Berlin's old and new surfaces - Part I

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Hal1026 on March 3, 2001

Berlin on foot is one of the most enjoyable urban exploration experiences I've had in years. Why? I suppose because of the variety of old and new blending side by side, all of it telling you so much about this historic city's amazing and turbulent past. And present.

My brief stay of just four days only allowed a partial sampling of what there is to explore over such a vast landscape of neighborhoods. So I started at two points I'd heard a lot about recently: Alexanderplatz and Potsdamer Platz. Alexanderplatz used to be one of the city's major thoroughfares during the Weimar period, then after the war and Germany's division, the communist regime transformed it into a showpiece of socialist architecture with lots of box-like, forbidding concrete buildings. Nowadays, a lot of these will have disappeared when you emerge from the undergrand train station of the same name, replaced by lots of glass and steel ultra-modern architecture. Where there is any empty space left, there is sure to be building going on here. A major architectural leftover of the East German days may well be the television tower, which is the third tallest structure in Europe. In visual contrast on the southeast side of the Platz is the Rotes Rathaus (red city hall), a neo-Renaissance building dating from the 19th Century. Berlin's past and present seems to have many of its major symbols in this great square.

Berlin, Germany, 10178

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