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Bunker Tours with Berliner Unterwelten e.V.

Berlin is a fairly flat city built on sand and marshes - so unlike many cities of its age, it doesn't have much in the way of ancient tunnels, catacombs and the like. However, it does have its fair share of subterranean secrets, many of which date from the Nazi era and the Second World War: among them air raid shelters and other types of bunker, many of which have lain dormant and forgotten beneath Berlin's streets until fairly recently.

Thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers making up the Berliner Unterwelten e.V. (Berlin Underworlds Association) however, most of Berlin's underground secrets have been thoroughly investigated, and the Association offers regular guided tours into some of the more interesting locations. These can be booked at short notice, and some of the tours are available in English and other foreign languages.

Currently four standard guided tours are available:

  1. Dark Worlds: a tour through a former public air raid shelter which was constructed in the space above the U-Bahn station at Gesundbrunnen Station; part of the bunker-like shelter complex contains exhibits of historical items the Association has retrieved from various locations beneath Berlin. See the Association's website here for further details.
  2. From the Flak Towers to the Mounts of Debris: Half-buried beneath a mound of rubble in the Humboldhain park, the Humbolthain flak tower tour provides an adventurous insight into the interior of this massive, partially-collapsed structure. Not suitable for young children (minimum age 14!) or anyone suffering from claustrophobia or fear of heights (at one point in the tour you can stand on a steel grid looking down into the inaccessible floors below. Note: tours are only available from April to October, as the tower is inhabited by bats who hibernate during the winter months.
  3. Subways, Bunkers and the Cold War: Underground construction didn't stop after the war: a new generation of bunkers was constructed to provide shelter (to a tiny minority of citizens) from nuclear attack. On this tour you'll visit a nuclear blast-proof below Blochplatz. then the nearby bunker integrated with Pankstraße U-Bahn station.
  4. Berlin’s Pneumatic Dispatch System: In the days of yore, when communications were based mainly on paper, Berlin had an network of pneumatic tubes for transporting letters and telegrams around the city, the Rohrpost (tube post). While these tubes have largely been removed, the Central Telegraph Office on the Oranienburger Straße still has some remnants of the control and delivery apparatus - which this tour will guide you through.
The Penguin has been on tours 1 and 2 and recommends them to anyone who's interested in underground structures, German / Berlin history, or who just likes poking about in places you can't normally get to. The guides are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

The Association's website carries up-to-date information on the guided tours available - check here for details before planning or arranging a trip. For all tours you'll need sensible footwear, and a warm item of clothing is also not a bad idea even during the summer, because it gets somewhat chilly below ground. Safety helmets are provided.