Twenty-five miles south of Berlin lies a crumbling, long-abandoned facility that was once the Soviet Army's biggest base in communist East Germany. Known as The Forbidden City, the base in Wünsdorf was home to tens of thousands of Red Army soldiers from 1945 until the last Soviet troops left in the early 1990s following the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany.

Getty Images photographer Sean Gallup takes IBTimes UK readers inside what was once a highly fortified restricted area, still watched over by what is believed to be the only remaining statue of Vladimir Lenin in western Europe.

Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
A Russian map of the world hangs over a desk in the officers' building at the former Soviet military baseSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
A map showing parts of the United Kingdom and France with text in RussianSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
A swimming pool is seen in the officers' building at the former Soviet military baseSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
Shower heads stand in the washroom next to a swimming pool in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
An opening in a wall shows electric cables lying on the floor in an adjacent room in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
Curtains hang over the stage in the theatre and cinema in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
A shred of newspaper with text in Russian lies on the floor in a room in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
Paint peels from walls in empty rooms in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
A relief on a wall in the officers' building shows Vladimir Lenin with a soldier and a mother with a childSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
A plaque in Russian extolls the sacrifices of the Soviet Union during World War IISean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
An aerial view of the officers' building and auditoriumSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
A statue of Vladimir Lenin stands overlooking a vista in front of the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
A statue of Vladimir Lenin stands in front of the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
Graffiti covers the entrance to the main theatre and cinema at the officers' complexSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
Soviet-made electronic equipment stands in a small room in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
Red stars decorate a hallway in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
A text in Russian from Alexander Pushkin's poem 'To Chadaev' reads: 'My friend, to our land we dedicate the soul's exquisite raptures!' on a mural in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
A mural in the officers' building at the former Soviet military baseSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
Cavalrymen on horseback fly under a Soviet flag on a mural in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
A colour printer stands abandoned in a room in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
Ice clings to window panes in a stairwell in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
A mosaic shows a young man and woman in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
A mural showing an idealised scene of Soviet industry peels on a wall in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
Soviet troops are visible on an ageing Russian calendar on a wall in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
Soviet-made electronic equipment stands in a small room in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images
Abandoned Soviet army base east Germany Wuensdorf
Paint peels from walls in a hallway and staircase in the officers' buildingSean Gallup/Getty Images

The last Soviet soldiers left Germany in 1994 in one of the biggest peacetime military manoeuvres in history, ending the Soviet Union's almost 50-year Cold War presence in old East Germany. The pullout, made necessary when Moscow's eastern communist ally merged with West Germany at reunification in 1990, smoothly repatriated 340,000 troops, 210,000 family members and 4,000 tanks.

Soviet bases and training areas once covered three per cent of East German territory. Unlike American GIs in West Germany, Soviet troops were mostly confined to their isolated bases and only officers were allowed to leave to visit nearby towns.