LifestyleVideo December, 6th 2010 by

Marbella To Berlin - Alexander Platz

 Music – Alexanderplatz by Franco Battiato -Video and recording by Coniglio Viola

Alexanderplatz Berlin Today

In Berlin I always enjoy exploring AlexanderPlatz, as it is an amazing area of this engaging city to wander around and view some of  its treasures and a fascinating melting pot of architectural styles and monuments. Since the fall of the Berlin wall, the recent fusion of two different ideologies and cultural inheritance, is noticeable to the observant visitor. Having spoken to scores of people on their feelings about the changes that have taken place in their lives since the fall of the Berlin wall that had separated the the people of Berlin for decades. But to my surprise I discovered that those people from the East, known as Esties, felt generally let down by the effects of unification, as they had expected much more equality with the affluent Westies (Westerners). Instead they sense they are the poor relative. So it will be for a younger generation to break free of this negative but understandable sentiment and move their lives forward with confidence in their abundant Berliner ability to create their own success and self-worth. 

Winter Market

I discovered some interesting facts about the history and development of this area. It was originally a large cattle market outside the city fortifications, named in honour of a visit of the Russian Emperor Alexander I to Berlin on 25 October 1805 by order of King Frederick William III of Prussia

During the March Revolution of 1848 the Alexanderplatz was sealed off by street barricades, so that the traffic from and into the town was broken.

 The traditional seat of the city government, the Rotes Rathaus, or Red City Hall, is located nearby, as was the former East German parliament building, the Palast der Republik, demolition of which began in February 2006 and has been completed. The reconstruction of the Baroque Stadtschlossat the site has been in planning. Alexanderplatz is also the name of the S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations

Since German reunification, Alexanderplatz has undergone a gradual process of change with many of the surrounding buildings being renovated. Despite the reconstruction of the tram line crossing, it has retained its socialist character, including the much-graffiti-ed “Fountain of Friendship between Peoples” (Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft), a popular venue. In 1993 plans for a major redevelopment including the construction of several skyscrapers were published, but due to a lack of demand it is unlikely these will be constructed. However, beginning with the reconstruction of the Kaufhof department store in 2004, and the biggest underground railway station of Berlin, some buildings will be re-designed and new structures built on the square’s south-eastern side.

The Alexa shopping mall, with approximately 180 stores opened nearby during 2007 and a large Saturn electronic store was built and is open on Alexanderplatz since 2008.

 The Fernsehturm (TV Tower), is the second tallest structure in Europe.  Alex also accommodates the Park Inn Berlin and the World Time Clock, a continually rotating installation that shows the time throughout the globe, and Hermann Henselmann’s Haus des Lehrers.

During the Peaceful Revolution of 1989, the Alexanderplatz demonstration on 4 November was the largest demonstration in the history of East Germany.

At the beginning of the 20th century the Alexanderplatz has had its height. The industrialisation brought a large growth of inhabitants, malls, shops, restaurants, theatres, later cinemas, but at the other site also a growth of poverty. The Alexanderplatz became an important traffic centre with rail station, electric tram and metro in the East of Berlin. During the World War II the Alexanderplatz was destroyed in large parts during the intense fighting in and around Berlin.

Its rebuilding was hindered by the division of the city, which was decided by the later victorious powers at Krim already in 1942. Therefore the architectural planes from 1946 were realised only in their beginning. It was completely interrupted by the final division of Berlin in 1961.

One can also reach Alexanderplatz by passing throught the old Allied Soviet checkpoint, famously known as Checkpoint Charlie that is now a popular tourist destination where photos are taken at the checkpoint with the hut, sandbags and soldiers ( actors) as a background, as well as an abundance of souvenirs of that period can be bought.

From 1964 the government of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) began to build the “Socialistic Alexanderplatz” and the traffic was taken out of the Alexanderplatz and the whole square became a pedestrian area.

In 1965 started the building of the huge Fernsehtum (television tower), what is named by the Berliners “Tele-Spargel” (Tele asparagus) . In the time of the GDR this was an ironical name, because asparagus was a  rare vegetable, although it grew suffiently in the GDR. 

There is so much more to this area than can be described in this short article; and coming to Berlin is always a positive surprise  to a visitor as they discover the enormous variety of places to see and things to do. I highly recommend this vibrant city to any one considering paying Berlin a visit.

Dario Poli In Berlin

Photo of Dario by Udo Hill

Dario Poli

Composer, artist, and a published author and illustrator. He is initiator of the campaign to present a better image Internationally, of Marbella and the Costa del Sol. Composer of the music "Marbella Marbella" used as the anthem of the campaign and also many other recorded compositions including Nostradamus, and Corazon, for The Children for Peace Onlus charity in Rome as well as the co-author of the powerful musical drama Lady X and The Power of Destiny. He is also the editor and a founder member of this website.

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