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The former Architecture of Alexanderplatz
A lot of buildings have been demolished around Alex after the reunification but you can still see the character of the 1960s architecture. Ugly concrete skyscrapers adorned by even interesting facades with colourful painted scenes of socialist life. A very propaganda-like look.
But I must admit, I liked it on my revisit, as it reminded me of the time long gone by, and the days when we succeeded to smuggle pocket calculators and Led Zeppelin LP’s into the East, and queued in front of the bookshops on Alex to spend our East-Marks we were forced to exchange on entering GDR, and everything was so cheap that spending the money was really a problem if you did not want to have lunch three times within an hour ;-)
A big Building Site for quite a While
When we visited in August 2007 the square was a huge building site, with fences, cranes, diggers and ditches everywhere. You could already imagine that some day also this monumental square will get new life.
Quite good examples of reviving Alexanderplatz are the huge renovated department stores Kaufhof and C&A, the latter now being in the former Berolinahaus.
Centre of the East has become the Centre of it All
This was the place where we met up with relatives from the East when we visited Berlin during the times of German separation, mostly at the Weltuhr (World Time Clock) – sorry, forgot to take a picture of that on our last visit LOL
On and around the Square that everybody calls Alex you find an array of important buildings, as the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft (Peoples Friendship Fountain), Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church), Neptunbrunnen (Neptune Fountain), Rotes Rathaus (Red Town Hall), today known and used as the Berliner Rathaus (Berlin Town Hall) and the historic Berolinahaus – today transformed into a huge department store (C&A).
The Alex was the centre of East Berlin, and thanks to the dominant 368 metres high Fernsehturm we never forgot about our Ossi brothers LOL
Alex is named after the Russian Tsar Alexander I who visited in 1805. Then it was a suburb and had conserved its rural character. Cattle fairs were held here, and the surrounding barracks used the area as a site for parades. Only when the S-Bahn was finished in 1882 and a central market hall built in 1886, the Alex started to become the most important traffic and shopping area for Berlin’s eastern suburbs. A big department store (1904 to 1911) was added, and also the U-Bahn got a stop there (in 1913). Due to traffic jams and chaos, a roundabout was built around the square in 1928.
During World War II the area was terribly destroyed, so the square was redesigned, firstly by expanding its size, so it lost its enclosed character. You nearly got lost in the huuuuuuuuuuuge pedestrian area, surrounded by multi-lane roads for the through-traffic.
Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft (Friendship Fount.)
Although the name of this fountain on Alexanderplatz is Friendship Fountain of Nations (or: Peoples) we had the impression is was a place for gay guys to find and reinforce their friendships LOL We nearly felt like outsiders, being straight LOL
Well, this might have been a coincidence on this particular day. But it is clear that this fountain is a very popular meeting place. The wide rims are perfect for sitting down, chatting and watching people.
Nothing special about this fountain from GDR times. The main materials are copper sheets, coloured tiles, enamelled plates and glass crystals, reflecting the sunlight in the water.
The major feature are 17 water-crowned rhombae-shaped bowls on sturdy legs, placed in spiral order in a round two-storey basin. The water fountains spiral their way down from one bowl to the next until it reaches the big upper basin. The outside of this basin has a very colourful enamal design, matching the colours of the nearby World Time Clock, so mainly from yellow over orange to red, and featuring butterflies, flowers and trees. From this basin the water flows into the exterior basin through several openings.
Well, surely you will go here...
I have said previously that public transport in Berlin is really good. Yet, it has a peculiarity, specially the U-Bahn (Metro) system: it was built (partly at least) for two cities, not one. So, when we try to know which is the main communication centre... well there are two at least. The one in the East is, without any doubt, Alexanderplatz. I don't find it is really a beautiful place, but for people like me, who has lived all his life in a capitalist country, its architecture and even its ugliness it is really peculiar. From Alexanderplatz the public transport system is completed also with trams, in addition to U-bahn and S-bahn. Therefore, you must be aware of this fact when crossing the streets, it might be dangerous not to be aware.
He comentado antes que el sistema de transporte publico en Berlin es realmente bueno. Aun asi, tiene una peculiaridad, especialmente el U-Bahn (Metro): fue construido (al menos en parte) para dos ciudades y no una. Asi que cuando uno intenta saber cual es el principal nudo de comunicaciones... bueno, como minimo hay dos. El de la zona oriental es, sin ninguna duda, Alexanderplatz. No me parece que sea en verdad un lugar bonito, pero para gente como yo, que haya vivido toda su vida en un pais capitalista, su arquitectura e incluso su fealdad es verdaderamente peculiar. Desde Alexanderplatz, el sistema de transporte publico se completa con tranvias. Debes tener en cuenta esto cuando cruces las calles, podria ser peligroso no prestar atencion.
