It’s a strange feeling to come into a dark, half-blasted bunker, see parts of stairways and cables hanging out of the wall and walk through rubble in between holes that go several meters down into the ground. It’s eye-opening to crouch down in an air raid bunker and experience how it must have felt when the situation was for real. These are just a couple of examples of the unique experiences offered at Berliner Unterwelten (Subterranean Berlin).
Berliner Unterwelten was founded in 1997 to explore, document and preserve the city’s subterranean architecture. The organization’s base is in a former air raid bunker in the Gesundbrunnen subway station, now a museum—the Unterwelten Museum (Subterranean Museum)—that offers various tours through Berlin’s underground. The bunker was cleared and reconstructed by the group and transformed into a museum while maintaining its original character. Hiding on four floors below Berlin are dozens of bunkers, tunnels, walkways, canals, the route of a pneumatic postal system, storage rooms, bomb and ammunition storage, and abandoned subway stations.