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“The dig will never end” Otto Schmelzer (1896)

At the end of the nineteenth and first part of the twentieth century, Berlin's underground was an open construction site – as described by Alfred Doeblin in his famous novel “Berlin Alexanderplatz” (1929):

“They tore up the cobblestones at the Rosenthaler Platz. So, between them, he walked on wooden boards. Look, they are building the underground railway.”

Of course this was just one of the many construction sites in the city. Engineers often dug very deep into the earth, wherein the subway system is only a part of Berlin's subterranean architecture. Many other objects are to be found in the sandy underground: cemeteries, air raid shelters, sewers and even an aircraft factory were built under the surface of the city. Many of these structures still exist today.

In the autumn of 1997, a few enthusiasts got together in order to explore this subterranean world. The organization they founded, the “Berlin Underworlds Association”, locates and documents such hidden installations, making some of them accessible to the public. Furthermore, it uses these sites for cultural purposes (such as exhibitions, theatre performances and concerts). The organization has already discovered numerous forgotten subterranean structures – but many other secrets are still to be discovered down there. We invite you to join us for a visit in Berlin's underworld and become part of the effort to continue the dig!

Parts excerpted from the Book 

Dunkle Welten – Bunker, Tunnel und Gewölbe unter Berlin (Dark worlds – Bunker, tunnel and vaults beneath Berlin)

Ed. Ch. Links, Berlin 2004

Status: 21.01.10 Top