The Eagles Nest Berchtesgaden, Germany
A former nazi redoubt and today a restaurant and tour location
The famous eagles nest in Berchtesgaden, Germany was a mountain retreat for Hitler where he could entertain prominent Nazis. It was commissioned by Martin Bormann as a 50th Birthday present for the fuehrer on the ridge of the Kehlstein Mountain at an altitude of some 1,834 m. It was and is known as the Kehlsteinhaus. The mountain top lair is straight out of a James Bond movie and it this powerful image and the nearby Berchtesgaden military complex, of alpine lodges and bunkers, that could, in theory, have served as a second seat of government has formed the legend surrounding the Eagle’s Nest.
A stunning panorama
The Eagles Nest Germany tours
Experience Hitlerâs Kehlsteinhaus
Since 1952 it has been possible to take tours of the mountain chalet today. It should be noted that it is inaccessible during the winter months and only open between mid May and October depending on the snow conditions. These tours are informal but organized through an official company; this is because of concerns about Nazi Sympathizers visiting the site.
The tour is worth doing just for the route: You start up a 4 mile long and 13ft wide private road that leads to the restaurant. This road was constructed especially as part of the present to Hitler that cost 130 Reichs Machs or about 170 Million Euros in today’s money. You arrive at an impressive stone gate that Hitler would have driven straight into. You must walk through a long stone tunnel that is lit with the same style of lighting used in the time of the Third Reich.
You then take a 124 m trip in an elevator up through a tunnel bored into the mountain itself. The elevator itself is noteworthy; it is huge and made from polished brass, it has Venetian mirrors and green leather decoration. The construction of the elevator shaft was said to have cost the life of 12 workers. The first stop on the tour is the impressive reception room. This is dominated by a marble fireplace, said to be a gift from Mussolini to the Fuehrer. The state of the room is such that you can imagine that you are one of the first allied soldiers to be there: The graffiti remains and the fireplace is severely chipped by souvenir hunting soldiers.
The view from the foot of the mountain
Start point for tours of the eagles nest
The Eagles Nest Germany Hitler
The Fuehrer's Birthday 50th present
Hitler had an enduring lust for this dramatic part of Bavaria that is surrounded on three sides by Mountains and Austria. He is said to have only visited the Eagle’s Nest about 17 times, while his mistress Eva Braun was a much more regular visitor.
A significant event involving Adolf Hitler’s extended family was the reception of Gretl Braun the sister of his mistress Eva to the young and extremely ambitious SS officer Gruppenfuehrer Hans Fegelein a general in the Waffens SS and one of Himmlers favourites. The event was attended by many high ranking Nazis party officials and was filmed. The film clearly shows Martin Bormann the Nazi party chief and Hitler’s right hand man. In a twist of fate, 2 days before Hitler married Gretl sister and the pair committed suicide, Hitler allegedly ordered the death of Gruppenfuehrer Fegelein.
Hitler at the Eagles Nest
On the left
The Eagle's Nest Hitler continued
Hitler lived in the nearby Berghof literally mountain house for a large part of the Second World War. Despite it’s proximity he did not visit the Eagles nest that often, this, it has been presumed, had something to do with his increasingly poor health and fear of heights. The Kehlsteinhaus was also known as the Diplomatic Reception House and it was indeed used to receive the departing French Ambassador to Germany in 1938.
The famous marble fire place in the reception room
The Eagles Nest Germany map
The Eagles Nest Germany address
The Eagles Nest Nazi Germany
The real myth surrounding the National Socialist's use during the time of the Third Reich comes from the extensive Berchtesgaden military complex. An area of bunkers and buildings that functioned as a Headquarters for many of the important decisions that led up to WW2. The area was closed to the public in 1936, 3 years before the construction of the eagles nest. This was also an area in which many high ranking Nazi officials owned chalets. The Allies destroyed any building that had significance to Hitler or the Nazi party, the Eagles Nest was spared as it was not actually used that much by him.
In the mind of many Allied Commanders at the end of the second world war Hitler’s forces were likely to retreat to a mountain redoubt for a last stand. Indeed if fortified this would have been a fortress, but the sad truth is that in 1945 the Third Reich did not have the resources or the ideological ability to plan such a withdrawal.
The tunnel entrance
The Eagle's Nest restaurant Germany
Today there is a restaurant during the summer months at the Eagles nest. It serves food, snacks and both hot and cold drinks in what used to be the reception room to the famous mountain chalet. Or you can eat outside on the stunning terrace