Published on March 7, 2014
INBERLIN A budget traveller’s Guide
INTRODUCTION A brief summary of the guide. HISTORY A whistlestop tour of Berlin’s history in ten key dates. 4-5 6-9 SURVIVAL GUIDE All the information you need to explore Berlin from where to stay to how to flirt in German. FEATURES Berliner Dom Potsdamer platz Auguststraße Gendarmenmarkt Pergamonmuseum Neues Museum Peacock Island Berlin Olympic Stadium 10-16 18 26 44 54 66 72 116 122 CONTRIBUTORS 142 - 145 ONLY INBERLIN The Buddhist House Book burning memorial Neue Wache Victory Column Alexanderplatz Checkpoint Charlie Saint Hedwigs Cathedral Brandenburg Gate Charlottenburg Palace Nikolaiviertel Sanssouci Gardens Reichstag Unter Der Linden Rotes Rathaus ART & CULTURE 20 21 22 23 24 25 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 38 39 40 41 42 43 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 56 57 58 59 Concerts at the Bode-Museum East Side Gallery Hamburger Bahnhof Boros Collection Scharf-Gerstenburg Collection KW Institute for Contemporary Art Gay Museum Museum of Film and Television Bauhaus Archive Old National Gallery Hauptstadt Zoo Gemäldergalerie Singuhr Sound Gallery Museum Berggruen Aquarium Berlin Berlin Concert Hall Monster Cabinet Boros Collection
CONTENT MUSEUMS CAFES & Jewish Museum 62 Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt 63 RESTAURANTS Topography of Terror GDR Museum Memorial to the Murdered Jews STASI. Exhibition German History Museum Ramones Museum Museum of Musical Instruments Milestones-Setbacks-Sidetracks Altes Museum Helmut Newton Foundation 64 65 68 69 70 71 74 75 76 77 BARS & NIGHTLIFE Katerholzig Berghain Mein Haus Am See Club der Visionäre Beirbar Dr Pong B Flat Weinerei Forum Suicide Circus 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 Les Galeries Lafayette Sing Blackbird Do You Read Me?! Saint George’s English Bookstore KaDeWe Stiefelkombinat Made In Berlin Turkish Market Dussman 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap Fassbender & Rausch Rocco Burgermeister Fraulein Burger Tiki Heart Café Amar Indian Restaurant Bonanza Coffee Heroes Burger de Ville White Trash Fast Food Anna Blume Franken und Grunewald Barcomi’s Café El Rief Marheineke Markthalle Curry Clärchens Ballhaus Mutti Rosenburger Café im Literaturhaus Schwarzes Café Café am Neuen See 118 119 120 121 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 100 & 200 Bus Tour Schwarzlicht Minigolf Baum Haus Comedy Open Air Tiergarten Wannsee Lake Bearpit Karaoke Teafelsee Charlottenburg Gardens Britzer Garten Alternative Berlin Tour Brewers Berlin Express Tour Lake Tegel SHOPPING OUTDOORS Mauerpark Flea Market 134 & TOURS 3
INTRODUCITON By Martina Cocci Multicultural, innovative and colourful are just a few of the adjectives that spring to mind when thinking of Berlin. Everything you see in this city hides a secret which is ready to be uncovered. While walking through the streets, if you look carefully, you will notice that most of the monuments, the parks, the roads and even open air spaces try to convey a piece of Berlin’s controversial history. With this guide we want to introduce you to the most interesting places that you absolutely must see. 4 We start with a brief history of the city, it may seem boring, but be assured that it’s very important to be aware of the past in order to better appreciate some of the sites. The survival guide that comes next provides you with the most important information about hostels, public transport and other places you might need to go. Then we cover different sections. Culture is an important part of Berlin and we have highlighted the best bits along with an excellent guide to the museums and art galleries.
Cafés and restaurants can be considered one of the most interesting aspects of the city, as they mirror its multiculturalism. In Berlin you will find every kind of food from Turkey to China, from Italy to North Europe. Nightlife is another important feature, young people here have a wide selection of clubs, bars and pubs, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. Even shopping lovers can satisfy their needs, not only in the shopping area of Ku-dam, but also thanks to the opportunities that the city provides for vintage shopping and flea markets. During the warmer seasons it’s very enjoyable to spend an entire day in one of the various outdoor areas of the city: Tiergarten, Wannsee and Tegeler See. Last but not the least you will also find a piece of advice about the best guided tours both on foot and with other means of transport. So, don’t miss the oppor tunity to discover Berlin, especially if you have a low budget. Follow our suggestions and you won’t be disappointed! 5
HISTORY By Thomas Bamford 6 1237 The earliest mention of Berlin in a title deed. In the 13th century, itinerant merchants founded the trading posts of Berlin & Cölln near today’s Nicholaiviertal. A profitable medieval trade route, the Ascanian margrave of Brandenburg decided to amalgamate the two towns into one for political and security purposes in 1307. 1539 23 years after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the all-saints church in Wittenburg, Berlin finally converts to Protestantism. Berlin prospered for the immediate few decades until it was thrown into the medley of the thirty years war (1618-48). Elector Georg Wilhelm (162040) attempted to keep Berlin neutral although this only succeeded in Berlin being battered by both sets of belligerents. As a result destruction, starvation, murder and disease ran rife through the city’s decimated streets. 1640 FrederickWilliam I, known as the great elector, succeeds his father Georg Wilhelm as elector of Brandenburg. His reign is categorized by a policy of encouraging immigration and religious toleration. 1871 The German empire is founded. Berlin is declared the capital under the command of Wilhelm I of Prussia. Berlin’s population skyrockets from 800,000 to 1.5 million inhabitants. Kaiser Wilhelm goes into exile in Holland as riots break out after Germany’s heavy defeat in WWI. Food shortages and leftist political aggravation characterize these tumultuous years, resultantly the government resigns and seeks peace with the allied forces. At the end of WWI in 1918, a republic was pro-
claimed in Berlin. In 1920, the Greater Berlin Act incorporated dozens of suburban cities, villages and estates around Berlin into an expanded city. This new area encompassed Spandau and Charlottenburg in the west, as well as several other areas that are now major municipalities. After this expansion, Berlin had a population of around four million. During the Weimar era, Berlin became internationally renowned as a centre of cultural transformation at the heart of the Roaring Twenties. 1920 power of German government. Hitler obtained full power after claiming emergency powers from Chancellor Von Hindenburg after the Reichstag fire. The fire was ostensibly caused by Dutch anarchist Marinus Van Der Lubbe, although many historians still speculate that the Nazi’s caused it themselves in order to gain emergency powers. The darkest hours of Berlin’s history begin. The American stock market collapses in 1929. America would call in all of its foreign loans and Germany was spared no slack, even after the massive reparations it was forced to pay under the Treaty of Versailles. This crippled the economy of Germany and employment rose to over 6 million people. As history has proved over and over, economic depression causes the rise of extremism – during this period National Socialism and Communism were vying for the 1933 7
HISTORY 1945 After the fall of Berlin in WWII, Berlin is spliced into 4 sections by the allied powers. The former population of 4.5 million is almost halved, with a third of all the city’s historic buildings and living space flattened. 1961 Berlin is slashed in two by the Berlin Wall. The Eastern bloc claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the will of the people in building a socialist state in East Germany. In operation however, the wall served only to prevent the massive emigration & defection (dubbed the brain-train) leaving for West Germany. The path of the wall is marked today by a double row of cobbles throughout the city. 1989 A peaceful revolution leads to the destruction of the Berlin wall and subse- quently the dismantling of the GDR. As communism began to falter in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, new exodus points were opened, breaking a hole in the iron curtain. On November 9th 1989, East German official, Gunter Schabowski, announced that, “permanent relocations can be done through all border checkpoints between the GDR into the FGR or West Berlin”. This announcement caused mass celebrations on both sides of the wall, many participants bringing a chisel and hammer to take part in its destruction. 1990 Germany is officially re-united by the Grundgesetz constitution article 25. The end of the process is referred to as Deutsch Einheit, or German Unity. Berlin again becomes Germany’s capital and parliament returns to the Reichstag for the first time since 1933.
