Off the beaten track in Berlin, Germany – “Devil’s Mountain”
Teufelsberg is an abandoned listening post built on top of a man-made hill in former West Germany. The hill is said to contain rumble of some 400,000 odd buildings from Berlin during the post World War II clean up and rebuilding years. It was also constructed directly on top of a former Nazi military-technical college. The college was virtually indestructible (in true Nazi architecture) and survived several bombing attempts of the Allies following the war.
As a listening post it was built and occupied by the American military and was used to spy on East Germany during the Cold War. Teufelsberg has been abandoned since the early 1990s. Its an amazing opportunity to see something steeped in such fascinating history with so much character, a beautiful view of the city and the best acoustics ever.
To get there, hop on the S-Bahn heading west towards the Olympicstadion. Get off at the station just before the last station which is the Olympicstadion. Make sure you go in the daylight and maybe bring a flashlight for inside and possibly some beer and a snack. Going with a friend and/or someone you just meant traveling is ideal. It is scary and I wouldn’t have made it up to it or inside it had I not had someone with me. Depending on when you are visiting, chances are there will be people inside hanging out about, taking photos, recording sounds, etc but the bottom line is that this place is eerie (either that or the bottom line here is I am a huge whimp).
Hang a left when you get out of the station and walk down the road, maybe five minutes later just when you think you have gone the wrong way, you will see a well-beaten path through the trees on your right-hand side, take it. This leads to a lovely clearing which is a wicked spot to find yourself when the sun is setting. You can see the listening post on top of the Teufelsberg hill (literal translation is Devil’s Mountain) from the clearing. At this stage you are likely thinking, ‘Erm, how do I get there?’ The answer is to do just what you think, go down the hill you are on and up the other one. There are mountain biking paths to follow. Again, when you are on your way up the hill and start thinking something went wrong, you hit a fence-lined perimeter. Follow the fence around and around (I went towards the right) and find a hole which hasn’t been fixed, get down on your hands and knees and get dirty – you have to crawl and wriggle your way through.
Now you are in. You can explore the buildings, climb the very dark stairs surrounding the empty elevator shaft (which should be avoided) and the cherry on this banana split is the top “ball”. The one at the very top is the one with the crazy acoustics- spit, click, kick, sing and be amazed.
Written By: Katie Chesher