This extensive exhibition opened as a result of the Palace of the Republic’s demolition and will only remain here until the Humboldt Forum has been constructed over the grounds where the palace once stood.
This is where the city of Berlin was first formed following the union of old Berlin and the town of Cölln. Substantial changes have been occurring here for centuries, but let's start with what you don’t see:
The Berlin Palace and its predecessors are no longer visible. The City Palace of the Hohenzollern was the residence of margraves, electors, kings and emperors. It then became the home of the Museum of Decorative Arts, diverse institutions and private tenants. It was nearly completely destroyed by fire in 1945 but retained its fundamental structure. Exhibitions were held in the usable spaces after the war. The demolition took place in 1950 for ideological reasons.
Also no longer to be seen is the Palace of the Republic, which once stood on the eastern part of the area. From 1976 to 1990 it was Congress Centre, Palace of Culture and seat of the GDR’s People’s Chamber. It was equipped with advanced technology and – asbestos. The demolition of the “Palast” took place between 2006 and 2009.
Still under construction is the “castle in the sky”, called the Humboldt Forum, a … let’s say … new, historical construction: Location, cubature, three streets and three courtyard facades of the Berlin baroque palace are to be faithfully restored, while the other facades are, in contrast, expected to be simple and modern. Its use will focus on “art and culture”. The development will see important links to the city’s past being restored and a large cavity in the middle of Berlin being filled in.
Since 2009 – typical for Berlin – the open space has been used, in the interim, as a “Temporary Art Hall” with the “Humboldt Box” – an information and exhibition center – added in 2011. The grass area marks out the floor plan of the future palace, archaeologists work to reveal the layers of time beneath a tent, and wooden platforms lead visitors around the area.
For the time being, one can take in the sights of the Berlin Cathedral, the DomAquarée, the Marienkirche, Park Inn, the TV Tower, Rotes Rathhaus, Nikolaiviertel, Nikolaikirche and the Kurfürstenhaus along with the Neuer Marstall. The river Spree flows between the lightly sloping lawns and the green area of the Marx-Engels-Forum. Cherry trees dance on the banks of the Spree in front of the Rotes Rathaus.
After World War II, the area that had been severely damaged up to Alexanderplatz went through radical change. This is clearly visible in the aroshi motif: The old buildings are rich in detail.
Frederick II, Johann Boumann the Elder, Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, Friedrich August Stüler – the ideas of these men in regards to a suitable place of worship all had one thing in common: They are no longer visible, as the two predecessors of the Berlin Cathedral were demolished. Wilhelm II and Julius Carl Raschdorff were primarily responsible for the current appearance of the Protestant Cathedral commenced in 1894 and completed in 1905. Then, as now, there was an issue involving a slight construction delay – 11 instead of 5 years ...
The building is not quite in keeping with a particular style but instead blends Italian High Renaissance with Italian Baroque. The domes destroyed during WWII were restored to meet more simplified GDR tastes. The cross was designed anew, the main dome was rebuilt in a simplified manner, the four small domes were constructed 16 meters lower and the roof lanterns omitted entirely. The redeveloped version of the rust-eaten, socialist variant of the domed cross was returned to the dome “top” in 2008.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, notions changed as to what reasonable development meant for the neighborhood at the corner of the Spree and the Karl-Liebknecht Straße. This resulted in places like the three-winged Palace Hotel – home to Western and Stasi guests – being demolished, while the DomAquarée was reconstructed, and, in so doing, revived the historical layout of the streets and the block. The riverside location inspired the interior. The world's largest round aquarium is spectacular and can be passed through within the confines of an all-glass panoramic elevator.
An extended bridge suitable for vehicles along with a new street extended the Unter den Linden boulevard to Alexanderplatz at the end of the 19th Century. The redesign of the site at the end of the 60s led to the street being widened at this location and renamed the Karl-Liebknecht Straße.
Prior to World War II, the Marienviertel was used for various purposes and densely built up. Only the St. Marienkirche stands here today – the oldest church in the city still offering services. Construction work on the Hallenkirche began at the end of the 13th Century in the style of Brandenburg Gothic brickwork. Over time, various modernizations and repairs added baroque and neo-Gothic elements that are still visible today. The tower’s copper headpiece was designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans – the architect of the Brandenburg Gate. Valuable works of art such as the late gothic danse macabre mural and alabaster pulpit by Andreas Schlüter can be found inside the church. Guest preachers have traditionally delivered sermons in the church including two with quite similar names – Martin Luther and Martin Luther King. The first Martin stands in bronze next to the church, while the second Martin can be found in the guestbook – of hospice the next to Bahnhof Friedrichstraße (today “Hotel Albrechtshof”) which he visited beyond the spontaneous sermon.
At 125 meters, the former Interhotel Stadt Berlin (now Park Inn) still lists as the tallest building in Berlin and is the tallest hotel building in Germany. Interhotels were reserved for guests from "non-socialist economic areas" from 1965 until the end of the GDR. The home country of those who now stay here, in the rooms on the picutre more sensed than actually seen, is no longer an important factor in getting a room.
Walter Ulbricht gave his “YES” to the design of the TV tower in 1964. Construction began in the same year. On the 3rd of October 1969, the TV tower was put into operation and opened on the 7th of October. Real socialist planning time!
What everyone knew back then was that the 7th of October was “Republic Day” – the anniversary of the GDR’s founding. What nobody knew at that time, however, was that the 3rd of October would become the “Day of German Unity”.
