Most of us were too young or not even born in the heydays of the cold war but we do (mostly) know what it was all about from reading about it at school and from watching the countless cold war spy movies (which may or may not be a true picture of the cold war). When we think of the cold war, we think of those cheesy school videos telling students to hide under their desks in case of a nuclear explosion (like a desk is going to protect you) and of course spies living large, using gadgets, and killing bad guys in movies. Speaking of spies, if you’re a fan, you need to check out the cold war era Teufelsberg hill in Berlin, Germany.
Teufelsberg is a man-made hill, made out of rubble from buildings that were destroyed in World War II, the name means “devil’s mountain” and the hill was home to the listening stations of the cold war.
British and American intelligence agencies shared the tower and surrounding facilities at Teufelsberg to listen to what the Eastern block was up to. The towers had state of the art technologies (for that era) such as satellite dishes, antennas, signal interception equipment, and even paper shredders to destroy important documents in case the enemy took over.
The listening tower and the rest of the facilities have been put out of commission now, since there is no need to spy on East Germany nowadays. The facilities were stripped out of their spy equipment and the main tower was turned into an air traffic control tower for a few years. Currently the building is just sitting there, vandalized and stripped of any remaining equipment. For a while there were guided tours of the facilities but those have stopped now, people can still visit the hill and even go up the tower and get a 360 degree view of the surrounding area.
There are lots of other cool tourist attractions in Berlin that are aimed at the not so adventurous travelers that like to stay in hotels and go with tour guides. If you’re not one of those people, you like to visit unconventional destinations; the listening station at Teufelsberg is the place for you. You’ll find lots of wildlife in surrounding hills and also get to enjoy a piece of history and get that eerie ghost town feeling.
Also note, since the listening station has been vandalized, there are potential dangers when you’re inside. There missing guardrails in the tower and holes in the floor, visitors need to be careful when going up the tower because the potential for falling out is high…but if you use common sense you’ll do just fine.