The Teufelsberg (devil’s mountain) at Berlin, Germany, is a lost place. Deteriorating and shabby. A place you can explore, where you can learn about espionage and a location full of anarchy that you might experience in Germany only in Berlin. It is the second highest mountain in the city, and it is artificial – created from the wreckage originating from World War II. Located within the British occupation zone, it was first used by the United States of America to control the air space over the divided German capital.
In God we trust, everyone else we monitor
The British didn’t see the strategic value of this location which could be used to intercept communications throughout Europe. Later they requested to be a partner in the Teufelsberg project and declared that they would deny the right to use the mountain if this wouldn’t be accepted. From 1957 on they became the second partner of this NSA-operated facility. This usage continued until the fall of the Iron Curtain; in 1991 the surveillance was stopped and the radar facilities were used until 1999 for civilian air space monitoring. Later there were plans to convert the mountain into a place with lofts, a convention centre, a museum and a restaurant – but they couldn’t be realized due to nature protection.
What can be seen there today?
Teufelsberg, Berlin Teufelsberg, Berlin Teufelsberg, Berlin
Currently, artists are living on the Teufelsberg and use the former buildings as studios and for events. You can get there and access the area on your own risk paying a small entrance fee (currently 5 Euros). Up there you will see different radar units and the former buildings of the NSA facility. Within an art exhibition of the local artists can be found and many political graffiti on the outside of the buildings. Even they are already worth a visit! Unfortunately, the main building has recently been closed for visitors by the building inspection which means that you are unable to get into one of these radar domes and enjoy the views from the top of the building. But nevertheless, I found it worth to get up there.
How to get to the Teufelsberg?
The Teufelsberg is located in the Grunewald forest in the West of the city. You can reach it best by car and park in the car park of the former employees but it is also possible to get there with public transport if you like some hiking. Closest stop is the S-Bahn stop Heerstraße. From there its is a 1.2 kilometers long walk. You have to walk along the Teufelsseestraße and after you’ve left the city you can find two large parking areas after each other on the right sight. It doesn’t matter which one you take: if you walk over the parking area and take the path on the other side it will lead you up the mountain. Once you’ve found the fences of the facility signs will guide you to the entrance.