Teufelsberg: Visiting Devil’s Mountain in Berlin
September 08 2015
I recently visited one of Berlin’s most famous green spaces: Grünewald. Located between Berlin and Potsdam, the forest is the perfect spot for wandering. There are lakes and clubs for horse riding; but the main attraction, especially for an urbanite interested in both history and the use of urban space, is the former U.S. spy station, now turned into a street art gallery: Teufelsberg.
With a name that means the Mountain of the Devil, it’s easy to reach and climb. Indeed, the only thing that bothered me on my way up to my tour was a frustratingly persistent mosquito. Once there, I found two other tourists, Germans who were eager to explore the structures and the art.
The tour here is operated by a local company, which offers what is called a “silent tour,” where you can ask questions and they answer you. Teufelsberg itself isn’t something necessarily remarkable, because most of the buildings are falling into disrepair, but the site offers a great view of Berlin and a fascinating place for creative thinking.
It’s also one of the last remnants of the Cold War, and just as the Berlin Wall, street art is the primary reason for visiting. Tours are offered every day, starting at noon, and the company offers an historic tour in the middle of the afternoon.
While some people consider the tour some kind of “established product” and refuse to pay – so they rather sneak in for free – I decided to respect the law. However, once inside, there are some places marked off as verboten, but they’re easily trespassed.
The tour lasts just one hour, and you’ll appreciate how this dying place fits into Germany’s and Berlin’s history, mostly as a place of social control. The building had no windows, and when you visit the tower, you can really feel the acoustic properties of the former spy station.
In less than three hours, I had nice pictures of street art and landscape views of Berlin for my social networks; and I acquired some knowledge about the Cold War conflicts as I enjoyed a walk through the forest in a summer day.
A local restaurant was the final station, where after my tour, I enjoyed a German beer and tasty food.
This is why cities like Berlin are so cool and so inspirational – and so important. You simply don’t need lots of money to get out of the city to do something different. For a day, I felt like a spy listening to the wind blowing out of Berlin, carrying with it secret messages and a secret history.
Berlin is a changing city, evolving up out of its scary past and into a new world, a world being taken over by creativity and art.
Have you ever visited Teufelsberg? How about Berlin? What’d you think of this great city? Let us know your thoughts down below!