This street named Mauerstraße was really interesting, as it did not only lead us to the Museum of Communication which we had not intended to visit but also past Bethlehemskirchplatz.
First you have no idea what this piece of modern art on the little square is all about. But it is much more than just a ball of something indefinite, held together by ropes. Even a ladder, chairs, and pots are attached to this ball-shaped conglomerate of various items. The name of the sculpture is “Houseball” and was created by the artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Brüggen. It symbolises with how little belongings once the first Bohemian immigrants arrived in Berlin, and founded their community in this area. They lived in exile there, having had to leave their Catholic homecountry because they were Protestants.
The sculpture is sitting at the site of those Bohemians’ former church named Bethlehemskirche. This church was built by those people from 1735 to 1737 and therefore also known as Bohemian Church.
It had a round floorplan with a diametre of about 15 metres. To all four points of the compass were the arms of the cross, and three had entrances to the church. The eastern end of the cross was shaped like a semi-circle and included the altar and the pulpit above. On the western side was the organ. At a height of 15 metres the dome started, and in total the church was 37.90 metres high. In World War II the church was damaged and cleared away.
At its former site you find the original floorplan marked in the pavement with coloured bricks. In 1999 the square was named Bethlehemkirchplatz after the church that once stood there. The “Houseball” is sitting right next to the floorplan on the pavement.
On this website you see the floormarkings rather well, and also the whole Houseball:
We did not plan to have a look at the Museum of Communication. We just happened to pass at this impressive building on our way from Checkpoint Charlie to Gendarmenmarkt, and I thought it would be more interesting to walk through Mauerstraße than Friedrichstraße LOL
The building at the corner of Mauerstraße and Leipziger Straße is, as said, spectacular. It was built from 1893 to 1897, and profoundly restored from 1996 to 2000. The museum was founded as the world’s first post museum, and opened in 1898 as the successor of a museum at another location, founded in 1872.
Some exhibits remind strongly of this past, for example you can admire the legendary Blue Mauritius stamp, the first telephones invented by Philipp Reis, and robots. In interactive zones you can test some methods of communication. In multi-media areas you get an introduction into the central issues of the history and the means of communication. And just one thing: I have studied sciences of communications before the multi-media and internet age, and this was definetely more boring than this museum ;-)
During World War II most of the exhibits were kept at a safe place and after the war taken to Frankfurt where the Bundespostmuseum was founded. The building in East Berlin was superficially restored and used as a postmuseum. In West Berlin they opened a Berlin post and telecommunications museum in 1966. After the reunification and the restoration of the East Berlin building to its former glory the two Berlin museums were reunited.
On the internet you will find a virtual tour of the museum in English. The museum also has a shop and a restaurant.
Open Tue – Fri 9am – 5pm, Sat, Sun and Public Holidays 10am – 6pm
Entry fee 3 Euro, children up to 15 years free
Guided tours, phone (030) 202 94 204
Leipziger Straße 15, 10117 Berlin-Mitte
U-Bahn U2 and U6 Stadtmitte, U2 Mohrenstraße
If you come from Checkpoint Charlie, cross Zimmerstraße, Mauerstraße is a diagonal street to the left of Friedrichstraße.
The official Botschaftsviertel is south of Tiergarten, with the touristic highlight of the modern fairy-tale building with the embassies of the United Arab Emirates in Hiroshima-Straße. Also the northern European countries have made a joint effort in Rauchstraße.
However, most embassies and consulates are now located east of Tiergarten, in an area where also the heart of German politics is, between the river Spree/Reichstag/Brandenburger Tor in the north and Kochstraße/Rudi-Dutschke-Straße (near Checkpoint Charlie) in the south, Ebertstraße in the west and the Spree/Museumsinsel in the east.
The US American Embassy is in the procedure of shifting house from Neustädtische Kirchstraße (U-Bahn U6, Friedrichstraße) to Pariser Platz which is the square on which Brandenburger Tor is sitting. The building is south of Brandenburger Tor, at the corner of Ebertstraße and Behrenstraße. When we were there in 2007 they were still busy building. The plan is to have the people in there working in the European spring of 2008.
On our search of New Zealand’s Embassy which we found in the city map we saw a lot of impressive embassy buildings. So we thought our NZ representatives would also reside in an impressive building. But we nearly missed it because it just occupies some rooms in a big office building at the corner of Friedrichstraße and Kronenstraße. Only a small sign at the building directory, between the signs of the Association of Private Clinics, a bank and a French gas company, indicates that the embassy is there. Magnifying glasses would have been of great help to identify the sign between all the others.
But NZ is not alone in its relative insignificance: The economic and commercial offices of the Egypt Embassy are also housed in the modern building ;-)
It's just a post-office!
But when it was built in the late 19th century, this terra-cotta palace was also used as stables for post-horses. Nice to see that they treated their animals so well!
