Teufelsberg: Former US listening station with a view

During the Cold War a listening station of the Americans, today a popular excursion destination in the Grunewald. Enjoy fantastic views of Berlin from Teufelsberg!

Your gaze wanders to the east: the TV tower and cathedral glisten in the setting sun. On over 114 meters of rubble, the view of the capital is uniquely beautiful. Teufelsberg played the role of a lifetime in the drama of the Cold War – as an American listening station.

Still covered in bog and mud at the beginning of the 20th century, things changed with the rise of the National Socialists. Plans for Germania include a university faculty on the spot. With World War II, parts of the defence shell are destroyed. Trucks cart rubble from the destroyed Berlin to the area on Heerstrasse. Here, after a very short time, the highest elevation of West Berlin piles up. In 1972, the artificial mounding reached its end. For a respectable appearance, trees are quickly planted, a ski slope including drag lift and ski jump as well as a toboggan run are built.

The NSA era before the whistleblowers

The Americans also quickly recognize the potential uses of the rubble mountain. For espionage and eavesdropping purposes, antennas and radar domes are erected on the two hills starting in the 1950s. The satellite dishes are used to capture, intercept and even jam radio signals from the Eastern Bloc.

The Field Station of the American occupiers is in use until the end of the Cold War in 1989. Without the five distinctive radar domes, Teufelsberg would probably not be the mysterious place it is today. That’s because it won’t be until 2020 that the archives will be opened and information about how and what was intercepted will be available for public viewing.

Your gaze wanders to the east: the TV tower and cathedral glisten in the setting sun. On over 114 meters of rubble, the view of the capital is uniquely beautiful.

I ♥ Berlin

After the end of the Cold War and the withdrawal of the Allies, the facility was used for air traffic monitoring. In 1999, the Berlin Senate sells the facility. However, all plans for a new use fail. The American director David Lynch wants to buy the facility in 2007 in order to establish a “Vedic Peace University” there with the controversial Maharishi Foundation.

Guided tours

On Teufelsberg, all visitors have the opportunity to explore the grounds and accessible parts of the building in various guided tours. A 90-minute historical tour is offered as well as a flashlight walk or a silent walk. Private tours can also be booked. For more information, please visit the Teufelsberg website.

The viewing platform of the former radar station may not be entered at this time.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Teufelsberg in Grunewald has become a popular Berlin short break destination: In winter, it’s just the place for sledding or a mass snowball fight. In summer, Berliners gather here for picnic outings and to watch dreamy sunsets – not least because of the neighboring Teufelssee lake. All year round, hang gliding and paragliding, mountain biking and hiking are the order of the day in the Grunewald. Sailboats glide on the Havel in summer. The hiking trail along the Havel, the Havelhöhenweg, leads all the way to Wannsee in Zehlendorf and offers beautiful views of the body of water.

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