Berlin Karl-Marx-Allee, TV-Tower

Karl-Marx-Allee near Straussberger Platz - Photo: T.Bortels/nuBerlin.com

The Karl-Marx-Allee is an iconic socialist boulevard built between 1952 and 1960. Originally the street was called Große Frankfurter Straße. From 1949 until 1961 it was then renamed to Stalinallee, before it was finally named Karl-Marx-Allee.

The avenue is nearly 2 kilometers long and almost 90 meter wide. Walking down Karl-Marx-Allee you can almost feel it was built with a certain idea in mind. You may feel small, looking at  the impressive eight-storey buildings designed in a strange over the top wedding-cake style, the socialist classicism of the Soviet Union of that time.

In the late fifties and early sixties the Karl-Marx-Allee was a lively shopping boulevard – which might sound strange, since later on East Berlin was not really famous for its shopping options. The street was also used for large scale parades. On May Day for example thousands of soldiers, workers, students and ‘heroes’ would march down the Alley, together with various tanks and other vehicles, waving at the crowds gathering on both sides – and of course the East German government.

I would definitely recommend to take a walk down Karl-Marx-Allee – it is very well worth a visit. I am however puzzled, what route I would recommend. In case you start your walk from Mitte down towards Friedrichshain you would end you walk in an area that is packed with bars and restaurants. This would however mean that during that walk you would have the TV Tower behind you. If you would instead walk from Friedrichshain towards Mitte you could enjoy the view – but in the end you would have quite a stretch to walk without any places to visit. Especially between Straussberger Platz and Alexanderplatz, where the Karl-Marx-Allee ends and the Otto-Braun-Strasse beginns, there is nothing much to see, except to the skyline.

Let’s assume you take the U-Bahn U5 and get off at Straussberger Platz. This large roundabout would be already the first highlight or our tour. The otherwise straight avenue takes a sight turn so this would be anywas the only sport from where you could look down Karl-Marx-Allee in both directions without any buildings interfering with your view.

Towards Alexanderplatz there is a row of pavilions next to the street. On the right side, about 10 minutes from Straussberger Platz, you would find the Kino International. On the opposite side of the street the Café Moskau is located. If you only have one hour, then you should at least have a look at both of these iconic locations and then you could either take the U5 from Schillingstrasse, or walk back to Straussberger Platz.

to be continued…