An Abandoned American Listening Station On Top of a Pile of Rubble in West Berlin

This slight bump in the horizon is the highest point in Berlin

It's called The Devil's Mountain, and it's made of rubble cleared from the city after World War II

It's also the site of an old American listening station that has been abandoned since the end of the Cold War

This is where the Yanks eavesdropped on military dispatches from Moscow, Warsaw and Prague

After a few aborted attempts to preserve or develop it, it's now just sort of there

It's technically closed to the public, but there are holes in the fence the size of Volkswagens, and dozens of people milling about inside.

All the domes are accessible

The acoustics are incredible. There's no such thing as whispering in these things.

It's been denuded of all of its equipment and Cold War-iphernalia years ago, but the structures are the same as they always were.

If this was America, someone would have twisted an ankle and sued the city by now.

But here, there's evidence of people picnicing and camping

Between 1961 and 1989, this would have been one of the few places you could have see 360 degrees of East Germany from within West Berlin.

And it was only open to American military personnel anyway.

It's funny how a major component of the fun of visiting site is the fact that it's officially forbidden.

If this had been developed as a tourist site, you would be there as a guest, rather than an interloper.

I wonder how many other things I enjoy primarily because they're off-limits

 

Derek's a professional photographer, so he knows what he's doing. That lens!

Here's the Corbusier building that I'm supposed to, like, fall on my knees worshipping because it's so significant and so pomo and the trim and the balconies and the mmmmnnnnnn god it's so amazing

But I'll take the view from the other side any day.

 

Derek has a wide-angle lens!

From on top of the pile of rubble, you can see Potsdam. And a few hills that are supposed to be there.

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