On the Obersalzberg in Bavaria, Germany, are two tea houses. Both are specially made for Adolf Hitler, for relaxation and to impress visitors of the engineering power in the Nazi empire and the beauty of the Bavarian Mountains.
The more remarkable of the two is the tea house on top of the Obersalzberg, the Kehlsteinhouse. The building is named after the peak of the mountain, Kehlstein.
On a height of 1834 meters, the tea house, better known as the Eagle’s Nest soars above the Obersalzberg.
Martin Bormann gave the order to build a tea house on top of the mountain.
Money was of no consequence, techniques were available, and labourers in abundance. In 1936 the plan was to create a walkway around the Kehlstein mountain peak. Plans changed drastically and a tea house was the endgame.
It was a dangerous location to build, most of the labourers came from Austria. They had build up experience creating the Grossglockner Street, a street through the Austrian mountains.
The labourers worked day and night shifts to create tunnels, roads and everything that was necessary to get the materials up the Kehlstein. In the winter they had to plough through meters of snow, which of course resulted in hazzard of avalanches. In 1937 one avalanche took 5 lives. Without any means of communication the 3500 labourers got lonely on top of the mountain. A secret brothel, with French and Italian prostitutes, had to give some distraction for the workforce.
|View on the Kehlsteinhaus – Eagle’s Nest and the Albert Speer Residence on the right side, centre height|
Dr. Fritz Todt, Organisation Todt’s founder, showed the Austrian construction leader Hans Haupner how to preserve nature on the mountainside while building the teahouse. A beautiful elevator was installed inside the mountain. The tunnel towards it is 3 meters high and 130 meters long, sealed with brass doors. The wall tiles are Italian, the tunnel leads to a dome like chamber with the elevator. Again brass doors, this time on the elevator, air conditioning and heating installed complete with a music set and green leather benches.
The elevator takes you 120 meter higher to the Kehlsteinhaus and brings you to the lounge of the tea house.
In the summer of 1938 the tea house was finished and was presented to Adolf Hitler on his 50th Birthday as a gift from the Nazi party, the NSDAP. The Eagle’s Nest was build for 30 million Reichsmark.
Martin Bormann’s goal was to impress diplomats from over the world, they had to witness what German engineers could accomplish. That’s why the original name of the tea house was the “D” house, referring to “Diplomats”.
“Tea house” was the name given by the German people, and the “Eagle’s Nest” was given by Americans. The latter was full of National Socialist intentions and adopted by the Germans.
Adolf Hitler, unfortunately, has fear of heights, and therefore visited the Eagle’s Nest only a few times.
Easy Company, 2nd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, the “Screaming Eagles” under command of Dick Winters, also known from the book and tv series “Band of Brothers” were assigned for occupation duty in Berchtesgaden and the Eagle’s Nest before they moved into Austria. 7 years after completion the Eagles finally landed in the Nest.
In 2012 Landmark Scout landed on the Obersalzberg. After the initial demolition in the 1950 there were still lots of foundations and reminders to be seen on the mountain. After 2005 / 2006 the last important reminders were taken care of.
This is why there is nothing left of the tea house on the Mooslahnerkopf, only the plateau is still there.
The Eagle’s Nest is still there though, and it is open for visits, if you come in the right season that is.
We visited in April and it, unfortunately, is closed this early in the spring.
If open you can visit the Kehlsteinhouse, by bus, of take a walk to it. The elevator is still in use, and the fireplace is still original. It is still a restaurant.
Check out the internet if you want to visit the Eagle’s Nest.
In December 2015 we visited again, it was closed off course for we went out of season. Upon descending the mountain we met Ruben and Nathan, great American travelling company. Be careful if you hike upon the Obersalzberg in the winter, the roads are covered in snow with a layer of ice underneath. It is a mountain trail and on the bigger part unfenced. The stairs near the Eagle’s Nest are covered with ice. Start you trip prepared.
If you like to read more from our trip to the Obersalzberg you can follow these links: