6 10 2007

Tiergarten (translation: “animal garden”) is Berlin’s Central Park (although somewhat smaller than New York’s). It is located in the heart of the city, and is a popular outdoor oasis for Berliners and tourists.

An oasis in the middle of the city.

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Berlin Must-sees: Nikolaiviertel (Nikolai Quarter)

4 10 2007

Nikolaiviertel is a small district in the historic center, part of Mitte, near Alexanderplatz. The district, which borders the Spree River, contained some of the oldest buildings in Berlin before it was destroyed in WW2. Its reconstruction began only on 1979, as a part of the preparations for the city’s 750th anniversary, and took 8 years.

Nikolaiviertel from above.

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Berlin Town Hall (Rotes Rathaus)

2 10 2007

Berlin Town Hall, known as Rotes Rathaus (the red Town Hall, because, well, of its color), was constructed from 1861–69, according to plans by Hermann Friedrich Waesemann. In 1879, the exterior was decorated with the “Stony Chronicle” on the first floor (36 plates, each 6m in length), showing scenes from the history of Berlin.

Berlin Town Hall (Rotes Rathaus).

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The TV Tower (Fernsehturm) on Alexanderplatz

26 09 2007

The TV Tower (Fernsehturm) on Alexanderplatz is, as mentioned before, enormous. It can be seen from virtually everywhere in Berlin, and actually, it’s a very good navigation mark. It was built in 1969, and is 365 meters high (so every schoolboy could remember its height, you see…). Apart from fulfilling the former GDR’s technical need for a separate broadcasting system, it became an architectural and political symbol.

The TV Tower on Alexanderplatz.

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24 09 2007

Alexanderplatz (Alexander square) was once called Ochsenmarkt (ox market), but was named Alexanderplatz after a visit by the Russian Tsar Alexander in the beginning of the 19th century. Most of the buildings on the square were destroyed in WW2, and being in the center of East Berlin, the place was used as a showcase of Communist architecture. That means plain bulky buildings, and an enormous Television tower.

Part of Alexanderplatz from above.

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Berlin Hauptbahnhof

22 09 2007

The Berlin Hauptbahnhof (central train station) was opened in May 2006, just five years behind schedule. It is located north of the Reichstag, just about in the middle of nowhere.

Berlin Hauptbahnhof.

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Berlin Must-Sees: Potsdamer Platz

18 09 2007

Before WW2, Potsdamer Platz was a very busy square, a central transportation hub, with numerous bars, cafés and cinemas. The place was badly damaged in the war, and after the war, it became a junction of the American, British and Soviet sectors, and was cut through by the Berlin Wall. So it became a no man’s land in the middle of the city.

After the Wall came done, the area around Potsdamer Platz became the biggest construction site in Europe. Between the years 1993 and 1998, a completely new quarter was built there, very modern, with high rise buildings and a lot of metallic décor. The square, together with several adjacent blocks, were redeveloped under the supervision of the architects Wilmer and Sattler.

Potsdamer Platz.

The DaimlerChrysler complex.

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The Berlin Wall

12 09 2007

The Berlin Wall (Berliner Mauer) was a separation barrier between East and West Germany, which divided Berlin for 28 years.

The Wall’s construction begun on August 13 1961 (funny, exactly 10 years before I was born) by the East German communist regime, as an “Anti-Fascist Protective Rampart”, and became an iconic symbol of the cold war.

There was an explicit shoot-to-kill order for attempting to escape to the West by going over the Wall, and some 125 people overall were killed trying.
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Strasse des 17. Juni (17th June Street)

6 09 2007

The 17th June Street is the western continuation of Unter den Linden, which runs east-west through Tiergarten. At its eastern end is the Brandenburg Gate, and at the western end is Ernst Reuter Platz in Charlottenburg.

17 Juni Strasse.

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Berlin Must-Sees: Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)

28 08 2007

The Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) was the former court cathedral of Prussia’s royal family (the House of Hohenzollern), and was supposed to be the Protestant answer to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The Cathedral was build according to plans by the architects Julius Carl Raschdorff and Otto Raschdorff, between 1893 and 1905, and of course reconstructed after WW2 (from 1975 to 1993).
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