Art and Culture, Berlin
Bauhaus, art style and school from 1920-1930. Purpose was 'design for everybody'. Shocking with it's modern look and design. The school was founded at Weimar, later moved to Dessau. Walter Gropius, the founder, was very proud at his anti-academic way of teaching. The base of the Bauhaus educational
program were the many workshops. There the students were trained in creativity and learned from many
artists to develop their own style (Johannes Itten, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky). visit the bauhaus
school and museum in Dessau and learn the extraordinary history of the bauhaus.
Berlin - Culture and Art
As one of Europe's leading cultural centers, Berlin has always impressed visitors with its diversity of museums, palaces and historic edifices. Berlin's historic significance as a former royal residence comes alive on almost every corner, especially in the eastern part of the city. Three opera houses, a large number of theaters, cinemas, cabarets and the renowned Berliner Philharmonie offer cultural experiences for everyone.
Situated at the end of the Tiergarten, the Brandenburger Gate is the most famous and beloved sight in Berlin. Walking eastward from there on the grand old boulevard 'Unter den Linden', passing by the State Opera, Hedwig's Cathedral or the Old Museum, one can experience a microcosm of history.
One of the most magnificent sights is the Gendarmenmarkt with the French and the German Cathedral and the Schauspielhaus, constructed by Schinkel in classicist style. A statue of Schiller reminds one of Germany's great tradition of mind and muse.
No trip to Berlin would be complete without visiting the Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam. This is the place where the famous terraces, designed by Knobelsdorff, Neues Palais and the Orangerie can be found. In contrast, the buildings erected for the IBA (Internationale Bauausstellung) provide a guide through Berlin's most recent architectural trends.
Set in a landscape of expansive lakes and forests, there are many possibilities to enjoy Berlin's outdoors. The Grunewald Forest and Lake Wannsee cover a large area of the western part of the city and can easily be reached by a short ride on the S-Bahn.
Since the reunification, there are wonderful opportunities to take excursions, for example, a boat-ride on the river Spree passing by the Reichstagsgebäude and Pergamon Museum through the historic inner city - all the way to the Spreewald southeast of Berlin, crisscrossed by hundreds of romantic channels.
In the decade since the fall of the Berlin Wall the city has emerged as one of Europe's most culturally vibrant cities, infused with a unique blend of Western and Eastern European cultures.
In the twentieth century Berlin was the cradle of German cinema, with seminal films such as Metropolis (1927) and other works of German expressionism. The 1930 film, Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel), starring Marlene Dietrich was based on Heinrich Mann's novel Professor Unrath, and catapulted her to stardom as the sexy cabaret singer, Lola Lola. Berlin earned itself a reputation for decadence in the 1920s and 1930s, which were recaptured to good effect in the 1972 film, Cabaret. More recent works have included Wim Wenders' Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire), in which two angels watch over the divided city from the Siegessäule.
In Berlin today there are world-class theatre and opera performances and a comprehensive array of museums and galleries to choose from. Beyond this, there are all the expressions of the counter culture for which Berlin is famous. Although remnants remain in Kreuzberg, the most avant-garde artists have moved to Mitte and, increasingly, to Prenzlauer Berg.
Tickets to cultural events can be purchased through Berlin Tourismus Marketing (tel: (030) 250 025 (reservations) or (0190) 754 040 (hotline; calls charged at DM2.24 per minute); from outside Germany tel: (01805) 754 040) or through most venues directly.
Music: The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is renowned worldwide. Their performance space, the Philharmonie, matches their reputation, Herbert-von-Karajan-Strasse 1 (tel: (030) 254 880 or 2548 8132 (information); tel: (030) 2548 8126 or 2548 8194 (ticket office); fax: (030) 261 4887 or 2548 8323 (ticket office); e-mail: email@example.com; website: www.berlin-philharmonic.com). The Kammermusiksaal der Philharmonie is its smaller neighbour, hosting chamber players, soloists and small orchestras. Berlin's most elegant venue for classical music is the Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt, Gendarmenmarkt 2 (tel: (030) 2030 92101 or 2030 92102).
