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Marzahn was once a showcase of Honecker's efforts to create model town for the citizens of the GDR but unfortunately little is left of its original idea. I am not sure about this but I have a feeling that this was also one of the first models of new united Germany dealing with "ugly communist buildings". During the renewal process someone obviously had too much of the colour paint - almost every balcony is painted differently and some facades now look like the best examples of tropical parrots.
Like modernist architecture, landscape architecture of the time was also reserved, abstract and mainly monochromatic with just few shades of green. But those in charge of the renewal obviously saw it as empty and needed to "decorate" a bit. Now a new park features flowers of all colours, chinese and japanese temples and ponds with goldfish. It is simply "too beautiful" for me to show a photo on my page.
After a short wander around Marzahn I quickly saw what happened here and soon left it from the derelict S-bahn station that shows the new problems Marzahn is today facing: it is known as area where unemployment is high and so is the crime rate. Transition from the East to West wasn't easy and cannot be felt on Potsdamer Platz or Unter der Linden. It is places like Marzahn that one has to visit in order to get more real picture, and no new color on balconies can hide all the problems behind.
Wohngebiet am Springpfuhl
My plan for the morning was to visit one of the typical 1970s neighbourhoods of former East Berlin and I originally headed to Marzahn but couldn't resist the beauty of the residential towers along the Allee der Kosmonauten so I left the S-bahn two stops early. And I didn't regret since high-rise development of the Wohngebiet am Springfuhl is real beauty of its time. I know most people will say it is a terrible mistake done by the former communist government of the GDR but in fact it was the only possible answer to the problem of housing shortage in the context of that time - a model town that followed all principles of the modernist architecture. Housing blocks are accompanied by shopping facilities, schools and kindergardens, cinemas and swimming pools all set in nice composition among the vast green areas. S-bahn offers quick links to the center of Berlin while trams and buses connect smaller residential areas.
Almost all buildings were recently renewed and this was done well, improving the insulation of the buildings, adding solar cells on facades etc but without destroying the original appearance of the buildings.
S-bahn S7, S75 to Springpfuhl
The Spandau Citadel
The Spandau Citadel is one of the best preserved Renaissance fortresses in Germany and gives an impression of how people in the 16th century tried to defend themselves against their enemies, it is also the oldest remaining structure in Berlin. The oldest part of the fortification is the Juliusturm (Julius Tower) which dates back to 1160 and served as a keep. For many years it also served as a prison for prisoners of state. The tower also served as home to 120,000,000 gold marks, stored in 1,200 boxes and was paid to Germany by the French as reparations from the war of 1870/1. Barracks on the northern side of the site were used during the 1930’s for chemical weapons research. The citadel is surrounded by a moat and stands at the confluence of the Spree and Havel rivers. Today it is used for cultural events and serves as a winter home for 10,000 bats. The Citadel is open Tues-Fri 9am-5pm; Sat-Sun 10am-5pm and costs 2.5E for adults & 1.5E for children. It is located at Am Juliusturm and the closest station is U-Bahn: Zitadelle.
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
As most people know much of Berlin was destroyed or damaged in WWII, then later it was broken up and divided during the Cold War times. Some areas you can go to and have a sense of what Berlin was like before all of that. Steglitz-Zehlendorf is such an area, its in the southwest. A lot calmer than many places of Berlin, more natural. More to come...The pic is of the Bali Kino at Teltower Damm 33 14169 Berlin-Zehlendorf +49 (30) 811 46 78
This the area also featuring the beauty Grosser Wannsee, its a lovely area of lake with sports activity, nice parks, sailing, and resort area. The link is great to see fotos there and events which happen.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
The Kulturforum is home to many of Berlin's artistic and cultural venues. Within a short disance of each other are the Gemäldegalerie (Painting Gallery), the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery), the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Applied Arts), the Philharmonie and the Staatsbibliothek (State Library).
