The area surrounding the Brandenburg Gate swarmed with umbrella monsters as the Fest der Freiheit (Festival of Freedom) got underway. These vicious beasts may look pretty, but will take out an eye without any hesitation...ducking down underneath them seemed to be the safest way to get through the crowd.


S-Bahn: 
Brandenburger Tor (S1, S2, S25)
U-Bahn: 
Brandenburger Tor (U55)
Topics: 
My report from the event staged to mark 20 years since the fall of the wall.

This is where Malmöer Straße meets Bornholmer Straße:



The sign at the corner of Bornholmer Straße


Twenty years ago, there was a border crossing point here, stretching from Malmöer Straße to the Bösebrücke, the bridge which crosses the S-Bahn tracks.


S-Bahn: 
Bornholmer Straße (S2, S25, S8, S85, S9)
On a dark, wet November afternoon, I take a trip up to Bornholmer Straße, the first Berlin border crossing to open on November 9th 1989.
Topics: 

U-Bahn: 
Eberswalder Straße (U2) - the U2 comes above ground here and the Imbiß is under the railway lines, just across the road from the station exit.
Berlin's oldest Imbiß!



S-Bahn: 
Warschauer Straße (S3, S5, S7, S75)
Ostbahnhof (S3, S5, S7, S75)
U-Bahn: 
Warschauer Straße (U1)
Topics: 
The longest remaining section of the wall, turned into an outdoor art gallery by artists from across the world.

Karl Marx Allee was East Berlin's first big building project, planned as "Berlin's first socialist street", with building work beginning in 1952.
The street was originally called Große Frankfurter Straße (and, further towards the east, Frankfurter Allee), but renamed Stalinallee on December 21st 1949, for Stalin's 70th birthday. Stalin fell out of favour after his death and, in a process of de-Stalinisation initiated by Soviet premier Nikita Khruschev, it was renamed Karl Marx Allee, the eastern portion reverting to Frankfurter Allee.

U-Bahn: 
Strausberger Platz (U5)
Frankfurter Tor (U5)
Topics: 
A walk along East Berlin's showpiece street, ending up at an intriguing café.

Yesterday's mist has gone, replaced by drizzle. Still, it's not enough to put off a seasoned Berlin explorer. See you all later!

After visiting the Fernsehturm, we take a tram to Hackescher Markt, then wander down Oranienburger Straße.

The Neue Synagoge (new synagogue) in Oranienburger Straße, designed by Eduard Knoblauch, was built between 1859 and 1866 and was the largest of Berlin's synagogues.

S-Bahn: 
Oranienburger Straße (S1, S2, S25)
U-Bahn: 
Oranienburger Tor (U6)

Later in the day, the mist having mostly cleared, we head over to the TV tower (Fernsehturm).



S-Bahn: 
Alexanderplatz (S3, S5, S7, S75)
U-Bahn: 
Alexanderplatz (U2, U8)
Topics: 
A visit to the revolving restaurant in Berlin's most inescapable landmark.

Standing at 368m tall, the Fernsehturm (television tower) was built both to improve reception of East German state TV broadcasts in East Berlin and as a crowning centrepiece to the new 'socialist city centre'. It opened on October 3rd 1969, the 20th anniversary of the East German state.

The architect Hermann Henselmann is usually the first to be mentioned in connection with the design of the tower, it echoing a suggestion for a 'signal tower' made by Henselmann in 1958. Over the course of the development, architects Fritz Dieter, Günter Franke and Werner Neumann from VEB Industrieprojektierung also had major input into the design of the tower and would later claim they had arrived at the design without any input from Henselmann. Gerhard Kosel, who had been chief architect for the project for a short while, would also later lay claim to having devised the tower's form.

The tower offers impressive views over the city, both from its observation deck and its revolving restaurant.

Though most of the ruins of the Berliner Stadtschloß were destroyed in the 1950s, a small piece was preserved. Not only that, it was included in the Staatsratsgebäude, the building of the East German State Council.



S-Bahn: 
Hackescher Markt (S3, S5, S7, S75)
Alexanderplatz (S3, S5, S7, S75)
U-Bahn: 
Spittelmarkt (U2) - the closest of the lot, but it's easily walkable from any of these stations.
Alexanderplatz (U2, U85)
Topics: 
Architectural reminders of a man considered a hero by East Berlin's communist leaders.

I've always been fascinated Berlin's urban wastelands, areas made empty and not yet re-filled for one reason or another. When I was a child, I used to go to a park by the canal near where I lived, which had an area of rough ground at the back of it, beyond a fence. The earth there was dry and cracked, with unfamiliar plants growing in it. To me, it was the moon: what must have been an area of ugly waste ground to an adult was a place of wonder from my child's perspective. The derelict houses further towards the canal, surrounded by their overgrown gardens, were equally fascinating.

S-Bahn: 
Hackescher Markt (S3, S5, S7, S75)
Alexanderplatz (S3, S5, S7, S75)
U-Bahn: 
Spittelmarkt (U2)
Alexanderplatz (U2, U8)
Topics: 
The dilemma surrounding the former heart of East Berlin.

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