Berlin also has mountains, you might hardly believe it. Besides the most famous mountain, the Teufelsberg, there is the Hahneberg in the district of Spandau.
Actually, there are two Hahnebergs, the Alter Hahneberg and the Neuer Hahneberg, and both are located in the district of Staaken on the state border with Brandenburg.
The elevation of Alter Hahneberg was 67 metres high until Fort Hahneberg was built on the hill in 1888. The fort is one of the last fortifications built in the Prussian manner to protect the Spandau armament centre as part of the Spandau Fortress.
The site was inaccessible to Berliners for many years. Originally, the site belonged to the district of Spandau, but after the Second World War it was transferred to the administration of the Soviet occupation zone in the course of territorial exchange measures. After the Wall was built, the Alte Hahneberg was located in the border area and only the border troops of the GDR were allowed to enter this area.
For many years, the Heerstraße border crossing was located directly below the site, providing easy access to the transit route towards Hamburg.
After reunification, the Old Hahneberg site was reopened for local recreation and the remains of the fort were secured. The remains of the defences, which can be visited today, are fenced off on the hilltop. If you are unable to visit the site, it is best to watch the film Inglourious Basterds by US director Quentin Tarantino. The site served as a backdrop for several scenes.
The Neue Hahneberg
The New Hahneberg is 87.6 metres high and artificially created. It lies about 900 metres southeast of the Old Hahneberg. Between the two “mountains” there was a pond after the Second World War, which has since been filled in.
Even though it is often claimed, the New Hahneberg is not a mountain of rubble like the better-known Teufelsberg in Berlin. The hill was built in the 1960s and 1970s on the site of a filled-in gravel pit. Even after the pit was backfilled, construction waste and excavated material continued to be piled up, creating a rubble dump. After the landfill was closed, there was a mountain about 45 metres high.
It was decided to redesign the site so that it would become a recreational area for the neighbouring residential areas in Staaken.
Viewpoint in Spandau
Today, the area around the Hahneberg is a nature reserve covering a good 40 hectares with a small pool. Rare plants now grow here, such as the sand bell and the sand strawflower, and numerous birds breed in the bushes and trees.
Sheep and goats graze in the meadows, and there are 6 kilometres of hiking trails to explore the area. Sometimes there is also a herd of Galloway cattle on the pastures. A true nature paradise on the edge of the densely populated Staaken residential area.
You can reach the “top of the mountain” via various paths. But “peak” is really an exaggeration. The Hahneberg is flat at its highest point. This is a popular place for flying kites and when we were up there, a paraglider was practising launching. He didn’t fly far, but it was exciting to watch him sorting the glider and trying to take off. If there is snow in the city in winter, the Hahneberg is one of the most popular toboggan runs in the district. Since 1982, the Bruno H. Bürgel Observatory has also been located on the mountain.
From the Hahneberg you have a great view in the direction of Spandau. If you look past the Staaken skyscrapers, you can see the Spandau town hall.
If you look towards Charlottenburg, you can even see the radar and listening station on Teufelsberg.
However, I like the view in the direction of Brandenburg best. There are only a few houses to be seen here and so we could enjoy the yellow shining rape fields.