Berlin. Three white balls stand out against the dense green foliage of the Grunewald. They can be seen from every look-out point in the city and thereby shape the silhouette of Berlin. Like a fortress, they are enthroned on the second highest point of Berlin, the 120.1-meter-high Teufelsberg. It is a place of history and art. A lost place full of colour and creativity. The former listening station on the Teufelsberg is not only the largest street art gallery in Berlin, but also in Europe. Here you can find out everything you need to know before your visit. You can also see some great photos of this very special place in the middle of Grunewald.
Street Art Mecca in the Ruins of the Listening Station at Teufelsberg
A street art paradise has developed in the ruins of the former listening station on Teufelsberg in Berlin. On five floors and 2,400 square meters, artists from all over the world have come to be creative. Concrete walls were added later to give even more space for artworks. The design of the ruins was in the hands of Graffiti Lobby Berlin. On the "Open Monument Day" in September 2012, painting and design was carried out under the motto "Resurrection from Ruins". Since then numerous other events and workshops have taken place on the Teufelsberg. The Lost Place became more colourful from time to time - the largest Street Art Gallery in Europe was created. And when you reach the panorama terrace after seeing the many paintings, you'll have a fantastic 360° panoramic view over the Grunewald forest up to the television tower at Alexanderplatz.
But there's more to it than that. Above the viewing terrace rises the highest of the white spheres - called radomes. Over a narrow staircase you reach the dome. Sometimes concerts take place here. Because the sound and space in the dome is as fascinating as the view and street art.
History of the Listening Station at Teufelsberg
The former radar station on the Teufelsberg is today a popular excursion destination and a hot spot for street art in Berlin. At the same time it is a place of history. It is a reminder of the Nazi era, the post-war years, the Cold War and also of the upswing after the fall of the Wall.
Faculty of Defense Technology during the Nazi Era
After the seizure of power in 1933 Hitler intended to make Berlin the world capital Germania. Part of this project were monumental buildings, large-scale reconstruction measures and various representative projects. Construction was also carried out on the site where the Teufelsberg is today. Here the new university town - the Faculty of Defence Technology - was to be built. Construction began in 1937, but from February 1940 all resources were withdrawn for war purposes. The construction came to a standstill. The main building of the university, completed as a shell, remained unfinished. Later the building was demolished down to the ground floor and partly used as building material.
Post-War Years and the Cold War
After the war, one third of Berlin lay in ruins. From 1950, trucks finally removed the rubble from the streets. As a result, several mountains of rubble were accumulated in Berlin. Among them were the ruins of the former military technology faculty. This is where the Teufelsberg grew. Two basement levels with air-raid shelters are still under the mountain today. The last truck arrived in 1972. During these 22 years, 26 million cubic metres of rubble were transformed into the highest elevation in West Berlin.
"Teufelssee" and "Himmelsteich" (Heaven's Pond): The nearby Teufelssee, gave the Teufelsberg its name. The lake is a so-called Heaven's Pond. This means that it is fed only by rain and groundwater. The Teufelssee probably owes its name to a primeval cult place that was once located here.
After the filling up of the mountain was completed, it was turned into a popular excursion point: Trees were planted and Berlin got a ski slope with a lift and ski jump. But the top of the mountain was reserved for spying purposes, an area of 48,000 square meters. This is where the buildings of the US forces' flight monitoring and listening station with a total of five antenna domes were built.
After the Reunification of Germany
As a result of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the military withdrew and dismantled parts of the technical installations. However, new radar installations were installed on the buildings. The air traffic control radar station was created, which monitored civil air traffic from 1991 to 1999. But since 1999, the buildings have finally been empty and dilapidated.
The Berlin Senate sold the site to a group of investors in 1998. They wanted to build a hotel with conference centre, luxury apartments, spy museum and restaurant. But the plans failed due to unexpectedly high costs and the resistance of the conservationists. The building permit expired. In 2005, the Senate finally decided to change the previously valid land use plan. Since 2006, the site has been designated as a forest. A new private development is therefore excluded.
Then in 2008 there were new plans from Hollywood director David Lynch. He had a peace university of the Maharishi Foundation in mind. At the Tower of Invincibility up to 1000 students should meditate and do Yoga exercises. But these plans did not work out either.
A leaseholder of the site finally opened the gates for visitors in February 2011. He also established the largest street art gallery in Europe. A subsequent tenant has been developing the site since 2015. Parallel to this, the association Initiative Kultur-DENK-MAL Berliner Teufelsberg g. e. V. was founded in 2013. This has turned the Teufelsberg into a centre of art and creativity. Since the end of October 2018, the Teufelsberg has been listed as a historical monument.
All Information for your Visit of the Listening Station at Teufelsberg Berlin
Address and directions:
Teufelsseechaussee 10, 14193 Berlin. From the S-Bahn station Heerstraße walk along Teufelsseechaussee to the second parking lot. Then straight ahead through the forest until you see a fence. Turn left here and you will come to the main entrance.
Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. Last admission is at 4 pm.
Historical tour: interesting facts about the history of Teufelsberg. Duration approx. 90 minutes. Costs 15 Euro. Tickets can be bought on site.
Historical flashlight hike (not in summer).
Silent tours: free tour of the safe areas of the Teufelsberg radar station, without historical information. Costs 5 Euro (currently without viewing platform).
IMPORTANT! At the moment the viewing platform of the Radom Unit with the prominent radomes and the dome may not be entered temporarily for safety reasons (fire protection and escape routes). Please check the current status on the website teufelsberg-berlin.eu .
What else there is to see:
Documentation of the history of the Teufelsberg and photos from the Cold War.
Book Recommendations for Street Art Fans
You like to browse through illustrated books for new murals or artists you don't know yet? You love to discover the street art scene of other cities? Then I can recommend these books. Click on the picture to get to Amazon, where you can order the books. If you buy something through one of these affiliate links, I get a small commission and you help me to keep filling Fernweh-Motive with interesting articles. The product will not be more expensive for you.
Do you want to discover the street art scene in Berlin together with like-minded people on a guided tour? Then I can recommend this three-hour Street Art Tour* or the half-day Tour through the Alternative Berlin* . Both tours are in English. Do you love lost places as much as street art? Then the Tour to the former Listening Station at Teufelsberg* (in German) is made for you.
Do you know the former listening station at the Teufelsberg in Berlin and the great street art works? How did you like it there? Do you have any comments or suggestions about my article? If so, please write me a comment!
Recommendations for further Reading
Do you love street art as much as I do? Then take a look at the great murals in my two following articles: