A bunker in clubland

World War II bunker in RAW, Friedrichshain, Berlin

With its clubs, bars and weekly street food market, Friedrichhain's gloriously graffitti-ed RAW Tempel provides the perfect opportunity to soak up a gritty Berlin vibe in one, handy location.

RAW - urban art playground, Berlin

But there's something else to look out for in this sprawling urban playground: a war-time bunker, which, despite its enormous size, is nevertheless easy to miss.

For a start, the concrete monolith blends rather seamlessly with the surrounding remains of a ruined railway repair works - the Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk from which RAW actually derives its name.

Berlin war bunker
Unusual war bunker in Friedrichshain, Berlin

What's more, it doesn't quite look like a bunker, especially since it's now used as Berlin's tallest outdoor climbing facility.

But this sky-high structure is Berlin's only surving example of a so-called Winkelturm.

Named after its inventor, Leo Winkel, the oddly-shaped towers were produced as a cheaper alternative to underground shelters. The conical form was designed to deflect bombs; with luck, they'd simply slide off the roof before detonating. A periscope at the top allowed those inside to survey the outside world and decide when it was safe to emerge.

Berlin's war-time relics continue to fascinate visitors, and there's no doubting, either, the appeal of its urban art and clubbing scenes.

At RAW Tempel it's all on offer - you just need to know that it's there.

See also:
An urban art diary
Graffiti, a river and ruins
A quirky Friedrichshain store

RAW Tempel: Revaler Stra├če 99, 10245 Berlin

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