Long before the National Security Agency drew outrage in Germany over revelations of mass surveillance, residents of West Berlin went about their days knowing that the agency and other American military services had their antennas tuned in to many of the conversations carried out in the city and for miles beyond, the New York Times reports.
But in the black-and-white geopolitics of the Cold War, there were few doubts that spying on the Warsaw Pact powers from Field Station Berlin - deep within East German territory - was necessary to keep West Berlin free and safe.
Now, more than two decades after the United States pulled up its final cables from the site, the ruins of the complex still hold a mystical attraction for history buffs, artists and tourists.
Teufelsberg, or Devil's Mountain, includes an abandoned Cold War NSA listening post in Berlin that has evolved into a de facto art installation. Everyone who worked there simply called it 'the hill,' and there's still something a little otherworldly about it.
It's an artificial mountain built of the rubble from WWII in Berlin. For 22 years, up to 100 trucks came out every working day and dumped the rubble. Then, a listening station was built on top of the hill.
The gleaming white domes were once crammed with some of the most sophisticated surveillance
equipment in the world.
Now, it's a place where history, decay and art mingle to create one of Berlin's most unique places.