Around the holidays, I spent some time exploring the city of Berlin. I was in Poland for Christmas and decided to spend the New Years in Berlin. Beyond the capital’s dynamic historical past, I was pleasantly surprised by its strong alternative culture. Berlin is one of the most diverse street art metropolises in the world and is home to one of the coolest places I’ve visited: Teufelsberg.
What is Teufelsberg?
Teufelsberg is a hill topped with abandoned buildings that are covered in street art and graffiti. Despite it’s current look, Teufelsberg didn’t start out as an ‘open art gallery’. It first served as a technical school under Nazi occupation. After the war, the Allies unsuccessfully attempted to destroy it and then covered the remains of the technical school in rubble, creating a massive man-made hill. Due to its height, it served as a spy station after the war for the American and British governments. Once the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union was dissolved, Teufelsberg was abandoned as a listening center. It was eventually bought by a group of investors who planned to build hotels and apartments on the hill. Construction never took off because the Berlin housing boom in the late 1900’s threatened the profitability of the project.
How did it end up as destination to visit?
While Teufelsberg stood abandoned and fenced off from the surrounding areas, artists began to sneak inside to cover the buildings in art. In 2016, the landlord of the property decided to open Teufelsberg up to visitors and tourists to admire this “street art gallery”. Currently, the entrance fee is 8 euros and opening hours start at 10AM everyday. While not in the Berlin center, it’s easily accessible by metro by taking the S-Bahn to Grunewald Station. From there, its about 25 minute walk, which includes walking through a residential area and then a 10 minute up-hill walk. I recommend half a day for a visit, that way theres plenty of time for transport and exploration.
Here are some pictures from my visit!
Teufelsberg is unlike anything I’ve visited so far. It’s a nice change of pace from the typical cultural stuff you see while visiting European cities. Although the entrance fee is a bit overpriced, I definitely recommend a visit!