Ahlbeck or as some used to call
it before WWII "Children's Bathtub of
Berlin" is a famous seaside resort on the
island of Usedom and a part of the Heringsdorf
municipality. It boarders with Poland and the
Polish city of Swinoujscie (Ger. Swinemunde). It
used to be a small fishing village which later
became popular with middle class Berlin and
Hamburg area residents and members of royalty.
The town's name is derived from the name of a
river that used to flow through the village.
Later, Ahlbeck became an administrative district
of neighboring Swinemunde where the Prussian and
German naval command was located since the
18th-century. Ahlbeck was also where German
naval intelligence command was until the end of
WWII. The town did not suffer any war damages and
preserved a lot of its original 19th-century old
Ahlbeck meets Swinoujscie on the Polish and German boarder line i.e. the gray line in the middle of the photo.
Monument on the German-Polish boarder. A boardwalk to the beach is in the background.
See it @ Google Street View
Ahlbeck viewed from a boardwalk on the Polish and German boarder
has many tourist attractions. The best know is
the 280 meters long Ahlbeck Pier. The pier's
construction began in 1882 and was completer in
1898. The pier is a famous landmarks on the
island of Usedom, and the oldest still standing
pier (Seebrucke) in the world with a restaurant.
It was designed after older piers that used to be
found on the south coast of England. An antique art
clock that stands on the square in front of the
pier is another famous landmark on the island. It
was donated to the town by one of its affluent
guests in 1911.
The construction of the Ahlbeck pier began in
1882 with the opening of a simple observation
deck. The pier was fully completed when a
restaurant opened on the pier in May 29, 1898.
The first pier built in Europe was the Brighton
Chain Pier (1823-1896) and later, Brighton's
(1866-1975). Both of those piers are long gone
making the Ahlbeck pier the oldest still
functioning pier with a restaurant. The pier was
partially destroyed by massive ice buildup during
the winter of 1940 to 1941, and it underwent full
renovation in 1997.
Ahlbeck pier (Seebrucke) is the oldest still functioning pier in the world.
The clock on the pier (on the right) is a Victorian era antique.
See it @ Google Maps.
On the pier in Ahlbeck
of Ahlbeck's less known historic landmarks is a
beautifully located in an old forest and near the
beach 100 years old Kaiser Wilhelm children's
home complex (Kaiser Wilhelm Kinderheim), which
was built between 1912-13. The complex is the
oldest of its kind in the world. Today it
functions as a camp for youth from Berlin (Jugendferienpark
Ahlbeck der Sportjugend Berlin).
town's promenade and side streets are lined with
many small shops, restaurants, cafes, hotels,
private homes, bungalows, fine bed and breakfast
inns and mansions in the German Grunderzeit
style resort architecture. Ahlbeck also has a
railroad museum that is located in the railway
station on the south side of town.
Ahlbeck's tallest structure is a neo Gothic
church from 1895, which stands on a hill.
Neo Gothic church from 1895
unique design Wicker beach chairs found almost
everywhere on the island and neighboring islands
are made in Ahlbeck. The beach chairs have been
made by hand in Ahlbeck for over a century by a
family owned manufacturer. The chairs have a long
and interesting history, which is told on a tour
of the shop.
Original design and style of Ahlbeck Wicker beach chairs. Designed and manufactured in Ahlbeck for over 100 years.
Ostseetherme is Ahlbeck's all year attraction.
It is an indoor bathing resort, spa and sauna
ideal for the winter. Next to the Ostseetherme is
an observation tower with an elevator to the top
deck, from which one can have a birds-eye view of
Observation tower next to the Ostseetherme
also has a landmark nudist beach that's over half
a century old (FKK Strande). The beach is 500
meter long and open to all. There are trilingual
signs informing visitors when they are entering a
nudist area before that part of the beach begins.
There are also other signs informing visitors
when they are leaving the nudist beach. That is
important because there are no borders between
Ahlbeck and Swinoujscie in Poland where nudism is
not welcome; though nudist beaches are
popular in other locations in Poland. Next to the
nudist beach is also a section reserved for
people with dogs. Dog owners are urged to pickup
the dog poop everywhere on the island. Thank you!
FKK nudist beach
town hosts various events and street fairs every
year. It is also becoming a popular spring break
destination for many students.