Shopping in Berlin: Ku'damm

5 11 2007

Ku’damm is the nickname given to the Kurfürstendamm, the long boulevard sometimes considered as Berlin’s “Champs-Elysées” or “5th Avenue”. The boulevard stretches for 3.5 km, from the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, through the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf borough to Halensee.

The boulevard takes its name from the former Electors (Kurfüsten) of the Roman Empire. During the separation of the city to East and West, it became the main commercial street in West Berlin.

A street fire show near ruined church, The long night of Shopping

The upper part of Ku’damm and its extention, Tauentzienstrasse, contains most of the department stores, fashion chains (including the Israeli chain Castro, which – you should know – sold furs and have some problems with workers’ rights in Israel), a giant Saturn mall and the very famous KaDeWe, which will get its own entry. The designer stores reside in the lower part of the boulevard. There are also numerous restaurants, hotels, theaters, museums and residential areas there.

The boulevard was laid out between 1883 and 1886, at the suggestion of Otto von Bismarck. In the 1920s, it became a meeting point of Berlin’s intellectuals, exploding with theaters, cafes and night venues.

The boulevard was badly hit in WW2, and cleared and redeveloped in the 1950s. Some buildings in the area survived the war, among them are the “wintergarten ensemble” on Fasanenstrasse, which contains today the Literature House, and also the Käthe Kollwitz museum and Villa Grisebach, which was built in the 1890s.

On Tauentzienstrasse you can also find the famous sculpture “Berlin“, made by the artists Brigitte und Martin Matschinsky-Denninghoff, and put there in 1987, to mark the city’s 750th anniversary.

Sculpture Berlin

And of course there’s an official Ku’damm website, right here.


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