MODERN DAY BERLIN Berlin is now a world city of culture, politics, media and science. Its economy is based loosely on high tech industry and the service sector. It is a thriving cultural mecca, particularly amongst young people due to its vibrant nightlife (clubs have no legal obligation to close) and has become one of the coolest places on the face of the earth. Berlin is a fully unified and cosmopolitan city and an exciting destination for travellers. 9
german phrases SURVIVAL GUIDE ENGLISH|How are you? GERMAN|Wie geht’s? PRONUNCIATION |Vee gahts E Fine, thank you G Gut, danke P Goot dang-ke E Do you speak english? G Sprechen Sie Englisch? P Shpre.khen zee eng.lish E I don’t understand G Ich verstehe nicht P ikh fer-shtay-e nikht E How much? G Wie viel P Vee feel? useful websites www.visitberlin.de Visit Berlin|Official tourist authority info www.museumsportal-berlin.de Museums portal|Find information about 200 muse- ums, memorials and palaces as well as details about of exhibitions and events www.exberliner.com Exberliner|The ultimate city guide from Berlin’s English - language magazine www.sugarhigh.de Sugarhigh|Bilingual daily email magazine featur- ing the latest in contemporary culture in Berlin - art, music, fashion, food, film, events, jobs and more. www.bvg.de BVG| Berlin’s transport website By Stephanie Annett
essential info E Where’s ...? G Wo ist ...? P Vaw ist Currency|Euro (€) 100 cents = 1€ E Cheers! G Prost! P Prawst Visas Generally not required for tourist E I’d like (a beer) G Ich möchte (ein Bier) P Ikh merkh.te ein beer Money|Cash is king: credit cards are E Where is the toilet? G Wo ist die Toilette? P vo ist dee to.a.le.te Mobile Phones|Mobile phones oper- legal matters Drinking in public is LEGAL! The blood alcohol limit is 0.05% for drivers and 0.16% for cyclists. Anyone caught exceeding this amount is subject to stiff fines and a confiscated license. Language|German stays up to 90 days (or at all for EU nationals): some nationalities need a Schengen visa not widely used, especially in smaller shops ate on GSM900/1800. If you have a European or Australian phone, save money by slipping in a German SIM card Time| Central European Time (GMT plus one hour) Tourist offices|VisitBerlin has offices at the Hauptbahnhof, the Bradenburg Gate and on Kurfürstendamm Cannabis possession is a criminal offense and punishment ranges from a warning to court appearances. EMERGENCY Ambulance| 112 Fire Department| 112 Police|110 11
SURVIVAL GUIDE public transport Operated under Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), Berlin has an extensive public transport network that makes travelling around the city faster and more convenient. The public transport system includes the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, Trams and Buses. All the train lines are colour-coded, numbered and labelled to make life easier. Berlin transport area is divided into three zones: A, B and C. U-Bahn The U-Bahn is Berlin’s underground rapid transit railway and runs within the city boarders. Mon-Fri – From 4.00-1.00 every 5 or 10 mins Weekend – 24 hours, every 30mins after midnight S-Bahn The S-Bahn is similar to the U-Bahn but it runs mainly above the ground. Mon- Fro – From 4.30-1.30 Weekend - 24 hours, every 30mins after midnight Tram lines Berlin has an extensive network of tram lines that run on dedicated sections on the road. The trams mostly run on the eastern side of Berlin as buses replaced trams in west of Berlin during the division. Mon-Sun – 24 hour service, every 30mins after midnight Airports There are two airports that serve Berlin; Tegel and Schönefeld. The Tegel airport can be easily be reached by the bus services while Schönefeld airport can be reached both by buses or the S-Bahn. By Lily Woi
accommodation When picking a hostel it is important to distinguish what you want from the hostel experience. Do you sacrifice price for comfort and location? Or cost efficiency to be far away from attractions? Below are just a few picks of numerous Berlin Hostels to choose from. Berlin Circus Hostel Offering a huge selection of accommodation, from beds in dorms to penthouse apartments, Berlin Circus is a fantastic option for those with a bit more money to spend. This hostel offers an all you can eat breakfast, daily dinner specials in the circus café and happy hour nightly in the hostel’s bar, Goldmans. All this is located within walking distance of the Rosenthaler Platz U-bahn (A very central location for nightlife). What you get from convenience in this hostel, you pay for in a slightly higher cost. Weinbergsweg 1a Mitte |10119 8/10 Bed Dorm €23 4/5 Bed Dorm €27 3 Bed Dorm €31 Double or Twin €33 Single €50 http://www.circus-berlin.de/circus_berlin_hostel.html Generator Hostel Prenzlauer Berg Generator is home to over 890 beds, offering a huge selection of cheap but effective dorms. Free Wi-Fi is included and it has a lively bar area outside (which offers bring your own BBQ’s nightly in summer). Happy hour is 18.00-19.00 and the bar runs from 17.00-2.00. Generator is a great cost effective way of staying in Berlin. It is located a short walk from Landsberger Allee S-Bahn station, but is only a short ride to Alexanderplatz. Storkower Straße 160 Prenzlauer Berg | 10407 Dorms from €5, Female Dorms from €9, private triples from €10.50, private twins from €15.50 http://generatorhostels.com/ 13 By Thomas Bamford
SURVIVAL GUIDE like a berliner... Educate yourself on local flair. 1) PARTYING like a berliner. 2) FOOD SHOPPING like a berliner. Having no curfew means Berliners literally party for the entire weekend. The bars and clubs are packed from dawn to dust and beyond. The clubs don’t start until around 1.00 and don’t reach their peak until 3.00 – 5.00am. Choose from underground techno clubs to beach bars to beer gardens - there is something in Berlin to suit everyone’s taste. There is usually a supermarket within walking distance of every neighbourhood in Berlin. Examples of supermarkets include Rewe, Kaisers, Lidl and Aldi. Local farmer markets are dotted over the city and have a great source of fresh produce. Shops are closed on Sundays, except bakeries, souvenir shops and supermarkets based in the major train stations including Hauptbahnhof, Friedrichstraße and Ostbahnhof. Entry into super clubs like Berghain will set you back about 14.00€ but the smaller venues will charge about 5.00€ to 10.00€. Drinks are relatively inexpensive compared with other cities. A Cheap fast food is the staple diet bottled beer will set you back here. approx.. 3€ The dress code is very relaxed with high heels and smart shirts looking out of place. The best advice is to stick to simple individual style in dark colours with flat shoes. By Stephanie Annett 3) EATING like a berliner. The ultimate cult snack food is Berlin’s Currywurst. This consists of sliced fried wiener swimming in spicy tomato sauce, topped with curry powder. Check out Curry 36 for the top dog in town.