At the intersection of Orienburgerstr. and Tucholskystr., just to the north of the Spree.
An in-depth account of the last days spent in the bunker. Hitler's suicide and the now known fate of his remains.
During construction work in 1990 a huge site was discovered that could have been the quarters of the SS-drivers for Hitler. This was a sensation for historians and further exploration was undertaken to discover the walls and buildings. Suddenly the question arose: What happended with Hitler'S bunker?
The coordinates are known, but real documents of the center of the III. Reich are rare. There are no construction plans. Many years this area was covered by earth and debris near the Berlin Wall. Thereafter, the uniform GDR houses were built. Possible remains are suspected to be under a parking place.
When I walked from Brandenburg Gate to Reichstag I noticed on the right this glass passage/bridge over Dorotheenstraße which connected two buildings of Jakob-Kaiser House - the largest of the Bundestag’s new parliamentary buildings where members of the presidium of the Bundestag, its administrators, and representatives of the parties are accommodated.
All government and parliamentary buildings at Spreeside government quarter are or will be soon connected by overground bridges/passages and/or underground tunnels.
On the southern bank of Spree River close to Branderburg Gate there were these new and modern buildings on my picture.
They formed northern part of Jakob-Kaiser House - the largest of the Bundestag’s new parliamentary buildings where members of the presidium of the Bundestag, its administrators, and representatives of the parties are accommodated. In real the Jakob-Kaiser House was a complex of many both old, renovated and newly built buildings connected in space and by the same function.
I found this neglected but just under recounstruction house at the corner of Unter den Linden (No 10-11) and Schadowstraße very close to Branderburg Gate. Johann Gottfried Schadow, German Neoclassical Sculptor (1764-1850), creator of the Quadriga put on the Brandenburg Gate lived and worked there. There was commemorating table put on the building.
Maybe they should open Branderburg Gate museum there when they finish to renovate the building. It would be great location close to the Branderburg Gate and they could display some other than Quadriga works of Schadow, old and new pictures of the Gate, show movies and tell the story of the world's famous place and edifice. Bad idea? Just my dream :-).
What do you think?
When I wanted to visit Branderburg Gate and Reichstag first I had to find a parking place. After driving around a few minutes I managed to park my car at Schadowstraße. At the northern end of this street I noticed this renovated and pretty building on my picture. It housed "Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung" that was Press and Information Center of German Federal Government, right? :-)
By the way this district is still under renovation and houses a lot of federal institutons and a few embassies (including Polish and American).
Although Germany and Berlin spent a lot of energy and money to renovate neglected areas esp. in former East Berlin and close to former wall there is still a lot of to do. So, Berlin still is a city of contrasts which I found very interesting.
Not far from the most modern and "high-energy" Potsdamer Paltz I could find neglected areas like on my picture taken from the S-bahn train somewhere in Mitte.
The Hackesche Höfe is a recently restored complex of courtyards. The main entrance is from Rosenthaler Strasse (S-Bahn to Hackesche Markt). Inside this lovely complex are cafés, exhibitions, shops, ... Walk around the area before or after your visit to them to feel like you're in a small town while actually you're in the middle of Berlin.
The Tacheles Complex on Oranienburger Straße, built in 1907 was one of the largest warehouses in town in its time. World War II took its toll on this building and the results are still visible today as you can see in this picture. a good portion of the back side of this building was blown out. This didn't stop squatting artists from occupying the building and saving it from demolition in the early 1990s. The building today is home to artist studios, a cafe and a few bars. The building has actually been fixed up a bit since I first visited in 1998 but its war scared character has been retained. Some of the original spirit still remains however I fear that the mainstream has been moving in and will soon completely commercialize the area. It's hard to keep a good thing a secret. Check it out before it's completely lost it's charm.
Oranienburger Str is a street full of surprises. Hidden bars, galleries, shops and nightclubs seem to be the norm. Surprises await you up stairs, down alleys and in buildings that seem uninhabited. An artists dream come true. The night life is also full of great music and friendly people. The best way to find something to do is word of mouth as it seem that there are many hidden treasures in this part of town
UPDATE: Sadly this area, like many ares of Berlin in recent years, has drastically changed. I originally visited this area in 1998 and found it as described above. When returning in 2001 I found many upscale shops, bars and restaurants. Luckily some of the artists still remain but the raising rent and refurbishing of buildings has driven a lot of them out. It's still worth a visit but not as exciting as it once was.
wandering around the neighbourhood, there are alot of interesting things to see. nearby, there was a flea market, with lots of cool historical artifacts. i was trying to find a Mitte bus stop sign, but i think everyone else bought it. i was going to buy an old war helmet, but i dont think that would go to well at the airport, or on my backpack. also nearby there was a beach near the river. i found it odd that there was a beach, and some were still wearing pants... kinda thought that it defeats the whole purpose of a beach