Teufelsberg (German for Devil's Mountain) is a hill in Berlin, Germany, in former West Berlin, rising about 80 meters above the surrounding Brandenburg plain, currently parkland, Grunewald Park.
It is an artificial hill with a curious history: it was built by the Allies after the Second World War from the rubble of Berlin during the following twenty years as Berlin was being rebuilt. The estimate for the amount of rubble is about 12 million cubic meters, or about 400 000 buildings.
That as such does not make Teufelsberg curious, there are many similar man-made rubble mounds in Germany and other war-torn cities of Europe. The curiousness begins with what is buried underneath the hill: a Nazi military-technical college designed by Albert Speer. The Allies tried to demolish the school by explosives but it turned out to be so sturdy that covering it with debris turned out to be easier.
In the 1960s a small skiing center was built on the slopes of the hill.
The curiousness does not end here: the US National Security Agency (NSA) built one of its largest listening stations on top of the hill, rumoured to be part of the global ECHELON intelligence gathering network. At the request of US government, the ski lifts were removed because they claimedly disturbed the signals. The station continued to operate until the fall of East Germany and the Berlin Wall, but after that the station was closed and the equipment removed. The buildings and radar domes still remain in place.
As of 1990s as Berlin had an economical boom after the German Reunification, a group of investors bought the hill from the City of Berlin and started to build hotels and apartments at the top, possibly preserving the listening station as a spy museum. The building boom of Berlin overproduced, however, and the Teufelsberg project became unprofitable, and the building project was aborted. As of early 2000s, there has been talk of the city buying back the hill. Unfortunately it seems that the site has been vandalized heavily since the company abandoned the project.
- Teufelsberg history (http://www.ccc.de/teufelsberg/teufelsberg.html)
- Panorama pictures of Teufelsberg (http://fiedel.dyndns.org/teufelsberg/)
- Pictures of Teufelsberg in April 2004 (http://fiedel.dyndns.org/teufelsberg/pix/)
- German Wikipedia entry for Teufelsberg (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teufelsberg)