The Coolest Place I went in Berlin: Teufelsberg - Kirsten Alana

The Coolest Place I Went While in Berlin: Teufelsberg

The Coolest Place I went While in Berlin: Teufelsberg - Kirsten Alana

How I came to visit Teufelsberg

When Tumblr contacted me and asked if I wanted to go on an expedition to an abandoned former-spy facility in Berlin, I had to say yes. In fact, I had to check myself before I replied over enthusiastically and squealed like a child.

I happen to be enthralled with spy stories, WWII history, abandoned places and anything that might be overtaken with street art.

All of those things apply to Teufelsberg. The word in German means, ‘Devil’s Hill’. Teufelsberg rises from within the Grunewald Forest and up from the Brandenburg Plain.Its mysteriousness is immediately apparent. Yet its precise history is a little more ambiguous.

The hill itself was created from the transported rubble of the war. It was comprised of what was left when Berlin was bombed into near non-existence. This rubble was piled on top of, and eventually hid, a former Nazi school. Then, the Americans built a spy station, eventually run by the NSA. It was in operation until the Wall and East Berlin fell.

Various plots to buy the land, rehab it or just take it back from squatters have all been set forth. None have been successful.

So, when I exited the Grunewald 7 S-Bahn station, met my colleagues and began the trek, I had no idea what we’d find at the end. We walked through a thick pine forest from the station (in near disbelief that we were still within Berlin city limits) only to discover…

What is there to see?

Well, it turns out, mostly, graffiti. *cue Kirsten ACTUALLY squealing with excitement*

Jen, Jeremy, Gary and I wandered. The men climbed the heights into the soaring spaces of the radar towers which still punctuate the hill. Jen and I snapped photograph after photograph. Eventually our fingers were so frozen we could not work the shutter. My thanks are owed to her for the image of me in the far lower left corner.

Eventually, we left. A warming meal of sausage and potatoes lay in wait for us at the Biergarten just next to the train station.

But as I walked away, all I could think about was how I could not wait to return. Obviously when it was warmer, for longer. Hopefully, while Teufelsberg is still equal parts mysterious and infamous.

  • March 12, 2013

    I love finding little pockets of fun like this in Berlin. I’m going to search out this one on the weekend!

  • March 12, 2013

    Berlin is amazing for its street art!!! nice finds! I miss Berlin so much! East London is pretty good for it too!

    • March 13, 2013

      I agree!! East London is also very good for street art. I really like Shoreditch.

  • March 13, 2013

    I bet Teufelsberg is not on the main tourist route, hopeful when they (eventually I’m sure) renovate the area they somehow leave some remnants of its past behind

    • March 13, 2013

      It is definitely not yet on the main tourist route. And I definitely hope it stays that way, or they preserve the best of the aspect that nurtures and fosters creatives in Berlin. That’s what is so beautiful about the graffiti there. It’s not just tagging. These massive murals, some of the best I’ve seen anywhere, are there. And I would be very upset to see them gone.

  • March 13, 2013

    Um. What?!? This is awesome! I am so jealous – spy stories and street art are the BEST.

    • March 13, 2013

      Aww!! Well I hope You get to go yourself, sooner rather than later.

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