Berlin's premier venue for opera, ballet and concerts was built in 1741-43 as the Court Opera House. Today, the Staatsoper is under the artistic and musical direction of Daniel Barenboim. It is at Unter den Linden 7 (tel: (030) 2035 4555 or 2035 4438 (information); fax: (030) 2035 4483; website: www.staatsoper-berlin.org). The Deutsche Oper Berlin, located in the west of the city, at Richard-Wagner-Strasse 10 (tel: (030) 343 8401; fax: (030) 3438 4232), stages classical and modern opera, as well as ballet, operettas and concerts. The Komische Oper Berlin opened in 1947, performances include music, dance and concerts at Behrenstrasse 55-57 (tel: (030) 20 260-0; fax: (030) 2026 0405; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.komische-oper-berlin.de).
Theatre: The Deutsches Theater und Kammerspiele, Schumannstrasse 38 (tel: (030) 2844 1225; fax: (030) 282 4117; website: www.deutsches-theater.berlin/net), mounts contemporary productions as well as nineteenth- and twentieth-century plays. The neo-Baroque Berliner Ensemble was built before the turn of the century as the Neues Theater. It was taken over by Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel, and continues to show perfomances from Brecht's works, as well as classical and modern pieces, Bertolt-Brecht-Platz 1 (tel: (030) 2840 8155 (recorded information and voice mail service); fax: (030) 2840 8115; website: www.berliner-ensemble.de). For non-conformist and unconventional theatre and dance, the Volksbühne, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz (tel: (030) 240 655; fax: (030) 2406 5642) is one of the top addresses.
Dance: The Hebbel-Theater, Stresemannstrasse 29 (tel: (030) 2590 0427 (recorded information on events); fax: (030) 2590 0449; e-mail: email@example.com; website: www.hebbel.theater.de), is one of the centres for contemporary dance and opera in Europe. It also hosts the TanzWinter and Tanz im August dance festivals.
Film: The Berlin Film Festival (website: www.berlinale.de) is one of the most important on the circuit and the Berlin Bear prize is almost as highly valued as the legendary Palme d'Or. The film festival takes place in February and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2000. At other times, it is possible to see English-language films at many of the city's cinemas. Weekly film listings are printed on posters, which are displayed throughout the city. Tip and Zitty also have listings. In summer, there are popular outdoor film screenings in the Volkspark Hasenheide and at the Waldbühne near the Olympic Stadium.
Cultural events: Berlin offers a number of multi-disciplinary venues, which offer a range of cultural events throughout the year. Haus der Kulturen der Welt, John-Foster-Dulles Allee 10, in the Tiergarten (tel: (030) 397 870; fax: (030) 394 8679), hosts concerts, theatre, films, readings and more, with a remit to spotlight non-European cultures. Tacheles, Oranienburger Strasse 54-56 (tel: (030) 282 6185; fax: (030) 282 3130; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.tacheles.de), is an avant-garde, somewhat anarchic, cultural centre in the bombed out shell of a former department store. One of Berlin's more poignant venues is the Tränenpalast (Palace of Tears), Reichstagsufer 17 (tel: (0172) 640 3535), is where West Berliners visiting East Berlin had to pass through. Today, it hosts theatre, films and concert.
Der Stechlin (1898), Theodor Fontane's late nineteenth-century novel has the Stechlinsee in the dark Menzer Forest to the southeast of Berlin as its setting. Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929) is Alfred Döblin's epic tale of the city. Also from the inter-war period are Christopher Isherwood's The Berlin Stories which contains two novels Mr Norris Changes Trains (1935) and Goodbye to Berlin (1939). They depict Berlin in the pre-Hitler years of the decadent Weimar Republic. Bertolt Brecht moved to Berlin in 1924 and stayed there until 1933, when he fled after the burning of the Reichstag. He directed and wrote many of his early plays here, most successfully Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) which opened in 1928. Berlin's post-war appearances in English writing have tended to be of the spy novel genre - fitting, as the city was the front line of the Cold War. Robert Harris' Fatherland (1993) is a disturbing speculative fiction of Berlin based on the premise that the Nazis had not lost the war. Peter Schneider's The Wall Jumper (1984) is a mixed genre meditation on the Berlin Wall.
Do not leave Berlin before you've seen a cabaret or a drag queen show. These are genuine Berliner things with a long tradition started in decadent 20's when Berlin was pretty much what Amsterdam is today. If you're an avid reader familiar with Doeblin and Isherwood, you won't have problem recognising the lingering spirit of Berlin, Alexanderplatz and Goodbye to Berlin.
BERLIN 'FUNK'.... Berlin is a city with a distinct attutide, and one of my favorite examples of this feeling is the city's many 'funky' sculptures, like the one shown here (near Ku'damm Sqaure).