Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
This monument and area is worth a visit only because it was created during the GDR days and probably would not exist today. Ernst Thälmann was leader of the German Communist Party during the Weimar Republic. When the National Socialists came to power he was arrested, held in solitary confinement for 11 years before being shot at Buchenwald Concentration Camp on the orders of Adolf Hitler in 1944. After WW2 Thälmann was widely honoured the same as other communist leaders. The decision to build a monument and an estate to honour Thälmann on the site of a former gas works was not a wise one and work had to be carried out to remove dangerous pollutants after the project was completed. The bronze statue was erected in 1986 and is 14m high by 15m wide and weighs 50 tonnes. The statue has been the target of graffiti which is removed at regular periods. After the fall of the wall there was a lot of pressure to have the statue removed but it survived and is now is a listed monument. Besides the park there is a housing estate to accommodate 4,000 and a number of other facilities.
Having Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg mentioned together would have been reasonable if it was 2006. But in 2013, these two quarters are very different from one another, and both are very different then it used to be.
Prenzlauerberg (and for a lesser extent Kreuzberg), formerly a student habitat, has become a fancy bourgeois neighborhood. Prices of housing went up considerably, as the price tags in shops.
Prenzlauerberg best exemplifies the gentrification process going over all Berlin. It's no longer a place where poor students hang out - it's the place where young couples go to raise a family.
So Kruezberg is kind of the-new-Prenzlauerbeg and Neukölln, which used to be a real slum, is gradually taking over it's place as the-place for cheep housing, great pubs and caffes etc.
I found district of Kreuzberg a very interesting part of Berlin. It was artistic, multicultural, scene district of Berlin (like Mont Martre in Paris) full of ethnic minorities (Turks mainly), artistic shops and works. Its western part was richer, more luxary and less crazy, I could say.
And this district had its darker face as well: modern tower blocks which formed anonymous concrete jungle around Hallesches Tor and Kottbusser Tor. It was not the cleanest and not my favourite part of Berlin to be honest.
For me Kreuzberg was a very interesting place for shopping/eating especially at main shopping street: Bergmannstra?e and for nightlife (famous Yorckschlosschen Club and Bar for jazz and blues lovers).
Add a few interesting museums located there, hmm... I am going to visit next time - esp. the legendary Checkpoint Charlie, the Wall on Niederkirchnerstra?e and the Jewish Museum.
Near Kollwitzplatz there are two interesting old water towers, the first built in 1856 and the second in 1877. They are nicknamed Thin Hermann and Thick Hermann, and when you see them it will be obvious why they are so named. The first was built and it was quickly realized that it wouldn't meet the water needs of the city, so the second was built. They soon became irrelevant, however. Thick Hermann now is apartments, a good use of the unique and charming building. In 1933 a red flag flag was raised on Thin Herman as a mark of protest against Fascist terror, and since 1990 another red flag has flown to remember this event. The square surrounding the towers is a quiet park setting.
The KulturBrauerei is a building complex created out of an old brewery in PrenzlauerBurg. The fine buildings have been tastefully remodeled to house offices, a restaurant, a multi-screen cinema and cultural centers. The integrity of the old buildings are intact, including even signs that note the prior use of the buildings. Check out the web page for events taking place. It is a fine place to stop as you walk through this fine neighborhood.
At first glance this street may seem similar to others in Prenzlauer Berg, and area that has undergone much renovation and gentrification since reunification. What is different about Husemannstrasse from other streets in former East Berlin is that it was renovated during the DDR with the intention of it being a museum record of old Berlin. City planners imagined that most of the buildings in Prenzlauer Berg would be torn down and replaced with modern apartment blocks, a vision that thankfully never happened. The renovation consisted of fixing up the building facades, while completely remaking the rest of the buildings. They planned on making museums in the buildings set up as period pieces (rather like a colonial Williamsburg in US Virginia, I imagine). There is one hairdressers museum on this street, located at #8, as it would have looked around 1900.
