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Alexanderplatz and Alex
The Alexanderplatz was the main place in Eastern Berlin with the big tower in its center. The square is near to the red townhall in Berlin Mitte. I was there before the wall fell down and saw it again this year and realised a lot of big changes, a mixture of east and west, of old and new (not that east = old, that´s not my idea)
Next to Alexanderplatz there is Marx-Engels-Forum, a park full of old fashioned communist style and more modern statues and fountains. The huge monument of Marx and Engels is a popular picture taking point but I also like the steel blocks you can take "Berlin Vertical" pictures with!
Visiting Berlin do not miss Alexanderplatz - Alexander Square.
They say it was named in honor of the Russian czar Alexander I at the beginning of the 19th century.
I was very impressed by the modern buildings, "Weltzeituhr" - "World Clock" and stores, cafes and restaurants.
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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.
Alexanderplatz, or Alex, as it’s known to Berliners is a windswept pedestrianised plaza doubling up as a meeting point and transport hub in what used to be East Berlin.
It was the downtown centre for the locals when it was behind the Iron Curtain and it still is today and no visit to Berlin would be complete without visiting Alex.
It’s more than likely that you’ll arrive by one of the many modes of transport that converge here. If you arrive by S Bahn head north out of the station away from the monumental TV Tower, cross the road and walk through to the plaza where the Park Inn towers over the square below.
Named in honour of a visit to Berlin by the Russian Tsar Alexander I in 1805, it started life as a cattle and wool market in the Middle Ages and has been a focal point ever since.
The square has seen many ups and downs - being seedy one minute, and upmarket the next. The 1920s and early thirties were probably its apogee when re-development brought some modern architecture of the day into the arena. Two of the buildings - the Alexanderhaus and the Berolinahaus - survived the 2nd World War and are still standing today.
What we mainly see now though is largely a product of the GDR’s idea of a downtown centre for East Berlin that could rival anything that West Berlin could do, and the large department store known as Centrum (now Kaufhof) was one of the best stocked shops in Eastern Germany.
The Hotel Stadt Berlin (now the Park Inn) was built in the late 1960s, as was the World Clock and Friendship among Nations Fountain. The Fountain is near the Park Inn and the clock is in the eastern part (far side) of the plaza.
Being a focal point meant that it attracted a fair number of demonstrations over the years but none bigger than the anti-government rally just before the wall came down in Nov 1989. It’s been estimated that up to a million people joined the demonstration.
Now that the wall has come down it has become popular with Berliners and visitors alike. It also means that it hasn’t escaped the attention of developers either and several of the buildings around the square have had a makeover. So far no major development has taken place to alter the GDR concept of the square but on the other side of the railway station construction work has already started next to the TV Tower.
I’ve always regarded this area as an extension to Alexanderplatz and has its own appealing features and so I wouldn’t like to see it change too much either.
During the communist years it could well have seemed quite a soulless place at times but I don’t think it’s necessary to rush headlong into transforming it into just another commercial square like so many others - and I’d like to think that Berliners see it the same way and keep Alex as a special part of their extraordinary history.
No longer recognisable from the old novel "Berlin Alexanderplatz", this is today a GDR legacy full of ugly buildings such as the Park-Inn (former Forum) hotel. Nevertheless, it is a hub in Berlin and people flock to see the famous world clock. Me? I agree with Sabsi, it must have been sooo frustrating to be stuck in the GDR and see all those times from around the world, knowing that you could not go there.
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The central square in Berlin-Mitte, the former East-Berlin. Here Eastern architect used all their skills to build a square that looks like there was some concrete left and they didn't know where to put it. Some of the buildings are ugly, some are very ugly. But you can also find some great Sovjet style murals at some buildings here.
The tourist attraction on Alexanderplatz is the Fernsehturm of course. But there's also the world time clock here. How cruel it was to show the people of East Berlin the time in all the places they could never go to...
Here you can see one of my very few pictures from Pre-1989 East Berlin by the way. I was too busy spending my 25 Mark der DDR to take pictures unfortunately.
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Following the U-Bahn Freidrichstrasse you can take it to Alexanderplatz.
A lumbering radio tower sits smack dab-in-the-middle of what was formerly a typical standardized mass-produced experiment in a socialist architecture.
It’s worth the visit just because it presents one with a panoramic canvas of diametric worldviews: communist/capitalist, then/now, bland/grand and so on.
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.
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There is plenty to see and do at Alexanderplatz. There are many restaurants and bars as well as the TV tower which offers spectacular views across the city. If you want to do some shopping then visit the Galeria Kaufhof. Alex is also easy to get to as there is a main train station as well as trams and buses.
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Fernseturm (Tv Tower) at Alexanderplatz, with its height of 368 metres is among the tallest structures in Europe. It is part of WFGT, World Federation of Great Towers. The tower was constructed between 1965 to 1969, by the former GDR administration who intended it a asymbol of Berlin. Inside the shaft are two lifts that shuttle visitor up to the sphere within 40 seconds. The observation floor is at 204 height with the platform turning once per hour.
The Fernsehturm (TV Tower) and Alexanderplatz
The television tower, high over Alexanderplatz, is probably East Berlin's most iconic image - its Eiffel Tower, if less attractive. When the Wall came down, some people said that the television tower should also be removed, but it's such a recognizable part of the skyline that it would be a real shame. The tower was put up in the late 1970s to show that the East was as capable as the West of engineering marvels, which made it all the more embarrassing when it was revealed that they'd had the help of a firm of Swedish engineers!
The globe at the top of the tower has spectacular views over Berlin, as you would expect, and also a restaurant, which slowly revolves; it's fairly expensive, without being spectacular, but you're paying for the unusual location as much as the food.
The rest of Alexanderplatz is considerably less appealing: it was re-built in the GDR era in the hopes of impressing people with massive blocks of concrete, something that was a predictable failure, and today the traffic is extremely off-putting (especially if you happen to be in it). The open plaza in front of the Alexanderplatz S-Bahn station is generally wind-swept, and appealing mainly to skateboarders, but when there are outdoor markets here it can be a fun stop (Christmas is a good time).
Worldtime Clock displays the time for various cities around the world. The clock face can incorporate multiple round analogue clocks with moving hands or multiple digital clocks with numeric readouts. The each clock is labelled with the name of a major city or time zone in the world. A moving circular map of the world rotating inside a stationary 24 hour dial ring.
Worldtime Clock was constructed in 1969.
The original Alexanderplatz was completely destroyed during the War. Its present day appearance is a good example of East German town planning: a huge, windswept pedestrian area surrounded by featureless 1960s high-rises.
In the picture, you can see the famous Weltzeituhr, showing the times around the world-
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Alexanderplatz and the world time watch
The world time watch - Weltzeituhr stands on the Alexanderplatz since 1969.
Alexanderplatz was heavily damaged during the war was totally reconstructed in the years after 1965. Formerly called Ochsenplatz, got its today's name on the occasion of a visit of the Russian car Alexander I in 1805.
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