Kurfürstendamm / Ku’damm

Discover Berlin > Charlottenburg > Kurfürstendamm

The Kurfürstendamm, aka Ku’damm in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is West-Berlin’s shopping street with a history. In the fifteenth century the street was originally just a dam connecting the City Castle with the Hunting Lodge / Castle Jagdschloss Grunewald. The earliest written proof of its existence is from the year 1685 – but the street was still hardly a ‘street’ and it still did not have it’s current name yet.

From 1767 on it was first drawn on a map under the name Churfürsten Damm. In 1873 Otto von Bismarck decided to expand the street into a boulevard. Around that time more and more villas were built in Grunewald, close to the Jagdschloss Grunewald.

On May 5th 1886 a steam tram line was opened, connecting train station Zoologischer Garten and Halensee. That day is considered the date of birth of Boulevard Kurfürstendamm. Until the first World War the street quickly developed into a high class residential area – and high class shops followed after. The Ku’damm became a West-Berlin counterpart to the boulevard Unter den Linden – the West-Berlin city center became a counterpart to the old city center in the East.

Today the Kurfürstendamm stretches between Breitscheidplatz in the East, where the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche (‘Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church’) is situated, and Rathenauplatz in the West, where the inner city highway Stadtautobahn is crossing. The boulevard has a total length of 3.5 kilometers and is lined with shops, restaurants and hotels.

Walking all the way from end to end is probably too much of a task for one afternoon. There is just too much to see on the way between Breitscheidplatz and Rathenauplatz – especially close to Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church looking around and/or shopping can be time-consuming. Behind Breitscheidplatz the shopping street basically continues under the name Tauentzienstrasse all the way down to the large department store KaDeWe, which itself is a tourist attraction – and a shopping opportunity. But also the recently renovated and re-opened Bikini-Berlin and the neighboring Europa Center are must-sees – especially if the weather conditions are a bit unfriendly.

…to be continued…

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