The Devil’s In The Detail

Being a relatively new resident in Berlin, visiting Teufelsberg was near the top of my "Places to Go" list, along with every other tourist/hipster/expat. After making the journey up the arduous 80 meter hill (Berlin is so flat I had forgotten what a hill feels like), finding the tower was harder than expected in the early afternoon fog, the tops of the trees merging with the bleak sky. Following a twenty minute walk from Heerstrasse S-Bahn station, I finally reached my goal and was filled with anticipation. Despite many friends advising me to attempt to break and enter the premises, I go sans wire cutters and make my way around the uninviting fenced perimeter of the area. There are three layers of fencing, the first topped with barbed wire and the second two less daunting, littered with gaping holes left by previous renegades entering the fortress.

Into The Unknown

Making my way to the entrance I am greeted by a small group of Australian tourists and a lone figure on the other side of the fence: the gatekeeper to this other world.

Some of the street art on display at Teufelsberg. Photo: Chris Phillips

He informs me calmly that the next tour will start in ten minutes. I pace outside the fence impatiently, staring up at the former globes of the US listening stations frequented during The Cold War. After handing over €7 (the guide makes it clear that this is for "the tour" only and includes no information), I'm granted entry and start up the slope towards the main complex. Inside we pass the shells of previous structures, now left to the elements and covered in graffiti; as with any street art, some of it is noteworthy and the rest is not.