Satan’s Pile

A palace of graffiti

This must be Berlin’s most famous “lost” place.

The abandoned Teufelsberg complex as seen from an alternative rear pathway to the site
The abandoned Teufelsberg complex as seen from an alternative rear pathway to the site

The name itself conjures up visions of otherworldly experiences, of a resident evil eliminating the joy of existence, and the site’s generally poor condition only reinforces this impression.

A victim of the Cold War, this former US listening post gradually succumbs to the forces of nature
A victim of the Cold War, this former US listening post gradually succumbs to the forces of nature

Abandoned, and now graffitied, the walls are full of nuggets of urban wisdom, much of it seemingly in code:

  • Shit happens when you party naked
  • Crazy muster sketch
  • Guilt
  • Bamboo
  • Don’t eat my mother
  • Legalise it
  • Fuck Hash Tags, Fuck Plastic, Fuck Oil, Fuck Haters, Fuck This, Fuck That…

…the list eventually peters out, but not because the author ran out of things to hate, but because the wall was smaller than his creative vision, and also because his can of spray paint eventually just spluttered to a halt.

The interior is now a vast urban art gallery
The interior is now a vast urban art gallery

Any of history’s great masters would have immediately hot-footed it down to the medieval pigment store for an assortment of brightly coloured pebbles to grind into a fresh batch of egg tempura, but not these modern-day talents, they just leave their masterpieces unfinished, for society to admire, if and when it can.

Surely these very same walls offer a plausible explanation as to why pre-neolithic man sometimes decorated the walls of some far-flung and almost inaccessible cave system with drawings, odd symbols and handprints? 

Edward Snowdon, ex-CIA employee and now alternative hero
Edward Snowdon, ex-CIA employee and now alternative hero

It wasn’t part of a religious ceremony, or superstition even, it was just a gang of the local stone-age youth out exploring and graffitiing up the neighbourhood on the quiet.

A man-made hill

The Teufelsberg is a man-made hill on the outskirts of West Berlin comprising of the rubble and other debris resulting from the bombing of the city by the allied forces during WWII.

Inside what remains of one of the domes
Inside what remains of one of the domes

Named after the nearby Teufelssee – Devil’s Lake – it rises approximately 80 meters above the surrounding Teltow plateau.

The hill was later used as the location for a US listening station, construction starting in 1963, but quickly abandoned at the end of the Cold-War, due to the collapse of the communist system and the reunification of Germany in 1990.

The watcher, chained and immortalised
The watcher, chained and immortalised

The complex of abandoned buildings has since been bought and sold by various groups with plans of developing the area, as a hotel, or a university etc. but until now very little has been undertaken, except maybe that since local graffiti artists discovered the huge potential the expansive walls the concrete structures offer, the compound has become world-famous as an ever-evolving street art gallery and it’s become one of the area’s most notorious abandoned places, the urban photographer’s dream location, where nature’s gradual recapturing of its own can be observed in real-time.

View over the Grunewald forest, the city of Berlin in the distance
View over the Grunewald forest, the city of Berlin in the distance

For tours, entrance tickets, more info etc., see:

https://teufelsberg-berlin.de

It’s well worth a visit.

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© 2021 - Andrew James Kirkwood

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Werner Jungbluth
2 years ago

You never took me there?!

Andrew James Kirkwood
2 years ago

And I only arranged it twice, I wonder what went wrong !?!?

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