Wilhelmstrasse – Offices of the Nazi Reich

17 11 2007

Wilhelmstrasse is a street in the center of Berlin (Mitte), which runs south from Unter den Linden for some 2 km, until its junction with Stresemannstrasse, near Hallesches Ufer. From mid 19th century the street was the administrative center of the Kingdom of Prussia, and during the Nazi period it became the administrative center of the Third Reich.
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Berlin Must Sees: Gendarmenmarkt

13 11 2007

This beautiful square in the middle of the Mitte quarter at the center of Berlin, includes the German Cathedral, the French Cathedral and the Konzerthaus. It was laid out from 1688 according to plans of the architect J.A. Nering, and was originally known as Linden Markt, and then Friedrichstädtischer Markt or Neuer Markt. It became known as Gendarmenmarkt because of the old Gendarme regiment that was housed here from 1736 to 1773.
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Alexanderplatz

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 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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Yitzhak Rabin Strasse

8 09 2007

As we were walking along the 17th June Street towards the Brandenburg Gate, we came across a familiar name on one of the street signs – Yitzhak Rabin, our former prime minister, who was assassinated on November 4th, 1995. I was there, in the demonstration after which he was shot by Yigal Amir, the disgusting fanatical extreme right winged law student, may he burn in hell (if only we Jews believed in hell, that is). It was a great national trauma, and afterwards things have started to go downhill, and never recovered. So I was both glad and sad to see his name there.

Yitzhak Rabin Street. A closer look.

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The Berlin Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

2 09 2007

This monster of a memorial, which was unveiled in May 2005, is located in a very central place, near the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate. It is based on a design by Peter Eisenman, an American architect. The “Field of Stelea” is made of 2,711 concrete blocks of different heights, structured in a grid pattern. It can be entered anywhere, and the blocks are supposed to form different wave-like patterns as you move through it. I didn’t really notice that. Click on the photo to enlarge.

The Memorial after rain.

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Berlin Must-Sees: The Reichstag

30 08 2007

The Reichstag is the seat of the German Bundestag (federal government), near Brandenburg Gate at the west end of the Mitte quarter. It was constructed from 1884-1894 by the architect Paul Wallot. The inscription “Dem Deutschen Volke” was added in 1916, during WW1.

Dem Deutschen Volke.

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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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Café Einstein: an Apple Strudel to die for

24 08 2007

When you’re walking along the Unter Den Linden boulevard, towards or from Brandenburg Gate, you owe yourself a visit at the well established, well known Café Einstein.

Einstein Cafe.

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Berlin must-sees: Around Bebelplatz

20 08 2007

Bebelplatz is surrounded by the State Opera (Staatoper), St. Hedwig’s cathedral and the Alte Bibliothek (the old library), and is located across the road from the Humboldt University.
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