Berlin City Tour 1999

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I cordially welcome you to our Berlin sightseeing tour. Our tour will approximately last for three and a half hours and covers the most important sights of the town. We start our sightseeing tour in the heart of the West Berlin city center at the Kurfürstendamm in the height of Meinecke Strasse. "Alexander Platz" in the district Mitte will be our most eastern point and the "Olympia stadium" of the district Charlottenburg the most western. The most northern point will be the "new synagogue" in the district Mitte and the southern the "Airport Tempelhof" in the Tempelhof district...

Here we are -- Berlin map

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Have a look at my photo album: Berlin 1989 when the wall came down  ***  Festival of lights 2005  ***  Berlin, May 2010  ***  Berlin, May 2011

City sightseeing tour Berlin Page 1: Kurfürstendamm, Breitscheidplatz with Tauentzienstraße / KADEWE, 124° bent and Urania, embassies (Scandinavia, Mexico, Malaysia, Luxembourg, Malta).
City sightseeing tour Berlin Page 2: Tiergartenstraße (embassies), Bendlerblock (memorial place of German resistance), Kulturforum (culture forum), Potsdamer Platz, Technology Museum.
City sightseeing tour Berlin Page 3: Kreuzberg, Airport Tempelhof (airlift), cemeteries before Halle's gate, Heilig Kreuz Kirche (holy cross church), subway line No. 1, Patent office, Lindenstraße, Berlin Museum, Jewish Museum, Axel Springer.
City sightseeing tour Berlin Page 4: Checkpoint Charlie, Finance department, remains of the Berlin wall, topography of the terror, Berlin parliament house (Prussian Landtag), Martin Gropius building, Leipziger Straße, Gendarmenmarkt, Federal State Department, former council of state building of the GDR and Federal Chancellery, St. Nicholas Quarter.
City sightseeing tour Berlin Page 5: red city hall, ruin of the Franciscan church, Alexanderplatz, St.Mary church, barn quarter and Hackesche Höfe, New Synagogue, Berlin cathedral, Museum island, castle bridge, Arsenal, New guard house.
City sightseeing tour Berlin Page 6: Unter den Linden, Forum Fredericianum, Pariser Platz, Brandenburg gate, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, German Reichstag building (German parliament), Federal Chancellery, Carillon, Kongress hall, Castle Bellevue, Victory Column.
City sightseeing tour Berlin Page 7: Straße des 17.Juni, Tiergarten, Elephant gate (zoo), Charlottenburg, Ernst-Reuter-Platz, Deutsche Oper, Castle Charlottenburg, Siemens, Schreber gardens (allotments), Olympic Stadium and Waldbühne (wood stage), Theodor-Heuss-Platz, Haus des Rundfunks (house of the broadcast), Funkturm (radio tower) and exhibition grounds , ICC, Kurfürstendamm, end of the city sightseeing tour through Berlin
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  • We turn into the Kreuzberg street. The district Kreuzberg with its natural 66 meters high elevation "Kreuzberg" (cross mountain) is the smallest district of Berlin. Compared to the other districts Kreuzberg has with about 160,000 inhabitants the highest population living on a small ground. Formerly worker district. Increasingly then lived in by artists, students, alternatives and foreigners (especially from Turkey). We reach the Kreuzberg road. In front of us the 1894 constructed Viktoriapark (according to plans of Mechting; the first public park in the worker district). At the "peak" of the Kreuzberg (cross mountain) is located the national monument (victory against Napoleon) with iron cross which gave the mountain its name (designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1821).

  • We drive over the Kreuzberg road up to the Mehringdamm, where we turn right .
    Airlift monument and airport Tempelhof. The airport Tempelhof got its special meaning during the Berlin blockade between June 1948 and May 1949. Due to the currency reform in the new founded FRG (Federal republic of Germany) the Soviets shut all driveway possibilities in the western part of the town and they turned off the town the current gradually. The gigantic enterprise "airlift", organized by the military governor of the town Clay and the Berlin mayor Ernst Reuter ("your peoples of the world look on this town "), transported 2.3 million tons of goods, among others also a power station taken to pieces completely, with the so called "raisin bombers" (candy for the children). The three hooks of the airlift monument point at the three air corridors from Berlin to the west of Germany -- Hamburg, Stuttgart, Frankfurt. A commemorative plaque reminds of the 78 victims of the airlift.