Did you know that the ULTIMATE hangover prophylaxis, the good ol’ donor kebab, was actually invented in Berlin as a simplified version of a Turkish speciality? This is street food at its best and the best stalls have the queues to prove it. Thinly shaved roasted veal and fresh salad, doused with a sauce of your choice. Select from a combination of Krauter (herb), scharf (hot) and Knoblauch (garlic). Choose from the traditional donor served in lightly toasted bread or the slightly less messy ‘Durum’ donor served in tortilla style flat breads. For a supreme pig out, have your kebab served over chips in a donor box. Ich würde gerne der Grund für Deine schlaflose Nacht sein. I’d love to be the reason for your sleepless night. The humble burger is quickly becoming an integral part of Berlin’s fast food scene. Hole in the wall style burger joints have been popping up all over the city, offering greasy beef favourites and veggi delights at rock bottom prices. Bist du oft hier? Do you come here often? 4) FLIRTING like a berliner. If you would like to know some phrases that might come in handy when approaching those hot but super shy Germans, then read on: Hat es sehr weh getan, als du vom Himmel gefallen bist? Did it hurt when you fell from heaven? Glaubst du an die Liebe auf den ersten Blick oder, soll ich nochmal vorbeilaufen? Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again? Ich hab meine Telefonnummer verloren. Kann ich deine haben? I’ve lost my phone number. Can I have yours? Du hast schöne Augen! You have beautiful eyes! Wenn ich sage, dass du einen tollen Körper hast, würdest du es mich spürgen lassen? If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? Need extra tips! Try Flirtuniverisity.de for complete flirting courses. 15
From the iconic Brandenburger Tor to the über-modern steel and glass of Potsdamer Platz’s Sony Centre, Berlin’s architecture is a hotchpotch of the old and new. The city is also home to an impressively diverse collection of current and former religious buildings and a range of memorials to historical events – from the Siegessäule to the Neue Wache. You’ll soon realise that you’re spoilt for choice if you’re looking to while away some time contemplating a slice of architectural history often without spending a cent. 17
FEATURE BERLINER DOM By Emma Dennison Overlooking the Lustgarten park, this neo-Baroque cathedral with its elaborate stonework and striking copper dome was built by Julius Carl Raschdorff to replace a more modest 18th-century structure. Work began in 1894 and was completed in 1905. The gold- and marble-filled cathedral is much more comfortable than you might expect. It bears a closer resemblance to a concert hall than to an actual place of worship. The vividly-coloured stained glass windows depicting scenes from the life of Jesus and the ornately carved and gilded wooden pulpit are particularly noteworthy. The organ is also worth a special mention as it has an impressively intricate case and 7 200 pipes. 18 Am Lustgarten |Mitte 10178 +49(0)30- 20269-136 S: Hackescher Markt (Apr-Sept) Mon-Sat 9.00-20.00 | Sun 12.00-20.00 (Oct-Mar) Mon-Sat 9.00-19.00 | Sun 12.00-19.00 7€ standard | 4€ concessions www.berlinerdom.de A suggested route around the building is clearly signposted, and takes about an hour. This route covers the main worship area, a museum detailing the cathedral’s history and a walkway up to the dome with fantastic views across the city (though be warned – it’s not for those who aren’t keen on steps). The route also covers the crypt which houses monuments of the Hohenzollern dynasty – the rulers of Prussia (and Germany post-unification) from the 15th century until Kaiser Wilhelm II’s
abdication in 1918. The Crypt is particularly worth visiting on a hot day, especially after walking up to the dome, as it is much cooler than the rest of the cathedral. If you’d prefer something more structured, detailed audioguides in English, German, Spanish or Italian are available for €3, or guided tours can be organised by phoning in advance. The crypt also houses temporary exhibitions and a gift shop that stocks a wide range of souvenirs, both of the cathedral and of Berlin in general. There is an outdoor café, which along with the shop, can be accessed without paying the entrance fee. The Cathedral also plays host to a number of concerts and recitals throughout the year. “The vividly coloured stained glass windows are particularly noteworthy” 19
DAS BUDDHISTISCHE HAUS The Buddhist House By Lily Woi Edelhofdamm 54 | Frohnau 13465 S Frohnau Mon – Sun 09.00-18.00 Free www.das-buddhistische-haus. de Enter through wooden doors and trek up the long, steep staircase until you arrive at a Ceylonesestyle building situated at the top of a hill surrounded by lush greenery. The Buddhist House is the oldest Theravada Buddhist temple in Europe and was founded in 1924 by Dr Paul Dahlke, a homeopathic doctor and writer. Although this contemporary-style temple is architecturally very different from the temples in Southeast Asia, you’ll still experience the same feelings of serenity when you visit. A Japanese-style garden with a patio is located behind the building, where you’ll be able to take a relaxing walk and soak in the spiritual essence of this place. 20 Beautifully-crafted Buddha statues are dotted around the whole area. Some overlook the forest, giving the illusion that the Buddha is gracing you with his presence. Have an enlightening chat about Buddhism or meditation with Bhante K. Santharakkhitha, the resident Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka. If you’re interested in learning more about Buddhism you can visit the temple’s library, which is filled with an extensive collection of Buddhist literature. Free mediation lessons, lectures, Dhamma talks and Buddhist prayer sessions are also offered every week. Everyone is welcome.
DENKMAL ZUR ERINNERUNG AN DIE BÜCHERVERBRENNUNG Book burning memorial By Bethany McDowell Bebelplatz 1 | 10117 Berlin U Friedrichstraße | Brandenburger Tor Free Hidden away in Bebelplatz, the Book Burning Memorial is a piece of artwork by the Israeli artist Micha Ullman and serves as a reminder of the Nazi book burning ceremony which took place on 10th May, 1933. On this night, nationalist students burned over 20,000 books which they considered ‘un-German’, marking the beginning of state censorship and control. Many of these books had famous and influential authors such as Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Franz Kafka. books which were burnt in 1933. The expanse of these empty shelves and the way this memorial is hidden underground raises many questions about censorship, suppression and freedom. How could people burn so many books full of knowledge and life? Beside the memorial is a bronze plaque with the haunting words from Heinrich Heine’s play, Almansor: ‘Where they burn books, they will in Called simply ‘Library’ and made the end also burn people.’ in 1995, the memorial consists of a small glass window fixed between cobbles in the ground. It is quite hard to find but there will be people gathered round it. Peering through the window you can see row upon row of empty white bookcases, with enough space to house the 20,000 21
NEUE WACHE The Guardhouse By Adam Lambert Unter den Linden | Mitte 10117 S + U Friedrichstraße Mon-Sun 10.00-18.00 Right next to the German History Museum on Unter den Linden, this monument provides the perfect place for a spot of thoughtful reflection away from the noise of the city. Built by architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel and completed in 1818, the neoclassical Neue Wache with its impressive columned façade and pointed roof served as a guardhouse to the troops of the Crown Prince of Prussia. Since 1931, the building has been used as a memorial and was first dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. The East German government then rededicated the memorial after World War II by lighting an eternal flame for the victims of fascism and militarism. 22 Today, the memorial is home to artist Käthe Kollwitz’ statue: Mother with her Dead Son. Standing directly under the oculus – a perfectly circular hole in the roof - the statue is vulnerably open to the elements. Kollwitz’ work depicts a grieving mother holding her fallen son, and is dedicated to all victims of war and tyranny. If you’re lucky enough to be there on wreath-laying days, you can witness the changing of the guards as it used to happen in the GDR.
