Serving a similar function as the US Capitol Building in Washington DC, the Reichstag is the seat of the German Parliament and where the German government conducts the business of running the country. Prior to German unification in 1871, there was no official, centrally-administered German government and, as a result, no use for a building where a national Parliament could meet. Yet after unification (not to be confused … Continue reading Berlin Now and Then: The Reichstag part One
The Brandenburg Gate-vol. 1 The Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) is to many the very symbol of Berlin. Originally part of Berlin’s Customs Walls, (a testament to Germany’s love of taxes) the Brandenburg Gate was built around 1780s and was on the outskirts of the city but today the Brandenburg Gate is located at the very center of Berlin. You can find it on Pariser Platz, just minutes walk from the Siegesaule, Jewish Memorial, Reichstag, Tiergarten and … Continue reading Berlin Now and Then: Brandenburg Gate vol. 1
These pictures are of various, not so well-known places around the center of Berlin, which in Berlin is known as Mitte (middle). These particular photos are not really part of a set, so I am just lumping them together under the title “Mitte”. The first picture is of the corner of Friedrichstrasse and Rheinhardtsrasse. Friedrichstrasse is a main avenue in Berlin and the Friedrichstrasse Bahnhoff (train station) is one of Berlin’s … Continue reading Berlin Now and Then: Mitte vol. 1
The Altes Museum sits on Berlin’s Museum Island. As the name suggests it is an island on the Spree River which is home to some of Berlin’s, if not the world’s, most impressive museums. The Altes Museum, altes being a German word for old, and Museum Island were built in the 1800s by renown German architect and city planner Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841). Designated a UNESCO … Continue reading Berlin Now and Then: The Altes Museum
When folks visit Berlin, they probably just see one big big city
….and with 3.5 million people, it is a big city. Regardless, it doesn’t take long to discern two entirely different orbits in Berlin-the East and the West. Still separated along the path of the old Berlin wall, the two boroughs of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain are the epitome of this duality; The Berlin Wall and the Spree river both ran between these two boroughs. Kreuzberg was, and still is the West and Friedrichshain was and will always be the East.
I don’t know when exactly, but I got the idea a long time ago to take photos of the different manhole / sewer covers that I encountered on my travels. One led to two and then I had a bunch. I think they are pretty damn cool, but I’ll let you judge for yourself. If you have any cool manhole / sewer covers or goolies (DE) from your town, think about sending them my way and I’ll make sure they show up here, and I’ll be sure to give credit where it is due.
Enjoy , and remember to look where you step.
Martin Continue reading “The importance of looking down-Sewer Covers”
For nearly half a year in 2005, I fulfilled a dream and lived in Japan. People always ask me what my time there was like. If there was ever on spot in all of my travels which defies description it just might be this distant island. I have tried to portray it as a trip into the future, where solutions existed to problems that you never knew you even had, such as toilets with speakers that concealed the coarse sounds of their human users or street-corner vending machines selling entire bottles of Suntory Black Jack whiskey.
When I arrived in Germany in 2006, I took note of these small bronze plaques which were set into the pavement. I believe the first one was directly outside the front door to my work. If you take the time to stop and look, you’ll find that each tile has words on it. A name followed by some information; birth date, death date, location of death and perhaps the circumstances. These are Stolperstein (Stumblestones), they show the last known residence of the victims of the Holocaust. They are the work of German artist Gunter Demning. Started in 1993, this project seeks to observe the victims of the Nazi regime and hundreds, perhaps thousands of Stolperstein can be found all cross former Nazi Occupied Europe.
Around the middle of the 16th century the Elector/Prince of Brandenburg, Berlin at the time, had a horse path connecting his residence to his royal hunting grounds in what is today the Tiergarten (Animal Garden). Unter den Linden (Under the Limes) got its name in 1647 when Elector Frederick William lined the avenue with lime trees. Since then Unter den Linden has become one of Berlin’s greatest attractions. In the past it was home to a royal residence, military buildings and arsenals. Later large churches, opera houses, national libraries and a university were added. In more modern times, Unter den Linden was a government district, where you could find all of the most important embassies in the world. Today, the avenue, which runs on an east-west axis through the middle of the city starts at Alexanderplatz and goes all the way through to the Brandenburg Gate. Here you can find some of Germany’s most recognizable landmarks as well as enough History to fill many pages. Not surprisingly, during the Second World War, Unter der Linden was the spot for parades, demonstrations as well as the target of bombs and some of the fiercest fighting of the Battle for Berlin. Continue reading “Berlin Now and Then-Part One: Unter den Linden”