    The airport Tempelhof just behind the airlift monument looks back on an eventful history. The "soldier king" Friedrich Wilhelm I. used the field for the first time on the south edge of the today's Kreuzberg and former Tempelhofer mountain as parade and parade ground. As of the middle of the 19th century gigantic parades took place here in the spring and fall. In the days before 1900 the field was also used as public sports area. In 1908 the brothers Wright tested their first engine airplane on this field. The central airport opened 1924 on the eastern part of the Tempelhofer field. Lufthansa was founded in 1926. According to plans of the architect Ernst Sagebiel (empire aviation department) the airport was improved to the largest airport of the continent and second biggest building complex of the world (to the Pentagon DC) in 1937. Gigantic rooms are located underground. A outsized Nazi eagle sat enthroned above the main entrance with the globe in its claws. The American occupying forces took this trophy in 1961 to an army museum to the USA. A part of this symbol of national socialist megalomania then appeared in the middle of the eighties again. The head of the eagle became the symbol to American German friendship. The airport was completed completely shortly after the war. It served the US-Army as an indispensable supplies base. For some years smaller propeller airplanes have run for the shorter and weaker frequented air routes here again. The airport closed its terminals for ever in October 2008.
    From 2013 onwards, starts the conversion of the huge airfield to an attractive parkland, offering various needs for sports (including a 60-foot rock climbing), entertainment and relaxation. In 2017 the International Garden Exhibition (IGA) will take place here.

  • From the Columbia dam we turn on the left into the Friesenstraße. Immediately we recognize the big red brick building complex on the right side. This is a typical barracks building of the late 19th century. This queen Augusta guard grenadier regiment No. 4 and the guard cuirassier regiment were stationed here. The police headquarters 5 has established itself there today. The central motor traffic department where every Berliner must register his car also is on this area.

  • In the area of the Friesenstraße the house occupations took place in the 70s and eighties. Partly with success the stucco decorated houses of the turn of the century were put classified as a historical monument. The area served as a scenery of famous films like "cabaret" with Liza Minelli, "the Schlangenei" and "Berlin Alexanderplatz" from Fassbinder.

    We get to the Marheineke hall at the Bergmannstraße. Of the old covered markets only three are still existing. Only the entrance area facing Zossenerstraße remained unchanged in the original shape. The hall constructed in 1891-92 was destroyed in 1945 and reconstructed in 1952-53. At her outer walls are to see well-known Berlin originals: the hurdy-gurdy man -- a permanent guest in the courts of the tenement houses (one hundred years ago taxes had to be paid only for the front-facing houses. So it came that it was built as far as possible to behind -- often with up to ten dooryards; people usually lived in the sides and crossways buildings only into kitchen and room. There wasn't any bath and the community toilet was in the stairwell. About 160,000 people lived 1871, still about 140,000 = 7% of the Berlin population in 1910 with five to six and more persons per room -- kitchens included; the apartment also served many as a job; young "lodgers" were often taken against payment, too; the narrow contact of the many people to each other let become the "consumption" TB to the mass illness of the poor layers of Berlin. Such an accumulation of houses and people helped many speculators to get a million fortune. The creator of this development scheme was James Hobrecht -- ("social mixture of different society layers"); the Harfenjule -- the singer with the harp in streets and bars of the southern Berlin; the Wurstmaxe; iron Gustav, the most well-known coachman of the town and fighter against the motorization of the hackney cabs; the knifegrinder and the coal strap who still supplies the tenants in the old buildings with his briquette boxes. The covered market is a live place today. It cordially shuts loudly, openly, directly. Here they "kreuzbergern" in Turkish, Arabian, German and Greek, they act and haggle with each other.

