hot hours on the mountain – teufelsberg, berlin

…. a part that they call the hidden Berlin.

I found out about it only a couple of days before my take off. 

If I should got there on my own feet … it would have taken me hours. Only the walk from the S-bahn station Mohrunger Allee, nearly 2 km … would have taken me one hour and uphill in frying hot sunshine. In all honesty I don’t think I would have made it. It’s a very long walk from the station and with the tour they only park their van some steps away from the area. 

So I was glad I booked a guided tour with Secret Tours Berlin.  (€40).  The pick up was just opposite Ritz-Carlton Hotel at the Potsdamer Platz, 2pm. That gave my plenty time in the morning and time to enjoy the Sony Centre. Always something going in there and they have fantastic cocktails at “ALEX”

A very popular place for breakfast too. The best Mojitos in town … and they serve Mövenpick ice cream (my absolute favourite). A bit too early for a Mojito … so I went for a blueberry smoothie.

The Potsdamer Platz is an important public square and traffic intersection in the centre of Berlin, Germany, lying about 1 km south of the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, and close to the southeast corner of the Tiergarten park. Potsdamer Platz used to be a barren piece of land before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now, it is a vibrant and bustling part of Berlin, mingled with modern buildings by world-renowned architects such as Helmut Jahn. There are still some remains from the wall at the square. 

I had been to Potsdamer Platz before but I have never noticed “Pavillon der Einheit” …  The Pavilion of the Unity” was inaugurated in November 2015. It is a replica of a hexagonal pavilion in the gardens of the Royal Palace Changdeokgung (Pavilion Sangnyangjeong) from (1392-1910) in the South Korean metropolis of Seoul. I don’t have a clue why it’s there. The pavilion was built with pine timber, roof tiles and stones brought from Korea.

For me was it only to take U-Bahn #2 to get there. 

At the Sony Centre was they launching the new Ford Focus … and there were loads of activities going on. If you got all your 3 balls into each basket you won the car. I was tempted, but what should I with a car.

Teufelsberg (German for Devil’s Mountain), it was named after the Teufelssee (i.e. Devil’s lake) in its southerly vicinity. Teufelsberg is a man-made hill, created in the 20 years following the Second World War by moving approximately 75,000,000 m3 (98,000,000 cu yd) of debris from Berlin. And covers an under-construction Nazi military-technical college (Wehrtechnische Fakultät). During the Cold War, there was a U.S. listening station on the hill, Field Station Berlin. (info: Wikipedia).

The Americans also soon recognised the usefulness of the artificial hill. From the 1950s onwards, antennas and radomes were erected on its two hilltops for espionage and intercepting communications. Huge dishes were built for intercepting, listening to and jamming radio signals from the Eastern Bloc.

The field station was used by the American forces until the end of the Cold War in 1989. The four striking radomes are what still gives Teufelsberg its mysterious aura today, because not until 2020 when the archives are opened will the public be able to find out find out what was listened to, and what methods were used.

After the end of the Cold War and the departure of the allied forces, the complex was used for air traffic control until 1999, when the city government sold it. However, all the plans for a new use came to nothing. In 2007, the American film director David Lynch wanted to buy the complex in order to set up a “Vedic Peace University” with the controversial Maharishi Foundation.

Today, tours are available where you can view the remains of the complex with its five large radar domes. The listening station is now probably the most well-known of Berlin’s formerly secret sites. The ruins of the station and its satellite dishes are covered in graffiti and exude a morbid charm. You can still feel the spirit of the Cold War which once permeated the city.

Christopher McLarren, a US army veteran who was stationed at the site during the Cold War says that “Teufelsberg was a type of forewarning post.” “We had to gather as much information as possible in order to find out if the Soviets or the Warsaw Pact were plotting against us,” the 69-year-old, who now leads tours at the site, says.

The US documents on what type of information was collected by the NSA at Teufelsberg will only be made public in 2020. 1,500 spies worked at the station. “Brits and Americans were both on the Teufelsberg, but they weren’t there together,” says McLarren. (info: www.thelocal.de)

Graffiti artists from around the globe have come to spray on its walls, turning it into the largest graffiti gallery in Europe. 

Today the main buildings, dome and towers closed … not to be safe anymore. The Teufelsberg is now closed – indefinitely!

But isn’t still worth a visit because of the art … and the area – there is a cafe … and a little amphitheatre for anyone that wants to perform.  Plus all wired and wonderful pieces of art hidden in the bushes. 

The only minus with being with an organized tour … is that there is no real time to explore the area on your own, so both Oscar and I felt a bit rushed because the others were always standing to wait on us. The tour is set to 2 hours and I think the transport time is included in that, takes nearly 40 min in total (both ways).

Our guide/driver was very good and even if the tour was held in German, she paid attention to me to me too. A lovely young lady.

Back at Potsdamer Platz … it was HIGH time for a Mojito at ALEX!!! And it was SOOOoOo wanted and so good and well needed. *laughing

“Spies and parents never sleep.”
Linda Gerber

20 thoughts on “hot hours on the mountain – teufelsberg, berlin

    • Colleen, thank you so much for the lovely words!!! So glad that you want to join me. I didn’t know about this place … until just before departure. And I found another fantastic hidden gem, because our lovely guide here on the mountain. So more to come. *smile

    • You are right … a fascinating place, would had loved to spend more time there, Next time I will take a taxi. *smile And I will enjoy a Mojito at ALEX too. My favourite cocktail. Leeds a great city. Really great. TVhug!

      • James and Lauren are heading to Berlin on Saturday. I’m hoping the heat isn’t too extreme but more than that Ryanair cabin crew strikes don’t affect them. 😦

      • Oh, haven’t heard about Ryanair. That would be so sad … hope they will be able to take off. It has been very hot in Berlin too .. for months, It will be about +30 I can see. Still there is loads of places to cold down at.

      • I was going to send James this post but I think they will mostly just ‘chill’ and enjoy time together. They don’t have a lot of money so I probably shouldn’t recommend Alex 🙂 🙂

      • They have to visit The Sony Centre … and ALEX isn’t that expensive. They should visit something call “Hometown” – great place with famous graffiti artist .. in the middle of the city. Free at day time. Open air gallery during daytime … nightclub in the evening, cheap . Working on my post just now. http://hometown.berlin/

  1. Too hot for heaven for sure, and a bit too expensive a tour. 😉 On the other hand, you didn’t win the car, because really, what use it would be. I loved that bit! 😀 Lovely street art and chunk of history.

    • Tours are not coming cheap … and I don’t complain, it had been even more expensive with taken a taxi. It was a great day and I enjoyed it, so it was worth the effort and the cents. No, I don’t drive … so winning a car in Germany would only create problems for me. *smile

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