Prora, four km (2.4 miles) north of Binz, is one of the oddest places on Rügen. Here, a building that is 4½ kilometers (2.7 miles) long and six stories high runs parallel to the lovely white-sand beach. This monstrosity, known as the Koloss (colossus) of Prora, was erected between 1936 and 1939 by the Nazis as a vacation resort for up to 20,000 party members at a time. The outbreak of World War II meant that the Nazis never used it. After the war, the East German army used the grounds for training purposes.
Since the Wende, debate has been raging on what to do with this eyesore. It is now a protected building, so property developers cannot tear it down, but it is still searching for a purpose. At the moment it houses among other things a disco and several museums, best left for rainy days. The museum themes include railways, the East German Army, a touch-and-feel science exhibition, a documentation center, a water world, and a graphic art gallery.
The beach is popular with locals, as it is less crowded than the resort towns and more beautiful – provided eyes are directed toward the sea.
Prora can be reached by private car or by frequent shuttle services from Binz and other coastal resort towns.
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