Airlift memorial and airport Tempelhof
Motor traffic department
Marheinicke market hall
  • Approximately a kilometer away are located the cemeteries before Halle's gate. On the Mehringdamm opposite the former dragoon barracks is located the entrance to the Jerusalemer churchyard. The cemeteries of the new ones and the Trinity community follow it. The Baruther, Zossener and Blücherstraße limit those in the 18th century in front of the town gate constructed funeral places of the parishes of the former Friedrichstadt. On these cemeteries we find celebrities like Ernst Schering, Wilhelm A. Latvian, Adolf Glaßbrenner, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Langhans (Brandenburg gate), Henriette Hertz, the brothers Humboldt, Mirabeau, Fichte, Schleiermacher, Jean Paul and many others.

  • Behind the Blücherstraße is located the sacred cross church . The church was modified to the event room completely inside. Exhibitions also worldly musical presentations and others take place here. But seldom services are hold here. Because the number of protestants in Kreuzberg was falling off from once 98,000 on 5000 the church house was not longer rentable only with services. The threads of the Berlin homeless person work gather in the church. The soup kitchen is well-known. Homeless persons and others get needy get their free dish regularly here (for about 300 poor people from all over the town). Here they can eat, talk, can be provided medical care, clothe themselves newly. There is even a new haircut, also free of charge. Between 600 and 800 poor come into the church shortly before Christmas every year. Everybody gets half a chicken and a little present and there is a right celebration. Men and women who live in the street are at this with their plastic bags and their dogs. The church becomes the big festival hall there.

  • Hallesches Tor (Halle's gate). The name points on one of the gates of the historical city wall. On the journey with the subway line 1 the gates Kottbusser and Schlesisches Tor still meet us. The el almost goes exactly on the marked-out route which was taken until her demolition 1867-68 of the last Berlin city wall east of Halle's gate. Foundation remains can be seen on the middle promenade in the Stresemannstraße, not far away from the Mehringdamm. They were discovered at works for a city wall imitation in 1987. The so-called new city wall became calculatedly 1732 of the "soldier king" Friedrich Wilhelm I. He adjacently laid out the new Friedrichstadt. She went radially of Halle's gate to the north.

  • The southern Friedrichstadt developed into a center of authorities and large administrations at the end of the 19th century. In 1905 the biggest office building of the capital of the Reich was the "imperial Patent Office" located in Gitschiner, corner Alte Jakobstraße just behind the el. The office registered ten thousands of patents every year, it was 2.4 million until 1945. The Patent Office moved to Munich after foundation of the FRG as a "federal Patent Office". Now the document sale is put in the building. Being sent out every year to all the world over seven million patent documents. The "European Patent Office" also has an office here. The federal central register which exhibits the "police certificates of conduct" and a tax authority also is housing here.

  • We are in the Lindenstraße (limewood street). We are passing the house of the German metalworker association (according to plans of Erich Mendelssohn 1929-30). The association was dissolved three years later on May 2nd, 1933. The "German work front" moved in. After the war the "industry labor union metal", administration office Berlin, took its seat here.
    In earlier days the building of the party head office of the social democratic party of Germany was located just behind this building in the Lindenstraße 2/3. Here the official party organ "Vorwärts" was printed. The Nr.3 housed offices and the party school of SPD. Next to Franz Mehring and others Rosa Luxemburg was also a teacher at this school before the first World War. The war wrecked the buildings completely.

Heilig Kreuz church
  • The oldest building of the southern Friedrichstadt from the 18th century is the house Nr.14 in the Lindenstraße: the former Kollogienhaus. In 1735 it became seat of the Supreme Court and other royal administrations. Constructed by Johann Phillip Gerlach (Prussian baroque). The Supreme Court was the topmost court of Prussia. The most prominent judge who has worked in this house was E.T.A. Hoffmann. The Supreme Court moved into the new building at the Kleistpark in 1913. After heavy war destructions it was accessible again in 1969. The new founded Berlin museum found a place for its inventory (history of Berlin and marks Brandenburg) here.