SIEGESSÄULE Victory Column By Bethany McDowell Großer Stern | 10557 Berlin S Tiergarten (Apr-Oct) 09.30-18.30 |(Nov-Mar) 09.30-17.30 3.00€ standard | 2.50€ concessions The Victory Column is a monument to Prussian militarism and was completed in 1873, two years after the victory over the French. However the column has now been transformed into a symbol of openness and cosmopolitanism. Barack Obama chose this landmark for his speech in July 2008, and in 2006 there was a giant public viewing area during the Football World Cup. The gay pride music festival, ‘Love Parade’, also used to march through here. You can see the gilded bronze statue of Winged Victory standing on her 67m (220ft) column from the Brandenburg Gate. She glitters in the sun and invites you closer. But don’t follow her blindly through the traffic; there are underground tunnels with interactive art installations to help you reach your goal safely. Once there, a climb of around 285 spiralling steps awaits you. This is not for the faint-hearted or anyone with a hangover! At the top, the fresh air and pleasant view of Berlin are worth the effort. You can spot most of Berlin’s major landmarks, such as the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, albeit in miniature. This is a fun trip with a great panoramic view, plus if you pay the full price of 3.00€, you get 0.50€ off at Victoria Café opposite the column. 23
ALEXANDERPLATZ By Tamarah Green Alexanderplatz | Mitte 10178 S + U Alexanderplatz From a medieval cattle market to an eighteenth-century exercise ground, Alexanderplatz has seen a lot of change. A venue for both the glamorous and cocaine-fuelled twenties and the November 1984 GDR regime protest, it has always been an area for people to come together regardless of motive. Although not the most visually appealing space, Alexanderplatz (or “Alex” to Berliners) holds an enormous amount of German history - whether social, cultural or political. In the latter half of the nineteenth century the square was transformed from a transport hub to a shopping area, primarily due to its reconstruction after World War II. Attempting (and arguably succeeding) to challenge the West’s high-rises, the EastBerlin-constructed Fernsehturm (TV Tower) still dominates the skyline today and allows identify the 24 you to urban squarecity’s largest no matter your location. For 12.50€ you can access the Tower’s rotating viewing platform for a spectacular aerial view of the city. Some of the more inexpensive sights include the Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft (Fountain of Friendship Between Peoples) and the 1969 World Time Clock. Both of these serve as popular meeting places amongst the bustle. With plans for demolition and reconstruction constantly on the table, Alexanderplatz will continue to be the face of change in Berlin, so be sure to visit the landmark sight at one stage of its constantly evolving timeline.
CHECKPOINT CHARLIE By Benjamin James Brady Friedrichstraße 44 | 10969 Berlin U Kochstraße | U Stadtmitte Mon – Sun 09.00 – 22.00 12.50€ standard | 9.50 concession http://www.mauermuseum.de/ Perhaps the best-known reminder of the former Iron Curtain is Checkpoint Charlie. This onceheavily-guarded border crossing may, at first glance, seem to be the most tourist-infested site you’ve seen thus far. There might, however, be a good reason for this. Amongst all its emotionally charged history, it’s also known for being the site of the famous standoff between US and Soviet tanks in 1961, when the world waited in horror as the prospect of a third World War loomed uncomfortably large. There isn’t much left of this infamous site apart from a mockedup border control booth and two actors in uniform, with flags and rifles at their sides. However these features are merely superfluous. The fascinating history of the site can be experienced in the museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie. Inside you can read all about the heroic, desperate, and ingenious escape attempts by GDR citizens during the communists’ reign. Three floors of memorabilia crammed into small rooms is a lot to get through, yet it’s gripping - especially considering the lengths people went to in order to escape the leaders they never voted for. Homemade hot air balloons and one-man U-boats are just two examples of the would-be escapees’ ingenuity. 25
SANKT-HEDWIGS-KATHEDRALE Saint Hedwigs Cathedral By Lily Woi Hinter der Katholischen Kirche 3 | 10117 Mitte Berlin U Französische Straβe U Hausvogteiplatz Mon – Sat 10.00-17.00 | Sun 13.00 – 17.00 Free www.hedwigs-kathedrale.de Located in Bebelplatz, St Hedwig’s Cathedral is the most important Roman Catholic cathedral in Berlin and serves as the seat of the city’s archbishop. Consecrated in 1747, it was the first Catholic Church to be built in Prussia after the Protestant Reformation. The original neo-classical building, designed to resemble the Pantheon in Rome, burned down in 1943. It has been replaced by a modern interior by architect Hans Schwippert consisting of two churches with eight different chapels. Unlike other Catholic churches, the design is simple and unconventional. 26 As well as the tombs of many bishops of Berlin, the church also houses the crypt of Bernhard Lichtenberg, who was Provost of the Cathedral Chapter from 1938. Outspoken against the Nazis’ treatment of Jews and the euthanasia programmes, he was arrested in 1941 by the Gestapo and imprisoned for two years after publicly praying for the persecuted Jews. He later died en route to Dachau concentration camp in November 1943, and was beatified as a martyr in 1996 by Pope John Paul II. The cathedral’s many attractions include a room housing a collection of liturgical vestments and objects, an impressive organ and a uniquely designed dome, which is well worth a visit. Organ recitals are held on Wednesday at 3.00pm, and guided tours are available in English upon request.
BRANDENBURGER TOR Brandenburg Gate By Zoe Emilia Robertshaw Pariser Platz | Mitte 10117 S & U Brandenburger Tor When picturing Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate immediately comes to mind because of it’s deep-seated historical resonance. Designed by Carl Gotthard Langhans and built in the late eighteenth century, it has since undergone a few unwilling makeovers by political giants. The prime example would be that by Napoleon, when he kidnapped the Quadriga of the Goddess of Victory from atop the Gate and took her to France as a trophy. She was happily reinstated in 1841, and looks down majestically upon the tourists that flock to Pariser Platz, the luxurious square adjacent to the Gate. After World War II, the Gate came to symbolise divided Berlin - it was trapped in the East until Reunification led to its appropriation as a symbol of peace. Visit at dusk on a balmy evening when the sun’s rays spill across the columns and in busy seasons, the various buskers and entertainers create an atmosphere reminiscent of a festival. So go ahead and follow in the footsteps of Barack Obama, who in June this year made a speech from beside the Gate, and feel the history exuding from this landmark that has become one of the most recognised in Europe. Don’t hesitate to walk through Berlin’s front door and feel like you’ve truly arrived. 27
FEATURE POTSDAMER PLATZ By Natasha Owen Potsdamer Platz, named after the nearby town of Potsdam, is an area of Berlin known for its architecture and busy environment. Also referred to as ‘The platz to be’, it is home to dozens of restaurants, a large shopping centre, several luxurious hotels, the Sony Centre and many visitors. Shopping Potsdamer Platz Arkaden is a large shopping centre easily accessed from the S & U-bahn station. Inside, numerous shops can be found across several levels. Here you will find a variety of stores selling clothes, accessories, food and drink amongst other things. With so much on offer here, you could easily spend a day in the area. 28 U+S Potsdamer Platz www.potsdamerplatz.de www.potsdamer-platz-arkaden. de www.deutsche-kinemathek.de/en Hotels This busy quarter is also home to many glamorous hotels - perhaps the most deluxe is the Ritz Carlton. Others include the Grand Hotel Bellevue and the Palast Hotel which opened in the late 19th century. The Fürstenhof opened its doors in 1907 and the Esplanade followed just a year later.
