I had not been in Nikolaiviertel on previous Berlin visits, and would I not have seen it now I would have missed an area which has become my favourite place in the whole city. For many reasons. But mostly because it felt so authentic, and romantic, and especially because no hordes of tourists wandered around. In some moments I was totally alone! To keep this extraordinary atmosphere please do not go there all at once! LOL
The Nikolaiviertel feels a bit like an open-air museum of the destroyed old Berlin. Nikolaikirche is located in the centre, and this is Berlin’s oldest building. However, I do not really consider it as preserved as the church as well as the surrounding houses were destroyed in World War II, and were reconstructed – some restored, others newly built as replicas – as late as from 1981 to 1989. On the other hand, until WW2, they were Berlin’s oldest houses, the church dates back to 1230, and the quarter can well be called Berlin’s birthplace.
The Nikolaiviertel is located between the Spree River (southern end of the Museumsinsel which is no more called Museumsinsel this far south…) and Berlin’s Town Hall. You see it from quite a distance thanks to the pointed neo-Gothic twin towers of Nikolaikirche.
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I took shelter from a massive storm in the middle of the day, in this lovely historic quarter of the city, where the oldest church in Berlin stands with its famous twin spires, the Nikolai church. There are lots of lovely little interesting shops here, including a miniature book shop and a shop selling all kinds of bears! (stuffed ones of course :)
Also in this quarter is the 16th century reconstructed inn "Zum Nussbaum" (At the Nut Tree). I was sitting opposite in a cafe called Kartoffelhaus ( The Potato House). I wasn't in need of potato sustainance but that was all that was on the menu - so I ordered Potato cake from a dis-interested waitress who, realising I was only sheltering from the storm, proceeded to take as long as she liked with my order. Anyway, after a couple of coffees, the storm did eventually pass and I was able to move on.
The "Nikolaiviertel" is the oldest neighbourhood in Berlin, situated on the eastern bank of the river Spree between Spandauer Straße und dem Mühlendamm. The center of the Nikolaiviertel is the red-brick Nikoliai Church, the oldest building in Berlin. Most of the colourful buildings in the quarter have been reconstructed. It is a nice - though rather touristy - area.
I was pretty much disappointed by Nikolaiviertel expecting it to be much bigger area than it realy is. People made a noise about but it isn't neither that beautiful neither that interesting. Perhaps it is because not much of such areas existing in Berlin today. Besides, there is not much to see here or I've visited it in the wrong period of year.
When you look for the religious remainings inside the church, you see an interesting mixture of styles: The carvings in front of the organ are done in a simple style, mostly in shades of brown. When you look up to the ceiling, you see colouful paintings and stucco, partly with golden ornaments.
This, together with the technical exhibition in the foreground, make a very interesting mixture.
Right in the center of the Nikolai quarter there is the Nikolaikirche. It's one of the oldest churches in Berlin,from the 13th century. People famous in the history of the Protestant churches in Germany have preached and worked here, but unfortunately today it's no longer a working church. It houses an exhibition about the changing face of Berlin, how the city developed. There are huge models of Berlin, a large map where you can see where the wall used to be etc.
Quite interesting, but in the background you can still see the remainings of former religious times, which I found much more interesting.
Located close to Alexanderplatz is the lovely Nikolaiviertel (Nicholas Quarter). Although it looks old, this area was completely re-created in 1987-88.
Its maze of little streets and medieval houses were created by architects to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the foundation of Berlin.
It is a great place to have a wander around, perhaps browse in some of the shops or stop off for a meal at one of the inviting looking restaurants.
Dominating the quarter is the Nikolaikirche (church), with its tall, thin twin spires. The church is Berlins oldest - built between 1220-1230 - though there has been several modifications to its appearance since then. Today the church is a museum and also a concert hall. It is appreciated by the experts because of its amazing acoustics.
Along the river Spree, near Alexanderplatz, you will find a heavily bombed area which the GDR government had rebuilt in old German style, to show tourists what the old Berlin looked like. Whilst it is indeed in what is considered the oldest part of Berlin from medieval days, it is quite constructed and we saw few Berliners there, mostly tourists visiting the many handicraft shops. Nevertheless, the place is littered with restaurants serving good German fare (see tip), not least the famous Am Nussbaum which turned out to be far too smoky for us during an evening visit, despite its lovely atmosphere. You can also visit the Ephraim Palace, an old Jewish roccoco house, as well as the 18th century Knoblauch House. Finally, there is the famous 13th to 15th century Nikolai Church giving the area its name. You can see its old foundations from a viewing point inside the church.
Nikolaiviertel or St. Nicholas Quarter is a small district in the historic center, part of Mitte and close to the Alexanderplatz. Its narrow streets are a favorite place for strolling, especially for tourists. The area, which borders the Spree river contained some of the oldest buildings in Berlin before it was turned into wasteland at the end of the second world war.
It wasn't until 1979, in the run-up to the 750th anniver-sary of the city, before reconstruction of the area started. During the 8-year project, replicas of historic buildings were constructed in an attempt to recreate a historic quarter. The result is a nice tourist-attracting area with many restaurants, cafés and shops.
A few blocks from Alexanderplatz you don’t have to miss this charming village-like pedestrianised area which contrasts with the rest of Berlin. Dominated by Nikolaikirche, which marks the original location where the city was founded, this neighborhood has two-story houses, plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops that evoke life in the prewar days.
Here you can find Berlin's first stone church with its neo-Gothic brick tower with two pointed spires. In 1985 it was possible to begin reconstruction of the Nicolai Quarter for the 750th anniversary of the city.
A good place to start if you're in the eastern side of Berlin is Nikolaiviertel or St. Nicholas Quarter - the historic heart of Mitte and thought to be the original area around which Berlin grew.
It's narrow streets are great for exploring between Alexanderplatz and the Spree river, where some of the cities oldest buildings were located. Sadly much of this was destroyed during the war, but it has since been meticulously reconstructed in an effort to recreate the historic quarter. During summer this is an ideal place to sit at an outdoor cafe watching the passers by and the boats as they cruise along the Spree.
In the centre of this quarter is the site of the original and susequently rebuilt Nikolaikirch, the oldest church in Berlin - built in the 13th century. Bombed in 1945 and rebuilt in 1987 it now houses a museum on the history of the city.
On the northern boundary of Nikolaiviertel is the Rotes Rathaus (Red Town Hall). So named because of its red appearance - this renaissance style building is once again the official residence of the Berlin Mayor.
As I understand it this area of Berlin is supposedly the oldest. However Nikolaiviertel as it stands today was reconstructed after the war by the GDR to attract tourists. Whatever, its a pretty nice area with shops, restaurants, cafes and the Georgbrau brauhaus.
I wasn't aware of this little area between Alexanderplatz and the Spree, but the quiant Nikolaiviertel has some of the pre-war cosy German flair that (sadly) so many cities now miss due to the extensive destructions. Nonetheless, here you'll find the old Nikolaikirche, this cute little bear statue and many bars and restaurants to keep you occupied.
You might think that Nikolaiviertel is home of the oldest buildings of Berlin. Actually it is the cradle of Berlin but most of the original houses were destroyed during the war. They were rebuilt during East Germany times so it's not a seldom sight to see fake medieval houses in "Plattenbauweise" - the typical cheap building style here. Nikolaikirche, the oldest church of Berlin - looks "real" old though!
This lovely stretch of cafes runs along the Spree River and offers a nice spot to sit, enjoy a beer or coffee, and watch the world go by. Just avoid the Georgebraeu Brahaus as the beer is awful. You're better off having a Radeberger somewhere else.