Teufelsberg is German for Devil’s Mountain. The name has no historical significance, but the hill was named after its neighboring Teufelssee ( Devil’s Lake). It rises approx. 260 feet above the surrounding terrain.
There are multiple ways to get to Teufelsberg. You can use public transportation (BVG) and walk 30 minutes from the train station e.g. The easiest way, though, is taking the car. There is a parking lot on the bottom of the hill. The last quarter mile up the hill is by foot.
The premises with the antenna domes are fenced in and can only be visited on Sundays and with a local tour guide. One of the tour guides is a former US Army Intelligence Officer and has a lot of interesting stories and facts to tell.
The hill is an artificial hill. It consists entirely of debris of the bombed buildings of Berlin, which was amassed here after WWII. The debris was dumped on the never completed Nazi military-technology college (Wehrtechnische Fakultät) designed by Albert Speer.
The hill is located in former West Berlin. The U.S. Army discovered the mountain as an excellent place for a monitoring system. It was just perfect. West Berlin was in the middle of the Warsaw Pact territory. “We couldn’t get any closer“ says our tour guide.
The first installation was a mobile air space monitoring system. The system was used to supervise the aviation corridors, the Allies had agreed upon. Pretty soon the mobile system was replaced by five permanent antenna domes. Part of the listening-in station was used by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as part of their global ECHELON intelligence gathering network.
A lot of the buildings are in very bad shape and it is quite sad to see this significant part of German-American history falling to neglect. But if you take a closer look you see traces of its former function and magnitude and, with some imagination, you get an idea of the busyness of this place. The remains of the huge ventilation shaft or the thick cables running alongside the elevator are signs of a then very state of the art technology.
The view over Berlin from the top dome of the installation is spectacular!
Teufelsberg and its remains of the Cold War is an interesting and historically significant place to visit.
If you want to include this location into your city tour with us, please let us know in advance.
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