A beautiful sunset over Zionskirche in Berlin Mitte. On sundays you can actually climb the bell tower of the church – Zionskirche has a nice little observation platform with a view to Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte.
Since 2012 the inner city area around Schlossplatz is a gigantic construction site: the Humboldtforum is built where Berlin’s City Palace once was.
I know, most people refer to the new building as ‘The City Castle’ or just “The Castle” – but only because it looks like a castle and it’s located where the old City Palace once was doesn’t make it a City Palace.
Anyways. I will try to dig into that rebuilding- and naming-problem on a different page. This news entry is actually about a series of photos – both historical and current photos – you can find on the website of Berlin’s newspaper Berliner Morgenpost. The intersting part is: some of the current photos are shot from the same perspective as the historical photos, that were shot between 1900 and 1939. A slider lets you switch between the historical view on Berlin’s old City Palace and the view on the construction of the Humboldtforum.
Additionally the ‘Interactive Special’ is enriched with a time lapse video, showing the construction of the ‘New City Palace’ bit also some video footage from the inside of the brand new building.
And here’s the Wikipedia Page about the Berlin City Palace:
If you want to get an impression of what the Old City Palace looked like you may want to watch this 12 minute video:
You want to know what actually happened to the old City Palace? Well – it got damaged during Second World War bombings – and then it was blown up in 1950 by the East German government.
This eight minute film , shot in Pre War Berlin 1936 is what we would today probably call an Image Film. The film is showing some every day scenes from Berlin in all its beauty – and in all its color – before the Second World War broke out and large parts of Berlin were destroyed.
The film, titled “Reichshauptstadt Berlin” first takes us to Tiergarten, where we can see some cars and people in the streets near the Victory Column (Siegessäule). You will notice that the streets are ‘already’ decorated with Nazi flags.
Next stop is the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) and the off voice points out that both Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column are the monuments Berlin is known for– and groups of young people would be the town’s most iconic landmarks “greeting the youth of the world, strolling down the wide streets of Berlin“.
I don’t want to go too much into details – watching the video you’ll also see the boulevard Unter den Linden and the old City Palace (Stadtschloss) wich is currently rebuild – as well as lots of historic cars, trams and buses. But also you will probably recognize quite a number of men in uniform here and there. Well – see for yourself – and please feel free to leave a comment below…
On friday it’s again the First of May – and the night before it’s Walpurgis Night. And just like in many german and european communities both are celebrated in Berlin. However – you might have heard already that Walpurgis Night and especially First of May have a bit their own ‘rituals’. I’ll try to explain a bit about it – and later I’ll add a page about Berlin First of May and Berlin Walpurgis Night to the info pages.
First I should probably say that on First of May some areas are not quite safe. There are not really any no-go areas – but instead there is a strange tradition of having riots in the streets of Berlin – especially in Kreuzberg – but also in some areas of Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte. But who is rioting? And why? Hard to say.
As far as I know it all started back in the kate eighties (May 1st 1987) when a peaceful public neighbourhood party at Kreuzberg’s Lausitzer Platz got overrun by police – and people reacted not quite amused. Police actually decided they had to withdraw from Kreuzberg. Since then at least for police forces Kreuzberg can be a ‘difficult’ terrain to go – at least on First of May.
The best place to go nowadays on First of May would probably be the so called MyFest (www.myfest36.de) in Kreuzberg. Over the years people got sick and tired of all the rioting and the best alternative seems to be to have – again – a peaceful neighbourhood party. So there will be some stages with live bands playing and for sure there’s gonna be some street food to snack. But anyways – be aware there can be complications.
Further information on Walpurgis Night traditions:
The Berlin International Film Festival Berlinale 2015 took off already last wednesday. Maybe you already went – and saw the one or the other movie? Maybe you still don’t know if you want to go – and maybe you even think you won’t have a chance to get tickets anyways.
While it is true that it may be difficult to actually get tickets there are various ways to try – and maybe you won’t find tickets for the movie you originally intended to see, but maybe you’ll see some other movie and be surprised to find something you didn’t expect.
Anyhow – the Berlin International Film Festival is the largest public film festival – so naturally there are many different options where and how to find tickets.
Further details can be found from the festival website:
Hope you enjoy the show – good luck!
In Berlin almost every flat object can be a billboard – and almost every round object can be a poster pillar. And ‘everybody‘ thinks, “it’s just me – hanging a single poster on that pillar” then lamp poles and traffic signal poles can easiely become huge round objects that may look like ‘real poster pillars’, but basically they are just lamp poles and traffic signal poles, burried underneith layers and layers and layers of posters.
An interesting side effect: these ‘Poster Pillar’ might even work well as bumbers – so if a car would crash into one of these well-cushioned / padded / upholstered poles, the layers of posters might soften the impact – almost like an air bag. So maybe every street pole should be covered with layers of posters for the sake of safety? Maybe so. Maybe not.
You probably won’t see these objects in every Berlin destrict – but at least in Mitte there are some. This one I found near Rosa-Luxemburg Platz.
The Berlin Landesarchiv (Archives of the Land Berlin) in Reinickendorf / Tegel have recently opened an exhibition worth seeing. On display: historical maps of Berlin by Julius Straube, as well as historical photos and posters of Berlin of the 19th century.
One particular map from the year 1897 for example resembles what today would probably be called a “biking map” – a map made for bicycle riders. It shows which streets, which routes are comfortable to bike on – and which are not. And it also shows what pavement to expect: asphalt, cobblestone or cross-cut wood (yay!).
And additionally the over 100 year old bicycle map also shows where it was allowed, and where it was forbidden to bike. Yes, there were already no-go areas for bicyclists in Berlin at the end of the 19th century. The German king probably didn’t like the idea of having bikes and bicyclists all around him when walking down the Berlin-Mitte boulevard Unter den Linden – so back then it was actually forbidden to ride a bike there. And also on Leipziger Strasse, Potsdamer Platz and Königstraße and anywhere near the castle bikes were allowed.
The Landesarchiv also recently opened a web based research tool for historical Berlin maps. The interactive map tool lets you explore historical Berlin while using any of the provided ‘historical map layers’. A bit difficult to explain – but pretty easy to use: www.histomapberlin.de (en). The so called Strauble-Plan is probably the most spectacular map layer available on that interactive tool – since it is really old – and really complex, mapping most of Berlin’s inner city district Mitte. Pointer: the Strauble-Plan layer is actually a bit hidden behind the tab “More Layers”. There you will also find a layer for the Berlin Wall. Interesting: you can actually combine a map from 1897 with the Berlin Wall border line. That literally puts a different view on Berlin’s history.
interactive navigator for historical maps of Berlin at www.histomapberlin.de
“Die Pläne mit der Berolina – Kartografische Exkursionen mit Julius Straube”
7th October – 31st December 2014
Landesarchiv Berlin, Eichborndamm 115 – 121, 13403 Berlin (map)
See also: Berlin 101: Berlin Maps
See also: news at Landesarchiv (german)