Saturday, 24 October 2009

Northern Flakturm

One if the amazing things about Berlin is how many layers of history the place has. In terms of second world war history, there is obviously a lot of sites set around central Berlin. However, during the war, there were a series of 3 enormous above ground bunkers known as the 'flak-turm (flak towers) that were used for putting flak into the air over Berlin to stop enemy planes.

They were also used for housing civilians as a place of refuge, and each held up to 30,000 people at the end of the war. They were so solid and inpenetrable that the Russians drove around it, and the people inside surrendered 3 days after the rest of Berlin.

It is possible to see metre deep shell craters in the exterior - an amazingly strong structure!
This flakturm, near Gesundbrunnen train station in the North of Berlin, has since been partly demolished (they blew up half of it, and this has now been made into a hill and a park), but it is still possible to get a view from the top of how imposing a 30+ metre high structure like this would have been!

Peter, Alan and I rode our bikes to (and up) the Flakturm, and had a good look around. The weather was brilliant for late spring, and the memorial statue on top looked great against the blue sky.

Nice high fences are required on top, as the remaining half is still impressively tall. Here are Alan and Peter checking out the surrounding areas, and imagining what it would have been like during the war.

Here is one of the views from the top - this one is looking west/south west. In the foreground (L) is my office, on the hill in the background is the US 'facility' at Teufelsberg (where we go sledding and kite flying). Our home is between Teufelsberg and the three chimneys that you can see.
It was a pleasant ride, good company and very interesting to see some more of the history in Berlin that seems to be under your nose, and around every corner.

This is another view with the Reichstag dome visible in the centre, and Potsdamerplatz behind.

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