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: Neue Wache memorial

22 08 2007

The Neue Wache (on Unter den Linden 4) is the first building Karl Friedrich Schinkel built in Berlin, and is considered one of the main works of German Classicism.

Neue Wache Front.

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Berlin must-sees: Bebelplatz

18 08 2007

Bebelplatz (Bebel square) on Unter den Linden was designed by Frederick the Great, who became ruler of Germany in 1740, and was a great patron of the arts. It was first known as “Frederick’s Forum”, and later as “Opernplatz” (Opera square). In 1947 it was named Bebelplatz, after August Bebel, a leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in the 19th century.

On May 10th, 1933, Bebelplatz was the site of the notorious Nazi book burning event, organized by the minister for propaganda and public enlightenment, Joseph Goebbels. More than 20,000 books written by Jews, Communists and others, including Marx, Freud, the Manns, Kästner and Heine, were burned there in a large pyre.

Since 1995, this event has been commemorated by a monument designed by the Israeli artist Micha Ulmann. The monument is a plastic transparent window set into the ground, through which you can see an empty library. It’s very easy to miss in this pretty large square, so look carefully.

Bebel Platz book burning monument.

Next to the monument there’s a plaque, bearing the words of the poet Heinrich Heine, from his tragedy “Almansor”, written in 1820 – more than 100 years before the book burning event: “where books are burned, in the end people will burn” (“Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen”).

On September 9, 2006, an organization called “Dropping Knowledge”, which aims to encourage social change through dialogue, held an event named “The Table of Free Voices” in Bebelplatz, a very appropriate location for that, if you ask me. You can read all about it, and much more, in their website.

Berlin must-sees: Unter Den Linden

16 08 2007

Unter den Linden Boulevard stretches from Brandenburg Gate to Schlossbrücke (palace bridge), at the heart of Berlin’s Mitte quarter. It exists since 1573, but rose to importance under Friedrich the Great. The linden trees (lime) were cut down by Hitler’s order (he had very different plans for that place). The buildings were pretty much destroyed in WW2. Some were reconstructed, others built anew. The trees were of course planted again.

Unter den Linden.

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