The US Berlin Brigade
In a moving ceremony the Berlin Brigade, which had existed for 49 years, was dissolved on July 12th 1994 by Bill Clinton, the US President then in office. The ceremony took place in Berlin Lichterfelde on the 4th of July Platz, very next to the McNair Barracks. Berlin was reunited and a free city again. The US mission was finished, the Berliners had to say "Good bye" to their American friends. They never forget what the Allies had done for them in the past. In the State of Georgia, a Berlin-Zehlendorf local was honored (2006) for creating a website for keeping alive the memories of former Berlin Brigade members (BBDE) and US-Allies. In honoring this Zehlendorfer, the Americans are thanking Reinhard von Bronewski (59), who has maintained his homepage www.berlin-brigade.de in memory of his American friends.
- Historical Travel
I stopped in Steglitz for a coffee on my way to Potsdam. It's an affluent, residential area in south-west Berlin. My guidebook didn't say much at all about Steglitz so I'm not really sure what there is to see here. The distinctive Rathaus was the most eye-catching building in the area. I'd like to have spend time wandering around but had to leave soon after for Potsdam.
Spandau is a town on the outskirts of Berlin, which is worth a visit but really only if you have plenty of time in Berlin. It’s an easy day-trip from Berlin and there are three U-Bahn stations on line 7 serving the area.
Spandau is best known for its Zitadelle, built in the 16th century to protect the city. The old town centre is well worth exploring and another interesting sight is Spandau Prison, close to the Zitadelle. Many prominent Nazis were imprisoned here after WW2, including Albert Speer, and Rudolf Hess, Hitler's former deputy, who was died here after committing suicide in 1997.
- Historical Travel
This lake was really popular with Berliners during the days when Berlin was a divided city. For some it was too much of a hassle to travel so this area bcame Berlins seaside. The lake is very large with plenty of beaches, cafes and bars. It is still a popular spot in the summer but does get a bit crowded.
- Family Travel
- Hiking and Walking
We went to Berlin-Spandau, a district in the north-west, because of it's well known Christmas market. It's located in the old town center and has about 400 stands with crafts, gifts, food and much more. It's well worth a visit and I gained some pounds just by walking by all the stands with mulled wine, crepes, grilled steak, bratwurst, waffles and much more.
By the way, the whole area around the old town quare of Spandau is a pedestrian zone.
Although it is easy to find a nice park to walk through in Berlin, just on the outskirts are many forested areas.
Tegel has a very nice forest with two lakes. One lake is closed off to publicas it is a bird sancturay and the other is popular with locals in the summer as it has several beaches and gets quite busy. But the forest itself has many trails through it and is popular with dog owners as they can let the dogs run free.
There is plenty of birdlife to spot and the forestry dept. has placed many bird boxes to the trees. I have spotted several species of bird in here including spotted woodpecker, jay and even buzzard.
On the rare occasion derr may be found here and there are also several families of wild boar.
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park
Okay you may fly in to Tegel airport and depart from there, but apart from that you are unlikely to visit Alt Tegel. Well, that would be a shame as Tegel has a very nice town centre and a pedestrian street that leads you down to the Lake. There are many bars and restaurants and in the summer it is really nice to sit outside and enjoy a drink or bite to eat and watch the locals. During the day there are many boat trips available around the lake with boats serving food and drink and at weekends they have party boats which do just that.
Easy to find just hop on U6 to Alt Tegel and do a left out of the station.
Berlin is not only interesting in its central part, but some suburbs also. Firstly, I made very good impression about Spandau. In medieval times it was another town, even older than Berlin, but later it was incorporated to capital of Germany. It has cozy old town, Gothic church and the main sightseeing spot – Spandau citadel.
Another interesting place is suburb, called Kreuzberg. It is suburb, where Turkish emigrants loved to stay. As I read, it was a place, where kebab appeared, but the one as a fast food (I was thinking it was in Turkey).
Charlottenburg suburb is one more interesting suburb, where more or less rich people live. The main sight is Charlottenburg palace and park – summer residence.
La Tour Eiffel de Berlin
If you've missed the Eiffel Tower in Paris, here's its little brother. You'll find in in front of the Centre Francais in Berlin-Wedding. The centre offers, apart from information about exchange programs, accommodation and food.
You'll find it at Müllerstr. 74, U-Bhf Rehberge or Afrikanische Str.
EX railway station - now covered by trees and plants and home for many birds and insects.
Some steelsculptures in the landscape, nice for a short walk.
And no dogs allowed there - time to relax!
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