Teufelsberg was one of the first places I discovered upon arriving in Berlin, because I used to live really close (yes, I lived in Heerstrasse. Yes, people live in Heerstrasse). It is a green, beautiful hill one can choose to go hiking, cycling, and if you’re a lazy potato like me, just to chill on top and enjoy the amazing view. Getting its name from the lake nearby, Teufelssee, Teufelsberg is a man-made hill, created out of the rubble and debris the WWII left behind. It also covers the never completed Nazi military technical college, which after the War, was easier to bury than demolish (literally, the devil’s mountain). Its fascinating history doesn’t stop there, since during the Cold War it was used by Americans as a Listening Station to spy over the DDR.
But it’s not only out of historical interest one should travel to West Berlin and visit Teufelsberg; the former NSA Listening station has now turned into a magnificent street art gallery, with lots of beautiful murals decorating the abandoned place’s walls. Ever since the Americans left, artists had been leaving their mark here and there, until in 2012, the Berlin Art Base which was supposed to take place there, intended to bring artists together and let their creativity unfold on the walls. Even though the authorities didn’t give license for it, artists still took advantage of the empty walls to create beautiful art. In 2015, Berlin Rising, a big international project brought together 70 artists from all around the world to add to Teufelsberg’s mural collection. And the projects don’t stop: last year The Art of Living had 170 graffitti and street artists redesign various surfaces of the landmark.
Make a day out of visiting the spy station turned into a graffiti gallery and combine it with a nice picnic at the hill while enjoying the view, or by visiting Adik’s cafe, right by Heerstrasse station, where you can munch on their delicious day dishes in their super cute and calm yard. (Their strawberry cake is insane!)