Three years before Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Adolf Hitler ordered the construction of the world’s largest tourist resort, located on a beachfront property on the island of Rügen.
The Nazis called it Prora.
Capable of holding more than 20,000 residents at a single time, Prora was meant to comfort the weary German worker who toiled away in a factory without respite.
According to historian and tour guide Roger Moorhouse, it was also meant to serve as the carrot to the stick of the Gestapo — a pacifying gesture to get the German people on Hitler’s side.
But then World War II began, and Prora’s construction stalled — until now.
In 1936, Germany was still enmeshed in the concept of 'people's community,' or volksgemeinschaft, from World War I. It was a sense that Germans stood united, no matter what.
While the Nazi police state was in development, the overarching German vision was a hopeful one, Moorhouse tells Business Insider. 'And this is where something like Prora comes in.'
Over the next three years, more than 9,000 workers erected a 4.34km-long building out of brick and concrete. Its practicality was dwarfed by its grandness. Moorhouse calls it 'megalomania in stone. The photos cannot physically do it justice. It's too big. By all accounts, it would have been one of the most impressive structures in the world.'
But as the Third Reich began its devastating march through Europe, workers returned to their factories and Prora fell by the wayside.
... until 2013, when German real-estate company Metropole Marketing bought the rights to refurbish Prora and build it up as luxury summer homes and a full-time apartment complex.
The new homes will take up several of the structure's eight blocks, split between the Prora Solitaire Home and Prora Solitaire Hotel Apartments and Spa.
Metropole expects to finish the entire restoration by 2022, though both the apartment units and summer homes are already for sale.
Prora's block of apartments opened in the summer of 2016. To buy one of the units, you'll need to shell out between $400,000 and $725,000.
Regardless of size or cost, buildings will all feature glass elevators, heated floors, and laundry facilities.
They can also take advantage of the complex's spa and swimming pools, not to mention the extensive outdoor garden.
While these amenities are certainly appealing, given the location's history and its distance from Berlin -- about three hours by car -- Moorhouse has his doubts that people will want to spend time there.
The structure, conceived right on the brink of global chaos, could end up flopping a second time, tainted by its first failed vision.
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