Entertainment The Sony Centre is one of the main highlights of the Platz, bringing entertainment to the buzzing square. A large cinema can be found there, along with the Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen (Film and Television Museum). THE PLATZ TO BE” “ History pared to Piccadilly Circus and Times Square, however heavy bombing during World War II followed by the construction of the Berlin Wall rendered Potsdamer Platz unrecognisable. Until 1838, this area was a mere crossroads at one of Berlin’s city gates. After the construction of a railway station, the rural area began to blossom within a few decades. A period of economic growth after the creation of the German Empire in 1871 led to a ‘building boom’. In 1882 Germany’s the first electric streetlights were installed in the square. The area’s heyday was the Weimar period, when it was com Architecture Many architects were involved in the postReunification building and redevelopment of this area in Berlin. Headed by Italian Renzo Piano (wellknown for building the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the New York Times Building), the eight-strong team’s members have all put their unique stamp on the magnificent skyline of the architectural quarter. 29
SCHLOSS CHARLOTTENBURG Charlottenburg Palace By Martina Cocci Spandauer Damm 20-24 Charlottenburg 14059 U Richard-Wagner Platz Apr-Oct Sun-Tue 10.00-18.00 Nov-March Sun-Tue 10.00-17.00 Mon Closed This palace was built by Fredrick III, Elector of Brandenburg, in 1699 as a summer residence for his wife Sophie Charlotte. It’s best to allow lots of time to visit the palace since the tour with the audio guide, which is included in the price, takes an hour and a quarter to complete. It can seem a little monotonous, but once you have started to walk through the royal apartments and rooms decorated in a variety of styles and materials you will be transported back to the period of the Prussian kings and won’t even notice the passage of time. You also have the option of just visiting one of the palace’s two wings. The first one, commissioned by Sophie Charlotte in 1699, 30 was designed in a Baroque style. The newer Rococo wing was built after Sophie Charlotte’s death in 1705. It contains the state apartments of Friedrich the Great and the Winter Chambers of Friedrich Wilhelm II. One of the characteristic features of the palace is the collection of Chinese and Japanese porcelain; the Porcelain Cabinet is especially amazing and contains more than 2700 porcelains that convey the triumph of the light thanks to the mirrors that surround them.
NIKOLAIVIERTEL Nicholas’s Quarter By Adam Lambert Am Nußbaum 3 | Mitte 10178 S + U Alexanderplatz www.nikolaiviertel-berlin.de This quaint borough of Mitte lies just five minutes’ walk along the banks of the Spree from Alexanderplatz, and is the reconstructed historical heart of Berlin. It was founded around 1200 but badly destroyed during World War II; many of the buildings are imitations of the once-grand medieval architecture. Often awash with tourists, the cobbled streets of Nikolaiviertel boast five museums and numerous restaurants which specialise in traditional German cuisine. Berlin’s oldest church - the St. Nikolai-Kirche, which gives the area its name - is the main point of interest and is now used as a museum which houses a permanent exhibition detailing the history of the church. Although quaint and picturesque, the district is perhaps somewhat lacking in authenticity and is partly spoiled by the numerous tacky souvenir shops that clutter the streets. An attempt to keep the focus on the history has led to the installation of numbered information plaques which adorn the buildings and outline the district’s interesting past. All in all, don’t let the touristy nature of Nikolaiviertel put you off as many an interesting holiday photo can be taken here while discovering Medieval Berlin. 31
PARK SANSSOUCI By Thomas Bamford An der Orangerie 1 | Potsdam 14469 RE: Potsdam Hauptbahnhof | Bus: Schloss Sanssouci Tues-Sun 10.00 – 18.00 | Mon closed Premium pass (allowing one day’s entry to all attractions) 19€ | 14€ concessions http://www.potsdam-parksanssouci.de/ 30 minutes by Regional Express train from Berlin are the verdant gardens of Park Sanssouci, surrounding the palace of Schloss Sanssouci. Sanssouci, French for ‘without a care,’ was built between 1745 and 1747 as the summer residence of Prussian king Friedrich II (Frederick the Great). The estate served as a resplendent retreat for when the King found ruling the Prussian Empire too overwhelming. 32 Arrive early to ensure you have time to see everything Sanssouci has to offer. There’s almost too much to see in one day, so pack plenty of enthusiasm to get you through the often lengthy queues. As well as Schloss Sanssouci, other major sights include the Neues Palais (New Palace), the Neuen Kammern (New Chambers), the Orangery and Schloss Charlottenhof. The luxurious 18th-century picture gallery contains paintings by Van Dyck, Caravaggio and Rubens. Schloss Sanssouci’s design was greatly influenced by Friedrich II himself, who disregarded many of his architect’s suggestions. The rooms have been preserved in all their splendour, despite Friedrich’s wish that the Palace last only for his lifetime and die with him. Park Sanssouci really is a big visit so plan your day so that you see as much as possible. Don’t forget to take advantage of the audio guides or guided tours included in the admission price.
REICHSTAG By Thomas Bamford Platz der Republik 1 | Tiergarten 11011 U Bundestag | U+S Brandenburger Tor Dome 8.00-23.00 daily – online booking required Free www.bundestag.de ‘Dem Deutschen Volke’ – so reads the iconic inscription above the entrance to the Reichstag, the home of Germany’s parliament. This gift ‘to the German people’ has become emblematic of the city’s chequered history of occupation, destruction and subsequent resurrection. The imperious building was erected between 1884 and 1894 and was designed by German architect Paul Wallot, who borrowed heavily from Italian Renaissance and neo-Baroque styles. Home to Germany’s parliament until 1933, the building has since played a huge part in Berlin’s history. The Reichstag was burned down in 1933, ostensibly by the Communists or perhaps the Nazis – the debate continues. The Nazi government used the building only for propaganda presentations and, having been bombed during World War II, it remained empty until Reunification. An epic reconstruction project, overseen by British architect Norman Foster, began in 1992. It once more became a seat of power, this time for the German Bundestag, in 1999. The building’s crowning glory is now its glass and metal cupola, a nod to Wallot’s original design. The dome is open to visitors and offers a panoramic view of the city as you scale its futuristic mirrored interior. A free audio guide is available, detailing the building’s history and describing the views. Book online and well in advance, especially during the summer months when it can get very busy. 33
UNTER DER LINDEN By Thomas Bamford 10117 Mitte U Friedrichstraße Französischer Straße U+S | Brandenburger Tor Stretching from East to West, from the site of the former Berliner Stadtschloss palace to the Brandenburg Gate, is Unter den Linden, the central artery of Berlin’s Mitte district. The road was designed by Johann Georg, Elector of Brandenburg, in the 16th century so that he could more easily reach his hunting ground in the Tiergarten. The addition of the linden (or lime) trees was an artistic flourish ordered by Elector Friedrich Wilhelm I. Friedrich II (Frederick the Great) added the Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Berlin State Opera) in 1741, and was later immortalised in an iron statue at the street’s eastern end. Frederick the Great also added the Prince Heinrich 34 Palace, which is now Humboldt University - notable alumni include Albert Einstein, Karl Marx, Otto von Bismarck and many more. The street today is a peculiar mix of museums, such as the Deutsches Historiches Museum and the Willy Brandt Museum, and flagship car showrooms such as those of Volkswagen, Bentley and Skoda. If cars aren’t your thing, try the art gallery underneath the Volkswagen showroom. There are also several monuments, such as the Book Burning Memorial and the Neue Wache -largely considered Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s masterpiece - and of course the ubiquitous souvenir shops selling a range of tat for tourists.
