The complex was developed from what before the First World War was a train tunnel, and then in the Second was used by the Nazis to assemble V-2 rockets.
When the Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the edge of nuclear catastrophe in 1962, Germany's leaders decided to take precautions against the world not being so lucky next time. So they secretly granted themselves pounds 1bn to make a bolthole where they could while away the long hours until the Earth became habitable again.
Now, with fears of nuclear attack sinking back into the Cold War shadows of the dying century, and Nato no longer so anxious about losing Germany to the East, the vast 1,000-bedroom shaft is up for sale.
There have been 100 inquiries, and 16 offers so far - one prospective buyer wants to grow mushrooms in the complex, another thinks it would make a good wine cellar, and yet another wants to make it a very long luxury hotel that is also a monument to the Cold War
There would have to be a few improvements on current facilities. There were no apparent recreation facilities for former Chancellor Helmut Kohl and his 3,000 or so underlings - just a reading room with a poster of a Caribbean sunset. Even the Chancellor's room itself resembled a monk's cell, with a tiny bed that could hardly have accommodated his 300lb frame - unless it was anticipated that he would not be eating many of his favourite cream cakes during his stay.Reuse content