This was a big square in the East sector and is worth seeing only to see how the East is run down. There are a few attractions here, but the fountain is derelict and the 'world clock' just looks dated and a bit crap - it now serves to shelter the drunks and dodgy characters that hang round Alexanderplatz from the rain.
The department store on the square is however, very good and has a great restaurant on the top floor. It's also near the TV tower which is worth a look.
If you are British and miss the slightly ropey clothing chain store C&A that closed in the UK a few years back, there's one here.
The station can get you most places in the city as it is connects a lot of lines.
World Time Clock
If you get time have a walk around Alexanderplatz. There are many interesting things to see, in the summer it is a nice spot to sit and have a bite to eat or a cold drink and do not miss a photo opportunity at the World Time Clock.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
When in Berlin you can't miss this place, first of all because it's the main square of the town, then because it's a "hub" for all the main lines of public transportation. I'd suggest you to take a look to Neptune fountain, in the middle of the square and beside that, enter to visit the Marien Church (Kirche): it's famous for the masterpiece representing the "dance of deads". Of course from Alexander Platz you can admire the TV tower, a point of reference for the Berliners. Interesting to see the world clock that you find out of the U-Bahn.
Alexander Platz Fountain
Watch your step!!!!! This is a great place to relax in the heat, but the footing within the fountain is very slippery. Including a couple of kids in our group, there were at least 6 people face down in the fountain looking for dry clothes within about 2 hours.
Alexander Platz is an area in the old Russian part of Berlin. It is clearly a more run down part of the city then areas such as the Unter Der Linden. However, it is a must see in terms of people watching in the city. It is a great place to start the walk back through the city towards the western side. Sit down and people watch at the fountain and then start your walk towards the Berliner Dome. Be careful in the fountain....it is slippery.
The height of the Television tower is 365 m. It was built simultaneously with Ostankino tower in Moscow, and they are strongly similar. However our tower is on the surburb of Moscow, and Berliner Tower is in the city centre. It is not pleasant for me, I consider, it is nothing to do in historical city centre. But it became a symbol of East Berlin, and probably everybody have got used to it.
In the center of former East Berlin - is Alexander Plaz.
Berliners name its - Square Alex in honour of the Russian emperor Alexander the First on the occasion of his stay in Berlin. The next square is named Marx's and Engels. Very close there are Charles Libkneht and Clara Tsetkin's streets. It is surprising, that Germans have kept names of founders of communism in names of streets and the squares, being guided by which ideas experiment has been put in East Germany . The experiment, thanks to God, has failed. However, there are streets Vilgelmshtrasse and Fridrihstrasse perpendicular to these streets, named in memory of Prussian emperors.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Alexanderplatz was formerly a market place, but nowadays it provides the visitor no impression of being an place with a past. All buildings around are from Cold War time ("modern" is not a suitable word to describe them, in fact), because the square was completely destroyed during the Second World War. One of the non-modern-but-relatively-new attractions in the square is the World Time Clock, which shows the time for most important cities of the world. It is not beautiful nor interesting, but providing that you will surely go to Alexanderplatz, to take a photo is a must.
Alexanderplatz era originariamente un mercado, pero hoy en dia no da al visitante la impresion de ser un lugar con pasado. Todos los edificios de la plaza son de la epoca de la Guerra Fria ("moderno" no es una palabra adecuada para describirlos), porque la plaza fue totalmente destruida durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Una de las atracciones relativemente nuevas (que no modernas) en la plaza es el Reloj Mundial, que da la hora
de las ciudades mas importantes del mundo. No es bonito ni interesante, pero teniendo en cuenta que seguro que iras a Alexanderplatz, hay que sacarse una foto alli.
feel the east
Despite upgrades you still can feel the flair of the former east german capital on this square in my opinion, which is not ment to be a bad thing. This is because of the architecture, which is almost kept as it has stayed for the years. Alexanderplatz is a big changing place between traffic mediums such as several U and S Bahn trains, tram, bus and a great starting point for city walks and for reaching the "Fernsehturm", the television tower. Its cube is now redone like a giant football for the Football World Cup 2006.
Alex is the short for Alexanderplatz, is also a shopping place due to its department store and other shops. Take particular care to see the World Time Clock, as shown in the pic.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
The so-called Alex
Alexanderplatz is a really famous square in Berlin, a place of a big importance & a meeting point. It's very easily accesible by any kind of transportation & there's also lots of big shopping malls, cafés, book stores etc. Be sure never to be late & let die Weltzeituhr [the World Clock] remind you of the time!
I used to meet everyone under that clock, because it's very easy to find. But people also meet by the neptune fountain, which is a bit to the inside of the square.
As in the whole Berlin, there's something being built or re-built all the time, so you'll see a lot of that on Alexanderplatz. Even with all those high buildings & shopping malls, the square tends to grow...
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