BERLIN RATHAUS Red City Hall By Stephanie Annett Rathausstraße 15 |10178 Mitte Free admission Mon - Fri 9am - 6pm U+S | Alexanderplatz This imposing red brick structure is an unusual blend of Italian Renaissance and Northern German architectural styles. The Rathaus boasts three courtyards and many arched windows, and is topped off with a striking 74-metre-tall tower. The 19th-century building is situated in Alexanderplatz, behind the elaborate Neptunbrunnen fountain. The Rathaus was severely damaged by allied forces in the Second World War but was quickly reconstructed in the years after. Following the division of Berlin, the Rathaus became the town hall for East Berlin whilst the West was governed from Rathaus Schöneberg. After the Cold War and Reunification, the Rathaus once again became the administrative centre for the whole city. It is now also the seat of Berlin’s mayor, Klaus Wowereit, and the Senate. Upon entering the building and ascending the grand red-carpeted staircase, you could be forgiven for imagining you were on the Titanic. Immerse yourself in the building’s grandeur and admire the stunningly intricate chandeliers. Explore the maze of rooms at your leisure, but don’t miss the nine-metre-high orange Pillar Hall; the Hall of Arms, with coats of arms for all Berlin’s districts; and the Grand Room, used for ceremonies. Don’t forget to sign the guest book when you leave, and take a sneaky peek at Barack Obama’s signature. 35
ARTS & CULTURE
Berlin is a mecca of art and culture. Thanks to its low cost of living, Berlin has attracted tons of artists, musicians and writers over the years. This means that the city not only showcases the famous and well-known but also the new and up-and-coming. The art and culture here can be seen all around - whether you’re walking past graffiti or visiting a well-known art gallery, everything in Berlin is designed to enhance your cultural experience. 37
KONZERT AM BODE-MUSEUM Concerts at the Bode-Museum By Emma Dennison Portal des Bode-Museums, Monbijoubrücken | Mitte 10117 S Hackescher Markt |U+S Friedrichstraße (Jul-Aug) Sun 20.30 Free Entry, Donations welcome. www.sonntagskonzerte.de Every Sunday evening in July and August the steps of the BodeMuseum onto Monbijoubrücke become a concert venue, showcasing varied programmes of lesser-known chamber works. As traditional concert halls can be expensive, this is a more informal way to get your classical music fix without worrying about stuffy etiquette. The audience comprises of all ages and nationalities, with lots of young people, so don’t worry about feeling out of place. The concert starts at 20.30, however if you want a seat you should be there at least half an hour before. Otherwise sit on the floor or steps – but don’t expect much space. The concerts last around two hours, including an interval, so 38 bring something to sit on and a jacket as it can get chilly. Wine and beer are available to buy, though you can also bring your own. Programmes are free, and donations are taken during the interval. Despite the gentle hush that falls as the music begins, audience members come and go as they please, though the encores are usually worth the wait. Despite the comings-and-goings, the music can easily be heard thanks to speakers and the lighting ensures a clear view even as the sun sets. As a way to spend a Sunday evening in Berlin, watching the sunset over a beautiful building accompanied by wonderful music for next to nothing has to be one of the best.
EAST SIDE GALLERY By Benjamin James Brady Mühlenstraße | 10243 Berlin U Warschauer Straße | S Warschauer Straße Open 24 hours Free www.eastsidegallery-berlin.de If you haven’t quite got your fix of what the coolest city in world has to offer; if you want the rawest kind of cultural significance that is also completely free, then the East Side Gallery in Mühlenstraße is a serious must-see. A 1.3km remnant of something as simple as a wall, used to divide people, cultures, ideas and ways of life, this weighty and utterly discriminating divider is now one of the largest outdoor galleries in the world. It was commissioned and decorated by dozens of international artists in 1990, soon after Germany’s reunification. The original works have been somewhat eroded by time, and in many cases distastefully defaced, but the murals still shine through. You get the distinct feeling that reunification was a time of sincere jubilation, when many felt a need to make a mark, a warning, and a celebration. You just have to gaze upon Dmitri Vrubel’s wry depiction of communist leaders Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kissing to even begin to understand how powerful it feels, how poignant it is. All lovers of graffiti and revolutionary art should be in their element here. For 1.00€ you can also have a GDR stamp in your passport so you can say you’ve literally been there and crossed the border. Who knows where it will take you? 39
MUSEUM FÜR GEGENWART Hamburger Bahnhof By Benjamin James Brady Invalidenstraße 50-51 | 10557 Berlin U: Naturkundemuseum | S: Hauptbahnhof Tue – Sun 10.00 – 18.00 |Thur 10.00 – 20.00 | Mon Closed 14€ Standard | 7€ concession www.hamburgerbahnhof.de If you only have a few hours to absorb some of Berlin’s menagerie of creativity on offer it would have to be done in Hamburger Bahnhof. No, it’s not some kind of gallery/fast food outlet - it is, in all its magnificence, 10,000 sq ft of contemporary art housed in a former 19th century train station bordering the district of Mitte. On entering the cool, lofty, whitewashed interior you have the chance to view an everchanging array of temporary, cutting-edge exhibitions. But the main attraction is its permanent exhibition, at the centre of which is the Marx Collection. A humble assortment of 20th-century gems was made available to 40 the viewing public by Berlin entrepreneur Erich Marx in 1982, and Berliners and tourists alike flock to see it. There is nothing quite like standing idly among giant fragments of some of the past century’s most notable, and I’m talking about the likes of Warhol’s ‘Chairman Mao’, and early collage ‘Pink Door’ by Rauschenberg. Lichtenstein, Cy Twombly and Joseph Beuys also feature in the collection that offers an exciting focus on a predominantly American theme from the 1960s and 1970s. Even if you are indifferent to the above-mentioned and think it’s not your thing, the free guided tour on Saturdays and Sundays at 12pm is well worth it and will leave you all the more thirsty for what this great city has to offer.
