A palace of graffiti
This must be Berlin’s most famous “lost” place.
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.
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
- 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.
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?
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.
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 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.
For tours, entrance tickets, more info etc., see:
It’s well worth a visit.
- Fotomarathon, Berlin 2016
- Urban Photo Race, Berlin 2017
- Micro Location: Graffiti
- The Crack In The Pavement
- Satan’s Pile
- Heroes, some remembered, most forgotten
- Waldmeister ist Retro
- Altstadt Spandau U-Bahn station
- Concrete, where architecture meets climate change
- That industrial look
- City glass, a very public gallery
- The Hauptbahnhof, a monument to success
© 2021 - Andrew James Kirkwood
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