Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Going Underground

History buffs beware – it is easy to become overwhelmed in Berlin.
Museums showcasing ancient Berlin, remnants of WWI, see the rise of the Nazis, WW2, persecution of the Jews, the Berlin Wall, life with the Berlin Wall, the Cold War, and Berlin following reunification.

Need to to sit in a cold dark room for a while?
Excellent idea – go underground!

Think you know Berlin? Go underground!

After hours of walking in the surprising hot sunshine of Berlin in April, and taking a whirlwind tour of the city and it's outstanding history. We took a tour of Berlin underground and it was the highlight of the trip (I speak only for myself!)

The underground system was started in the 1920s, extended and upgraded by the Nazis for meetings and organising invasions and torture, an excellent bomb shelter during WWII and set up as a precautionary shelter from an impending nuclear attack expected by the city during the Cold War.

Dark passageways, lit only by glow in the dark lines and signs create a gloomy, dark and secretive city under the modern spacious and bright Berlin we know.

Some subway stations throughout Berlin hold the doors to bunkers.
(c) fifiheavey

Every day, hundreds of people walk past a green door in the Gesundbrunnen Underground railway station unaware that within lies a subterranean labyrinth full of authentic history waiting to be experienced.”
We learned that behind these doors in subway station stood the only chance many had if World War Three had in fact broken out between America and Soviet Union.

The cold war is not a part of history I would be most familiar with it, I know the basics and very little details. The main point to remember – nothing really ever happened (that WE know of) but there was a hell of a lot of preparation and anxiety surrounding the first or next move of the two nations. And these two nations had control over sections of Berlin.

Behind the doors of Pankstrasse subway station is a modern bunker for over 3,000 Berliners
(c) fifiheavey

In our underground tour: Subways,Bunkers and Cold War we learned about the preparations for a nuclear attack, the access to bunkers, the numbers allowed, the machines to filter air and water, the control measures, the psychology behind the schemes and in the conclusion of the tour the realisation that all the work probably wouldn't have prevented millions of deaths. The bunkers were nothing more that a calming solution to the hysteria.

A place to lay your head - with 3,000 others underground
(c) fifiheavey
I don't care if you hate history, museums or war. You will love this.
Unconventional and still shrouded in mystery, don't think you know anything about Berlin until you step underground.


  1. Have they kept the bunkers and beds intact purely for historical interest or is there some suggestion that they are there should they need to use them in the future...sorry I can be a history nerd at times

  2. The picture of the beds comes from a modern bunker purpose built in the 1970s. It was never used, still plastic on everything, I think it is kept like that for exhibition reasons - but it handy to have it ready for use if the need arises!