SAMMLUNG BOROS Boros Collection By Benjamin James Brady Reinhardtstraße 20 | 10117 Berlin Mitte U Oranienburger Tor Thur – Sun | Viewing by appointment only 10€ www.sammlung-boros.de A bunker, an imposing structure, sits stoic and stark amongst its neighbouring city buildings. Built as an air-raid shelter during World War II, it’s had a myriad of uses over the years: Soviet prison, textile factory, and exotic fruit and vegetable warehouse (during which time it became known as the “banana bunker”) Today it’s owned by avid art collector and enthusiast Christian Boros and holds and exhibits, in slow rotation, his vast collection of contemporary art. The first exhibition opened in 2008 and lasted for four years; the second opened in 2012 and is still going. It has a labyrinthine interior, with 80 rooms lit with bare strip lighting. It’s scantily decorated in the ‘white cube’ style, with bare concrete walls. Some rooms are tiny, dark and close, while others have been hollowed out and seem vast, bearing the scars of renovation. Installations fill and complement the space, paintings loom in corridors, and giant photographic works are stylishly hung. It’s gritty - and bunker like. You need to book way in advance for the guided tour, so allow a few weeks. The tour is available in German and English, and takes about 1.5 hours. It’s well worth the money and is thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking. 41
SAMMLUNG SCHARF-GERSTENBURG Scharf-Gerstenburg Collection ByBethany McDowell Schloßstraße 70 | Charlottenburg 14059 U Richard-Wagnerplatz | S Westend Tues-Sun 10.00-18.00 Entrance included with Museum Berggruen Ticket www.smb.museum Ever wondered how to turn a horse’s rear-end into a skull? Welcome to ‘Surreal Worlds’ - the exhibition at Sammlung ScharfGerstenburg that will introduce you to a whole new way of looking at the world. Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg holds the Dieter Scharf Collection in memory of Otto Gerstenberg (1848-1935), an art collector who assembled one of the largest art collections of his time. His grandsons, Walter Scharf (19231996) and Dieter Scharf (19262001), inherited his passion for art and continued to acquire pieces for the collection. The exhibition holds more then 250 paintings, sculptures and lithographs, and includes 42 works by Dalí, Magritte and Miró to name but a few. It shows a world of marvels and metamorphoses, as the artists merge dreams with reality. There are films here too: Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí’s critical view of the bourgeoisie can be seen in the shocking surrealist film ‘Un Chien Andalou,’ which runs on loop along with other films made by contemporary artists. Marx Klinger’s series of lithographs entitled ‘Glove’ is also a must-see, and the free audio guide explains the diverse representations of the psyche in each picture. As for creating a skull out of a horse’s backside, you will just have to go and see that for yourselves.
KW INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART By Benjamin James Brady Auguststraße 69 | 10117 Mitte Tue – Sun 12.00 – 19.00 | Thur 12.00 – 21.00 | Mon closed U Rosenthaler Platz S Hackescher Markt 6€ standard | 4€ concession www.kw-berlin.de/en One of the main showcases for exciting contemporary art in Berlin is Kunst Werke. It is renowned for its repertoire of shows and hosts many artists from around the world. Because of its diverse and forward thinking approach to the art exhibited, it’s no wonder they get a lot of international recognition. The interior of the gallery is made up of small, quiet, separate spaces. As you meander through, musing on the strange and unique installations, the gallery eventually opens up into a cavernous hall-like basement which echoes your careful footsteps and leads down to a further barebrick-walled dungeon space. The curators use the space well and display the work sensitively. Go back through the reception area and take the stairs up to floor 3 ½, where there is more to see before heading down to the courtyard for a much-needed coffee. The shows change three to four times a year so there is always something fresh and new to engage in, and you don’t have to ‘know’ anything about art to appreciate them. Perturbed? Gobsmacked at what you see? Places like this exist to open your mind and encourage you to question things, not to be content with the norm - whatever you count that to be. 43
SCHWULES MUSEUM Gay Museum By Stephanie Annett Lützowstraße 73 | Tiergarten 10785 U Nöllendorfplatz U Kurfürstenstraße Sun, Mon, Weds-Fri 14.00-18.00 | Sat 14.00-19.00 | closed Tues 6€ | 4€ concessions www.schwulesmuseum.de Founded in 1985, this is the world’s largest (and Europe’s only) museum dedicated to homosexual culture. It aims to archive, research and communicate the history and culture of the lesbian, gay, trans, bisexual, intersex and queer communities. The 300 exhibits show visitors how gay men and women have lived, fought and partied over the centuries. Explore the execution of “gay” monks in the 1500s in Ghent, and the life story of Einar Wegener the first person to receive gender reassignment surgery in the 1930s. Learn how bodybuilding helped the acceptability of nude photography and how the statefunded Berlin AIDS project created a new social acceptance of homosexuality. 44 Temporary exhibitions keep the space dynamic, and the current exhibition commemorates the lives of Jewish homosexuals in the Third Reich. It includes twenty four biographies representing the experiences of homosexual Jews under the Nazis: from exile, deportation and murder to survival and post war life. Until a new permanent exhibition is installed in 2014, you can visit the interim exhibition “Transformations”. It details, through art, lifestyles and identities beyond heteronormative gender classifications. Same-sex relationships are still taboo and criminalised in many parts of the world, and this museum offers an understanding in order to admonish inequalities.
MUSEUM FΫR FILM UND FERNSEHEN Museum of Film and Television By Zoë Emilia Robertshaw Potsdamer Straße 2 | Tiergarten 10785 S + U Potsdamer Platz Tue-Wed 10:00 - 18:00 Thu 10:00 - 20:00 | Fri-Sun 10:00 - 18:00 7€ standard | 4.50€ concession http://www.deutsche-kinemathek. de/en From sci-fi to silent films, this museum charts the evolution of German cinema throughout the country’s turbulent history. Its location in Potsdamer Platz suits the metallic interior and futuristic layout of the exhibition. Having taken the lift that whisks you to the third floor of the building, you enter the first gallery: a geometric hall of mirrors which combines your own reflection with the faces of silent film stars. The dusky lighting and tinny background music transport you back to the 1920s; as the caption tells you, ‘the language of silent film is international’. The remainder of the exhibition is structured chronologically, exploring films that were released at the time of the Weimar Republic’s demise; films censored by the Nazi Ministry of Propaganda; and anarchic postWorld-War-II films. German film star Marlene Dietrich is at the heart of the exhibition: her costumes are displayed in a circular room in the centre and the walls are peppered with photographs of her. The audio guide is worth the 2€ charge as it gives invaluable information on notable exhibits such as props and models of film sets. The television exhibition, however, is less engaging for the non-German-speaker as the television programmes in the Museum’s archive are only available to watch in German. 45
