During the years of the divided city Alexanderplatz was rebuilt as a propogandic showcase of the triumph of the communist system. The immediate post-war buildings were "Socialist-Realist", including the now demolished People's Palace, and the square itself created as a public space.
1969 saw the construction of the imposing TV tower, the building of the World Clock and the installation of the Fountain of International Friendship all once again designed to give the proverbial "finger" to the decadent facists of the capitalist West.
It's ironic that the socialist square turned out to be a major contributor to its creator's downfall as it was here on November 4th 1989 that the first major permitted demonstration against the regime was held which was attended by up to 1 million people.
Following reunification and Berlin's return to its status as the German capital Alexanderplatz has been in the process of being redeveloped with the first thing to have been demolished being the People's Palace.
However not everyone's happy with the redevolpments. East Berlin architect Bruno Flierl hates them:
"This is, from the point of view of German unification, stupid and dangerous," he says. "It's occupation and not unification."
I kinda relate to his point.
Anyway, this is just an excuse to use this pic which amused me.
When you think of Oktoberfest, you quite rightly associate it with Munich. That's why I was surprised to see a small Oktoberfest happening on Alexanderplatz during my visit. It had a similar vibe to a Christmas market with loads of stalls selling hot food, sweets (candies) and other assorted gift ideas. The one noticeable difference was that everyone was drinking beer instead of Gluehwein!
I spent quite a lot of time walking around the Oktoberfest stalls and picking up some quick and tasty food between sightseeing. It was particularly nice to visit in the evening when the stalls became busier and brightly illuminated. I think if you are in Berlin in October, you should definitely check it out but check online to find make sure it is happening before you go. The 2012 Oktoberfest took place between 28th September and 14th October and I guess this changes yearly. Entry to Oktoberfest is absolutely free, but beware; you will spend money! :D
Favorite thing: Alexanderplatz is very popular meeting point but it is better to avoid it in this pre-football days because it looks like a huge building-ground and therefore barely passable. The whole area is occupied by the machines for construction works and high cranes. Gloomy day, as it was during my visiting, makes it even more unattractive.
This so called "atomic clock" in Alexanderplatz is pretty cute.... The metal sections - upper and lower - are divided into the different hour fuses and list the major world capitals that fall into each one of those fuses.... so you can know what time it is in all of those places at the same time.
For example, I took this picture at about 1 PM, so Berlin was on the rightmost hour fuse showing in the picture (where the stripe in the middle is colored in orange-reddish).... it was 6 AM in Mexico, so it was on the leftmost side of the picture, within the section where the middle stripe (which contains the big numbers indicating the time) was colored in yellow. This is the section of the clock that spins slowly as the time passes by....
It was pretty fun to see this original way to indicate what the time was everywhere in the planet!
Fondest memory: As you may see, there are a bunch of people standing under the clock... it wasn't a VT meeting, they were there cause it was raining! I got wet while taking this picture.... but it was worth it, as I had never seen something like this clock! Pretty basic but ingenious!
Favorite thing: Berlin, Alexander Platz. Even in the year 2000 there was some flavor of the old times and the divided Europe. Things are changing rapidly and Germans are building modern things everywhere - they want to forget - and noone can blame them for that.
Favorite thing: Go to Alexanderplatz, the centre of the city. Although the place itself does not look particularly spectacular, there's always something happening there. Last year I saw this lovely car which persuades us that gardening is possible everywhere. Who wouldn't believe it?
... Battiato sings...
Fondest memory: I was surprise that behind me there was some nice sentences about me... like you are the best and so on..