Berlin museum
  • The new Jewish museum is located just next door. Since 1975 the "society for a Jewish museum" has supported that a Jewish museum can arise in Berlin again. With that it is in the tradition of the Berlin Jewish museum organization founded by Max Liebermann in 1929. The legal basis for an autonomous Jewish museum was this one finally created in 1998. The building created according to plans of the architect Daniel Liebeskind was submitted to the public end of 1999. The director is the former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Michael Blumenthal who is originally from Oranienburg, who had to emigrate with his parents first to Shanghai during the Nazi time and finally immigrates to the USA. The southern Friedrichstadt was destroyed completely in a bomb night.

    Approximately per m² a bomb fell. In the years of 1984/87 the surroundings of the Berlin museum was the biggest competition area of the International building exhibition in the new building section. The result what came of it is rather sad and carries the stamp of the interests of well-known deduction speculators clearly, as the architect Klingbeil who is responsible also for the so-called "social palace" (formerly "Sportpalast").

Jewish museum
  • We turn left into the Kochstraße. On the right the office block of the Axel Springer publishing house (2000, the old printing house was pulled down; since 2004 a modern building complex exists: Axel Springer Passage). In 1925 already 64 of the 120 Berlin large printeries with two third of all employees of the trade were concentrated around the Kochstraße.
    Since the foundation of the Reich Ullstein, Scherl, and Mosse grew up at the Jerusalemer-, Zimmer- and Kochstraße to the three giants of the German press. Successful was Mosse´s daily newspaper "Berliner Tageblatt" which had an edition printing of 150,000 in 1909; the newspaper came out twice daily with more con-sheets in the week. Mosse is regarded as a father "of the yellow press". He built up first a net of special correspondents in all the world. The publishing house of Mosse made bankrupt in 1932. It couldn't stand up against the aggressive competition particularly of Scherl any more. Since 1883 Scherl published the "Berliner Lokalanzeiger" (200,000 copies). Another success paper was the photo magazine "Die Woche"; it could offer current snapshots; illustrations of the emperor could always be seen, too. In 1916 Scherl sold his empire to a group of heavy industrialist from the Ruhr district who employed Alfred Hugenberg as a boss of the house. He made the monarchical papers megaphones of radical right-wing flows. The soldier federation "Stahlhelm (steel helmet)" and Adolf Hitler were sponsored. Third ruler of the newspaper quarter was Leopold Ullstein, Jew, a member of the progress party. His "Berliner Zeitung" (Berlin newspaper) became the victim of the pressing censorship repeatedly in the time of the socialist law (1878-90). But the edition printing increased. Special success had Ullstein with the "Berliner Morgenpost" (Berlin morning mail) founded in 1898. At 1930 the "Berliner Morgenpost" was the biggest German daily paper with an edition printing of 623,000 copies. After the stoppage of the "Berliner Zeitung" also the re-establishment of the newspaper "BZ am Mittag" was a complete success. The national socialists had already brought the complete bankrupt's estate of the Mosse publishing house with the help of front mans under their control in 1934.
    The papers of the Scherl house also were already brought into line effortlessly. Ullstein was left. The publishing house was taken to difficulties so strongly that the Ullsteins had to sell it to a cover company of the NSDAP on June 10th, 1934. The Ullsteins emigrated. In 1949 the last of five brothers, Rudolf Ullstein, came back from London to Berlin and founded the "Berliner Morgenpost" and the "BZ" newly .
    In 1959 Axel "Caesar" Springer the new emperor of the quarter which was almost destroyed completely then bought the publishing house from him. Soon he dominated more than 80% of the Berlin newspaper market. He built a 19storied office and redaction house and a printery building of 142 meters of front length in which 95 tons of paper were printed daily on the ground of the Scherl publishing house rich in tradition. Heavy protest was aimed at the Springer group already in 1968. The assassin who shot down Rudi Dutschke (head of the student revolution) said he has been spurred on for the deed by the reading of the "Bild Zeitung". A "expropriate Springer" campaign was started. At a demonstration demonstrators put several delivery trucks of the publishing house into fire on the Springer area. Since 1989 the left tageszeitung (taz) in the Kochstraße 18 exists near Friedrichstraße. The Kochstraße between Friedrichstraße and Lindenstraße was renamed to "Rudi-Dutschke-Straße" in April 2008.

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Axel-Springer-Verlag, March 2013
Axel-Springer-Verlag, March 2013