FEATURE AUGUSTSTRASSE August Street By Benjamin James Brady Mitte | 10117 Berlin U Rosenthaler Platz S Oranienburger Straße Auguststraße is known as Berlin’s main gallery area. An area that encapsulates the thriving nature of the avant-garde, a hive of creativity that has turned into a magnet for all those looking for contemporary art and culture, be it gallery spaces or chic eateries. high ceilings and large metal framed windows. Previously unused for ten years, it held the 4th Berlin Biennale in 2006. It reopened in 2012 and now houses several independent art galleries and a museum devoted to former U.S. president John F. Kennedy and his family. Auguststraße was a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood before World War II. When the wall came down in 1989, buildings stood unused, abandoned from the days of the GDR. Galleries and young creative types knew how to take advantage of the cheap rent and cost of living. They moved into the area, thus establishing it as the centre of the German art scene. More art galleries line the street, from smaller outfits to larger institutions like Kunst Werke and the ME Collectors Room. Kunst Werke, in particular, brings a lot of international attention because of its Standing proudly amidst August Street, is the former Jewish School for Girls. It was designed by prominent architect Alexander Beer in the so-called ‘New Objectivity’ style, emphasizing function over form. Looking from the outside it’s dark and imposing. The inside, 46 however, is elegant and flowing with mosaic tiled floors,
interest in showing work from artists around the globe. Be prepared to be immersed, shocked, challenged and surprised when visiting. The street is also home to a number of independent fashion designers. Auguststraße a reputation for being an equally trendy spot for nightlife. For dinner choose between; Italian (Al Contadino Sotto Le StelleSlow), French (Brasserie Nord Sud), Spanish (Restaurant Ruz) or German (Clärchens Ballhaus). For something a little more dynamic try Shiso Burger, they offer an interesting Asian inspired take on gourmet junk food. “An area that encapsulates the thriving nature of avant-garde” It can be a long old stroll if you want to experience it all in one sitting but there is no shortage of coffee shops. For a little pick me up try Factory Girl, Auguststraße 29. They serve tasty variations on coffee (Cappuccino with Banana nectar), homemade lemonade and numerous well-crafted sweets and desserts. Breakfast and lunch are offered all day. As you’d expect from such an area, there are also many restaurants and music venues that give Auguststraße is lit up beautifully in the evening and is humming with people taking in the night. The atmosphere, especially during the summer months, is languid and sultry. There is a real mix of people and it seems so relaxing that you could easily spend your entire trip here, drinking it all up. 47
BAUHAUS ARCHIV Bauhaus Archive By Thomas Bamford Klingelhöferstraße 14 10785 Berlin S Nollendorfstraße Weds-Mon 10.00-17.00 www.Bahaus.de In 1919 Walter Gropius (the Bauhaus school founder) foresaw a new age in which civilization would become highly mechanized. He subsequently set up the Bauhaus school which purported a new way of teaching so that students would learn to become excellent craftspeople in workshop. The maxim of the school was to create products in which ‘function, not tradition’ should influence design. The exhibition is split into the different Bauhaus schools: ceramics, photography, stone carvings, weaving and architecture. The combined goal of each school is to amalgamate all of the schools into creating a ‘total’ work of art in which all arts, including architecture, would be brought together. Gropius realized his vision in the 48 iconic design of the utopian Bauhaus Archiv building with its iconic shed roofs cutting the suburban skyline. You will be surprised at just how many of the Bauhaus products are instantly familiar, for example Marcel Bruers ‘tubular chair’, the first of its design, with no hind legs. The highlight of the Archiv is the architecture section, where the display exhibits internal Bauhaus school competitions between architects to create a ‘Bauhaus settlement’. Perusing the Modernist housing models, notably the Red Cube by Monarth and Monarth and Ludvig von Der Rohe’s high rise at Fredrichstraße, it is difficult not to see the Bauhaus movement’s inspiration on modern Berlin architecture. Audioguides are available for a 20€ deposit and are advised, given the interactive nature of the presentation.
ALTE NATIONALGALERIE Old National Gallery By Martina Cocci Reinhardtstraße 20 | 10117 Bodestraße 1-3 | 10178 Berlin U+S Hackescher Markt Sun-Tue 10.00-18.00 | Thu 10.00-20.00 | Mon Closed www.smb.museum This art gallery offers an ex- tensive collection of 19th century works of art, created between the French Revolution and the First World War and ranging in style from Neoclassicalism to the Succession. Not only are the works – which are primarily paintings - worth seeing, but the Neoclassical-style gallery itself is also very attractive. At its entrance you will find a luxurious red carpet, covering a bright white marble staircase. The lower floor is made up of two sections: one dedicated to realism, where you will find the major works by Mezel, Constable and Curbet, and the other contains Neoclassical sculptures, such as Canova’s Ebe and Begas’ Amor and Psyche. When you reach the second floor, you en- ter a small room with a high blue dome that contrasts with the Neobaroque sculptures which line it. On the third floor you find yourself in the “Goethezeit und Romantik” (Goethe-era and Romantic) section, featuring masterpieces by Caspar David Friedrich, Karl Friedrich Schinkel and other key figures of the Romantic and Biedermeier schools. The schools covered on this floor include Idealism, Realism and Impressionism, and works by Monet, Manet, Liebermann and Feuerbach. Visiting the whole gallery takes more or less two hours, and an informative audio guide is included in the price. 49
HAUPTSTADT ZOO By Tom Shipman Hardenbergplatz 8 District 10787 U + S – Zoologischer Garten Mon-Sun 09:00-19.00 Zoo only ticket 13€ standard | 10€ concession Zoo and Aquarium combi-ticket 20€ standard | 15€ concession www.zoo-berlin.de As zoos go, Berlin’s is one of the biggest in Europe, covering a massive 84 acres. The number and diversity of animals here far exceeds what most zoos can offer. Holding around 1500 different species, the main highlights include lions, brown bears, arctic wolves, a giant panda, elephants, a polar bear, penguins and kangaroos. Its vast size can be daunting, and makes it very easy to miss several of the animal exhibits, so make sure you set aside at least half a day to explore. A suggested route covers everything, but following it is definitely not an easy task! Additionally, the lack of English on the information 50 boards means that without a good understanding of German you have little hope of learning much about the animals. The best way to enjoy your day here is to stroll leisurely around the wide leafy green footpaths, ice cream in hand. The animal pens have varied layouts, and some transport you to a Lion King-style savannah. Many pens are of a good size, leaving the animals plenty of space to roam. However the bare concrete indoor lion cages are small - quite a depressing sight considering the distressed pacing of the lions inside.
GEMÄLDERGALERIE Old Master Paintings By Bethany McDowell Stauffenbergstraße 40 Tiergarten 10785 U+S Potzdamer Platz Tues-Sun 10.00-18.00 Thurs 10.00-22.00 10.00€ standard 5.00€ for concessions www.smb.museum Opened in 1998 and housing works by true masters of their time - including Albecht Dürer, Titian, Caravaggio, Peter Paul Rubens and Gainsborough, as well as one of the largest collections of Rembrandts in the world - the Gemäldergalerie is a veritable encyclopaedia of western painting. One of the gallery’s highlights is ‘Amor Victorious’ by Caravaggio which depicts Eros, representing physical love, as more powerful than any other human endeavour. This is displayed next to Giovanni Baglione’s ‘Sacred Love Versus Profane Love’ which was commissioned by a Roman bishop in response to the scandal of Caravaggio’s piece. It is clear which painting is triumphant. The gallery’s works contain many surprising symbolic representations of love and sin. For example, a cucumber represents how the mother of God was preserved from original sin in Carlo Crivelli’s ‘Madonna and Child Enthroned,’ and the subject of Sebastiano de Piombo’s ‘Portrait of a Young Woman’ makes a V-sign with her fingers - displaying either virtuosity or vivaciousness. She does, however, have a certain coquettish gleam in her eye… This is a fantastic display of art, demonstrating how the old masters explored and developed art and its subject matter through time. The free audio guide is highly recommended as it explains symbols that might otherwise be overlooked. 51
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