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.

Hitler never finished the construction of Prora, which is 4.5km long and located about 150 metres from the beach, due to the onset of the second world war.

As German soldiers marched through Europe, Prora was left to rot – until 2013.

The photos cannot physically do it justice. It’s too big
Roger Moorhouse, historian

Prora is now the property of German real-estate company Metropole Marketing, which rents out rooms to international travellers and Germans alike.

Here are 6 facts about the mega-structure

1. More than 9,000 workers helped to construct Prora

Roger Moorhouse, a historian and tour guide, told Business Insider that Prora was intended as the carrot to the stick of the Gestapo – a pacifying gesture to get the German people on Hitler’s side.

At the time, Germany was still enmeshed in the concept of “people’s community”, or volksgemeinschaft, from the first world war. It was a sense that Germans stood united, no matter what.

2. The structure was built to hold 20,000 people

While the Nazi police state was in development, the overarching German vision was a hopeful one, Moorhouse told Business Insider. “And this is where something like Prora comes in,” he says.

Each room would measure five metres by 2.5 metres and include two beds, a sink, and a chest of drawers.

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3. Hitler commissioned festival hall big enough to hold all the residents at once

Hitler’s megalomania – a trait shared by many dictators – was also manifested in his plan for the site’s grand Festival Hall. The Nazi leader commissioned architect Erich Putlitz to design it.

The hall was to have contained two wave pools and theatres for films and live performances.

4. The building is 4.5km long and about 150 metres from beach

“The photos cannot physically do it justice,” Moorhouse said. “It’s too big.”

By all accounts, it would have been one of the most impressive structures in the world.

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5. It also features world’s longest youth hostel, which contains 402 beds and 96 rooms

In the early 2000s, several German developers fought for the initial rights to revive Prora.

In 2006, Germany’s federal agency for real estate bought Block 5, which contained the hostel. It opened in 2011.

6. The largest units cost nearly US$1 million to buy

People who want to stay at Prora can choose between hotel rooms for temporary visits or luxury apartments as long-term investments.

The apartments run from US$400,000 to US$900,000 depending on the block they are in and their size.

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