What is still unknown even today is the identity of the tower’s real architect. Hermann Henselmann is registered as the architect in the Berlin monument list. He had proposed a tower with a ball for the city center years earlier. This idea was well suited to the intended appearance of the new square. Gerhard Kosel led the project from 1964 to 1965, reworked the proportions of the tower within this function and claimed the right to be known as creator for himself. Architects Fritz Dieter, Günter Franke and Werner Ahrend from the Berlin VEB Industrieprojektierung were responsible for the planning and first created the tower ball’s striking exterior, and were named by the GDR as the architects responsible for the design. The memorial database has a footnote on the topic: “The dispute, which has occupied professional organizations and courts, cannot be decided at this point.”
Well ... let's stick to hard facts:
- The Berlin TV Tower is 368 meters high and is the tallest structure in Germany.
- The “Tele Café” turns 2 times per hour on its own axis.
- The ball oscillates due to the tuned mass damper maximum of 15 cm.
- The view at over 200 meters up is gran-di-ose!
It cannot be stressed enough – the Rote Rathaus (Red Town Hall) does not owe its name to any political orientation but to its red brickwork.
A horizontal orientation of the main building is created by the arched windows of differing heights but all aligned in a strict sequence. The high tower’s perforated edges draw their inspiration from the Cathedral of Laon. Columns, windows, cornices, etc. combine to make it appear slimmer. To give an idea of size: the diameter of a time hand of the clock tower is 4.75m.
The many details and decorative elements are easily visible on the facades when viewed from up close. The “Stone chronicles” above the first floor, for example, portray on 36 terracotta plaques the stories associated with the city of Berlin from the 12th to 19th Century.
The architect managed something very, very rare by the way: Construction costs were almost 5% below budget!
In 1870, the council met for the first time in the new town hall. The building was quickly bursting at the seams and, as of 1911, the Berlin administration was also operating out of the Altes Stadthaus. - More information about this can be found under the "TFKM" aroshi
The East German Government considered the building that had been severely damaged during World War II to be one of the few in the area worthy of preservation. Therefore, it was reconstructed with great effort to its original external condition and completely redesigned from the inside. Since 1979, the Town Hall has been a listed building. Here, the East Berlin Magistrate held session while the West Berlin Senate moved to the Schöneberg city hall. From 1991, the Rotes Rathaus was the headquarters of the governing mayor of the reunited city.
The Nikolaiviertel is the oldest residential area of Berlin. Virtually no building has survived to this day. In 1937, as the official state ideology still envisioned a “Germania World Capital”, particularly ramshackle buildings were to be torn down and demolished, although here, the valuable facades were considered worth keeping. Heavy shelling destroyed those plans, and the few buildings left standing after the war were nearly completely demolished. The area lay bare for many years, but was fortunately restored for the 750-year celebration and not as a harbor for pleasure boats. And how! A unique urban collage was created with cobbled streets, parts of preserved houses, replicas of historic buildings, new prefabricated buildings and street furniture “à la histoire”.
The Nikolai Church peeks out over the roofs of the neighboring houses. Berlin's first and oldest church building was desecrated in 1938 due to the Germania concept and later damaged in the war. It rose from the ruins and turned towards the future: During the 80s, new life was breathed into the church via extensive reconstruction and, since 2010, the museum and organ concerts have been attracting visitors.
Elector Johann Sigismund fled from a supposedly ghostly “White Lady” out of his palace into a house on the river Spree. This medieval building gave way to a number of department stores at the end the 19 Century. The new, much grander house retained the name “Kurfürstenhaus” (Elector House).
Soon the town hall bridge is to span the river Spree using a modern steel construction. Berlin’s second oldest Spree crossing, which was also once called the “Long Bridge”, and, up to 1951, the “Elector Bridge”, will be usable again after many maaaany months.
The Neuer Marstall was built over a number of houses and also a part of the Alter Marstall (Old Stable). Carriages, sleighs and more than 300 horses – the fleet of Wilhelm II – were kept in the “Hochgarage” (high garage). The enormous pilaster that articulates the sandstone facade of the main building structure was modeled on the Baroque forms of the then (and soon to be again) City Palace standing opposite.
The People's Marine Division was stationed here during the November Revolution of 1918, after which the Berlin City Library used the stables. The massive destruction suffered during the war was followed by reconstruction that did not include the decorative facade elements. Offices and showrooms of the Academy of Arts were housed in the Palace of the Republic during GDR times. After the fall of the wall and various other temporary uses, a complete reconstruction took place that saw the restoration of the facades, an expansion of the total area through intermediate floors and unadorned interior in contrast to the neo-baroque exterior. The focus of the redesign was on sophisticated acoustics, since the state “Academy of Music Hanns Eisler Berlin” relocated here in 2005.
After a change of scene? Then why not take a boat trip on the Spree: You can take a counterclockwise trip on one of the cruises past the Bode Museum – illustrated in aroshi
. By heading upstream, you’ll reach the Oberbaumbrücke portrayed in aroshi
Bingggggg ... Ladies and gentlemen, we thank all those who have read this text till the end and wish you a pleasant onward journey!
How to get there::
RE 1, RE 2, RE 7, RE 14 to Friedrichstrasse or Alexanderplatz.
Or RB 66 to Friedrichstrasse or Alexanderplatz.
Or S 1, S 2, S 25 to Friedrichstraße.
Or S 3, S 5, S 7, S 75 to Hackescher Markt or Alexanderplatz.
Or U 2 to Hausvogteiplatz.
Or U 5 to Alexanderplatz.
Or U 6 to Friedrichstraße and Französische Straße.
Or U 8 to Alexanderplatz.
Or Tram M 1, M 12 to Am Kupfergraben.
Or Tram M 4, M 5, M 6 to Hackescher Markt.
Or Buses 100, 200 to Am Lustgarten.
Or Bus 147 to Friedrichstrasse.
Or Bus TXL to Staatsoper or Spandauer Strasse / Marienkirche.