somehow macabre scenario, a place reminiscent of some cheap B-movie American horror film.
On the interior walls, the old intercoms and several devices to allow communication and workplace safety are still almost intact. This place hasn’t been abandoned for that long.
Not unlike an old skeleton, the machines used to process letters are still (partly) there, as shadows that remind you of what this place used to be.
Scattered on the ground are the keys to mailboxes that no longer exist, rusting into oblivion. Their labels with annotations such as “mechanical” or “room 2.7” can still be clearly read.
Painting on the ceilings and walls slowly broke off with each passing year, like tears falling from inside the building in slow motion.
And finally I see it, large and splendid. The jewel in the crown of this unorthodox visit, the huge central atrium of the complex. The icing on this Bauhaus cake meets all the requirements of the architectural movement that changed the world in the mid-twentieth century.
I pause to marvel at the space, the shapes, the light distribution in an atrium that does not seem to be inside an abandoned building, except maybe for the empty shelves in the background. If it weren’t for this, I could have sworn I was in an place that’s still open to the public, or the Mad Men set.
I couldn’t wait to explore the other five floors of the building.
But I heard footsteps on the unstable wooden floor outside and decided to stop my exploration.