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Hanna's Spree Park and Other Haunted Amusement Parks
Posted March 24, 2011 to photo album "Hanna's Spree Park and Other Haunted Amusement Parks"
Germany’s surreal Spree Park gets a cameo in Hanna. But it’s just one of dozens abandoned amusement parks that people still visit.
Spree Park (Berlin, Germany)
In Hanna, the final showdown between the title’s hero (played by Saoirse Ronan) and the evil CIA operative Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett) occurs in abandoned amusement park filled with dilapidated dinosaurs and fairy tale creatures. Stranger still, the park is a real place with its own creepy history. Opened in 1969 next to the river Spree, Kulturpark Plänterwald (or as it was later called, Spree Park) was East Berlin’s premiere amusement park. At its height, it attracted to up to a million and half visitors per year. After the Berlin Wall came down, the park was sold off to Austrian financier Norbert Witte. Unfortunately, the park started to lose money, partially because the protected woods around it forbade much parking. In 1999, Witte closed the park, and thinking that he’d have better luck in Peru, transported all the rides to Lima, Peru to create a new amusement site. But when that also failed, Witte turned to smuggling cocaine from Peru to Europe inside the machinery of amusement park rides. In 2004, Witte was arrested. But the real tragedy befell his 21-year-old son, who with no knowledge of his father’s smuggling, was also arrested and sentenced to 20 years at one of Peru’s worst prisons. When looking at locations for Hanna, production designer Sarah Greenwood and director Joe Wright were delighted to find Spree Park’s surreal world of broken down dinosaurs. As it turns out they are not alone. Hundreds of fans of abandoned amusement parks visit these dreamlike haunts every year, photographing the remains, and posting their findings on the web.