Teufelsberg, Berlin, Germany
R. Tscherwitschke / agefotostock
Deep in Berlin‘s Grunewald Forest, Teufelsberg (literally, Devil’s Mountain; the name comes from the nearby Teufelssee, or Devil’s Lake) was once the site of a Nazi technology college. After the war, it was decided that the school would be buried beneath rubble and debris left in the city after the war, and the resulting man-made hill rose to more than 300 feet; during the cold war, American troops built a base on top from which to spy on East Germany. Since the wall fell, the base’s radar domes have become graffiti-spattered ruins and a haunting pilgrimage for urban explorers, street-art fans, and those seeking great views over the Grunewald and the Havel River. The hill is also used as a ski slope and sled run in winter; paragliding aficionados and picnickers enjoy it in summer. The website has official tour options.
Spy on Berlin
Teufelsberg was occupied by the Americans and the British during the Cold War and served as a listening station. Consider this hill and these abandoned structures one giant hearing aid. It was used for listening to Soviet, East German, and other Warsaw Pact nations’ military traffic. Abandoned after the Cold War and left in shambles, it’s now one of the many interesting abandoned places around Berlin to tour and learn more about the Cold War. In addition, the hill that the old spy station is built upon offers up some spectacular views of Berlin and its wooded areas. It’s “open” year-round, and the day I went it was blustery cold, so be sure to take warm clothes if going in the winter, as there are no heated structures. You can tour and photograph the abandoned windowless structures on the weekends for a cost of US$20 and hear all of the spy stories to get your imagination running wild. Tours are possible every Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 pm. If there aren’t enough English guests, the guide speaks German but may answer your questions in English between the stops. More information: http://www.ottsworld.com/blogs/berlin-cold-war/