Photo: Bethany Jana
The Pyronale is an annual international firework championship held annually on the Maifeld at Olympiastadion in Berlin. This year, I had the chance to view from the top of a “mountain” in Berlin, the Drachenberg. The Drachenberg, whose name means “dragon mountain,” is located in the Grünewald, a massive park in the western part of Berlin. The hill next to it is called Teufelsberg, or Devil’s Mountain. An abandonded American signals intelligence station sits atop it, further adding to its intrigue.
From the top, Berlin is laid out before you. Despite only being 99 meters tall, Drachenberg provides an unparalled view to the expanse that is Berlin. On a clear day, the whole skyline is visible, while Spandau is visible from the Northwest side of the hill.
At night, the soft lighting of the Funkturm shines in front of the lights of Alexanderplatz, the Fernsehturm, and Potsdamer Platz. The sky on a clear night is filled with stars. The night I was there though, the sky was filled with fire.
When I arrived, the hill was already packed with people waiting for the fireworks show to begin. It took almost 20 minutes to find my friends who had already arrived. Once we found them, we sat down on the far side of the hill to watch the show. It began with a flurry of small, bright fireworks, and then mounted into a 20 minute crescendo of light. After a short pause, the next team’s show began on a more subdued note. It emphasized waterfall style fireworks, painting Pollock’s in the sky.
The final show was a cacophony. Fireworks of all kind were used simultaneously, their booms echoing over the city. As the last finale came to a close, the hill began to applaud. The fire and smoke was gone. The stars shown once more over the city. After a short pause, the mass of humanity decamped, off to a new adventure, for this chapter had come to a close.
Drachenberg is a large flat-top hill. It takes about 15 minutes to walk up to the top of it from the nearest S-Bahn station, S-Heerstraße. S-Heerstraße can be reached using the S5, S75, Bus 218, M49, X34, and X49. To get to Drachenberg from the station, you need to take Teufelsseestraße Southwest. It will turn into Teufelsseechaussee. From there, a footpath will fork off to the right, and that will take you up the hill.
Pyronale 2017 will take place on September 1st and 2nd.