Take note also of the street signs. They are reproductions of street signs from circa 1900, the only ones I've seen in Berlin. The second photo shows one of these signs.
Prenzlauer Berg has fascinating street scenes for anyone interested in the urban landscape. Most of the old buildings have been remodeled in the last ten years, but there are still some that look unchanged since before the fall of the Berlin Wall. A lively cafe' scene and many interesting boutiques and shops provide for interesting things to see and do throughout the day and evening. Highlights include the old Prater Beer Garden and the Kulturbrauerei. It has become increasingly expensive to actually live in Prenzlauer Berg now, but is quite a popular destination for shopping and dining.
Just walk around, especially in the afternoon / early evening and see nice stores with second-hand stuff, design clothing, records, and stop from time to time, drinking a beer or wine at one of the nice bars. It's the perfect place for just hanging around.
Don't forget to visit "Kauf dich glucklich", an icecream & coffee place in Oderberger strasse where you can buy the secondhand furniture as well!
What do you get when you cross a Turkish merkaz and an alternative Gen-Y hipster bar? Kreuzberg - one of the hottest neighborhoods in Berlin. The best parts are along the Landwehrkanal - a swan-laden canal that cuts through a green neighborhood filled with beautiful apartments lining the banks.
Kreuzberg is split into two areas- 36 (like the club SO36) and 61; this has to do with the postal codes, but also defines the areas. Kreuzberg 36 centers around the Oranienstrasse and has most of the bars and nightlife.
Every year on pentacost... Over 180 nations, where immigrants all aver the globe are coming from to Berlin... Celebrate all together in melting pot glory Kreuzberg their heritage and their joy of life .... (to be continnued)
Kreuzberg is a very colourful and diverse district. It's due to its inhabitants - young artists, non-conformists and immigrants - mainly Turkish. We've been told that Berlin is the second place after Istanbul as for the number of Turkish inhabitants. And many of them live in Kreuzberg, which is obvious when you see plenty of Turkish restaurants and shops. We were there on May 1st when most people went out on the streets to celebrate. So the place was especially loud and crowded but interesting. Musicians giving concerts, groups of demonstrants with banners, police units and a whole range of individuals representing various subcultures - they all seemed to co-exist peacefully ( at least it seemed so to us).
I think the place must be also interesting on other days. And if not for another reason, it's worth going there for its restaurants.
Kreuzberg is a vibrant neighborhood where there are funky clubs, restaurants, etc. The area is also known as Little Istanbul as many Turkish immigrants live in the neighborhood. The best thing to eat here is, of course, Turkish food.
Walking around artistic district of Kreuzberg I could see never ending blocks of old houses built in 18th - 20th century. Many of them were renovated in recent years and looked quite pretty. Typical house had 4 - 5 floors each of 4-5 m high and sometimes beautiful bay-windows and/or balconies.
Berlin and generally European old cities look quite different than younger and more modern cities I could see in the USA. But there are either more European cities in the USA (like San Francisco or downtown of Seattle) and more American cities in Europe (like just Berlin around Potsdamer Platz for example).
Bergmannstrasse in Kreuzberg is a great place with many different cultures and shops (a lot of second hand shops). Actually I love all Kreuzberg, it's very multi cultural and alive. Great bars and restaurants you will find here as well as the biggest and cheapest Döners ;-)
In the summers this is my favorite park of all of Berlin, and it is much more enjoyable and interesting than Tiergarten. Where can I begin? I love how there are so many different groups of people hanging out here: turks grilling, aging Kreuzberg punks making out and taking their children to the petting zoo, and fashion victims from any of the local universities posing and strutting around in the giant crater.
Yes, a crater. This park used to be a train station but was bombed in world war 2, so the centerpiece of the park is a giant crater and graffitied bricks. Be sure not to miss the caravan at the far east side of the park, where free thinking Berlin hippies serve good cheap food and feature nice music under colorful wagons.