Archive for the ‘potsdamer platz’ Tag

Berlin – Fernsehturm   10 comments

P1020414

As you can probably tell I like views over the cityscapes from tall buildings and Berlin has one of its own, the Fernsehturm or TV Tower. Its 368m high and built by the DDR in 1969 as a demonstration of the DDR’s strength and technological prowess

P1020355

The viewing platform is inside the 4800 tonne sphere at 203m and its design is inspired by the space race of the 1960’s. It was originally supposed to be built in one of the city parks on the outskirts and was was actually under construction until some bright spark realised it would be on the flight path of a planned airport at Schonefeld!

P1020357

The views are all from inside (hence the strange grey/green tint to the images) but it was all really well done (if a bit crowded). At every window was an information board pointing interesting buildings and their history

A view over old East Berlin

P1020360

This hotel next door is famed for BASE jumping off the roof on weekends although we never saw any while we were there

P1020365

Karl Marx Allee. This was the main road in the DDR days and if you ever recall sights of military processions of armies and tanks in East Germany this was the street they paraded down

P1020372-2

The pink building is the Alexa Shopping Mall and the red roof building the Stadtgeticht Museum

P1020375

The River Spree and South Berlin

P1020377

The Altes Stadthaus, old home to the German Senate

P1020380

City Hall (Rathaus – I love that word)

P1020382

The Nikolaikirche and 13th century church, destroyed in WWII, now rebuilt as a concert venue

P1020386

South West Berlin

P1020387

Over West Berlin to Potsdamer Platz

P1020388

The Berliner Dom

P1020393

The distinct green copper dome of St Hedwigs Cathedral

P1020394

A close up of Potsdamer Platz towers

P1020397

The Reichstag

P1020398

Beyond to the massive Tiergarten park

P1020399

A zoom shot of the neighbourhood where we stayed

P1020401

Brandenburg Gate

P1020402

Grosser Stern Victory Column

P1020405

The Hauptbahnhoff station

P1020406

The rebuilt Jewish Central Synagogue

P1020407

A sunnier view of the Potsdamer platz area

P1020408

And a very distant shot of the Olympic stadium

P1020409

We spent a happy hour up here admiring the views. We’d booked online to avoid queues but there was no need. Downside was you can’t pick the weather in advance and we’d have been better waiting for a clearer day. We enjoyed the visit though.

The lift has a glass roof so you can see the shaft as you ascend and descend which I though was rather neat

P1020412a

A video here that doesn’t really capture it but thought I’d share it any way

 

P1020413

Time for lunch and for me and TJS a chance to try a “local delicacy” – Currywurst. Basically a sausage covered in curry sauce. Very nice in a junk food sort of way.

P1020414a

These guys are everywhere as well. Basically selling hot dogs from a gas burner strapped to their chests. SCUBA – Self Contained Underpaid Bratwurst Apparatus!

P1020414b

TJS and TBF went to look around the DDR museum but TJF was feeling a little under the weather so we took a bus down to Europa Centre at the far end of the Tiergarten

P1020415

There is a shopping arcade called the Bikini Mall (supposed to look lime a bikini but neither of saw the resemblance). What it does have is nice a roof top terrace that overlooks the zoo with a free view of the monkey enclosures

P1020418

P1020421

P1020424

The area was Berlin’s first modern skyscraper development. We paid another visit a couple of days later

P1020430

On the bus ride back I saw my first “beer-bike”.

P1020430b

Popular with the stag and hen do fraternity you pedal while the proprietor steers and a barman serves you drinks on board. A very short video showing one in action

 

We met up with the others and decided to take TJF back to the apartment to rest up

P1020432

Plenty of day left though and more Berlin to see….

Advertisements

Berlin – Reichstag   10 comments

P1020307

The Reichstag is one Berlins most famous and iconic buildings and has been the home of the German Parliament since 1999

P1020308

It’s free to enter and climb the dome if you book a ticket online so we did just that and took our cue on time in the late afternoon

P1020309

A glass lift whisks you to the roof of the main building on top of which is the glass dome designed by the famous architect Sir Norman Foster in his overhaul of the building after the fall of the wall. They provide you with a free audio commentary that helps understand the design and function and the views across the city

P1020310

The dome is there as a visual metaphor for the new open-ness and transparency of German politics. The main plenary chamber sits right beneath the dome. The views as you climb are excellent

P1020315

There is a spiralling ramp that ascends to the top allowing plenty of time to look at the views from all sides. I really liked the design and the idea behind it.

P1020317

The top is open with an oculus much like the one in the Pantheon in Rome. Rain water is dispersed by a clever system of ducts and sunlight is harnessed for energy by a rotating mechanism that tracks the movement of the sun

P1020321

P1020323

P1020326

Once back down from the dome the views from the roof terrace are equally fine

P1020329

The building was completed in 1894 and was the home of the German Parliament until 1933. Its had a role in most of Germany’s most famous and infamous moments. The German Republic was proclaimed from here in 1919. More infamously the Nazis seized power, using a mysterious fire in the building, on 27th February 1933, as a pretext. An anarchist was arrested for arson although that in itself was shrouded in mystery. The Nazis proclaimed that this was a part of a large-scale communist conspiracy and implemented the “Reichstag Fire Decree” that led to civil rights being quashed and widespread political persecution.

It was a pivotal moment in Hitler’s power grab and modern history. We all know what followed

P1020330-2

Victorious Red Army troops raised the Soviet flag over what was the bombed out building at the end of the war. The Berlin Wall ran right alongside the eastern facade and major pop concerts took place on the lawns in front. After the wall came down German reunification was enacted here in 1990 although the building was still largely a shell.

P1020331

In 1995 work began on a complete overhaul of the building, led by Sir Norman. Only the original 19th century shell and facade remained, while the inside was completely rebuilt and the landmark glass dome added

P1020337

We spent a happy half hour wandering about the roof and admiring the views of both the dome and city beyond

P1020339

P1020340

P1020341

The glass offices of Potsdamer Platz in the distance

P1020344

Brandenburg Gate

P1020346

P1020343

The Fernsehturm tower behind a building that despite dominating the skyline, I never found out what it was

P1020347-2

P1020350-2

We headed out toi take another look at the Main Facade. The inscription over the main entrance reads “Dem Deustchen Volke” – To the German People although this wasn’t added until 1916

P1020351

A hugely impressive building of huge historical significance. I’d happily see it again although I’d like to go on an organised tour that I think allows you to peek in to the Bundestag Plenery chamber if it’s not in session

P1020352

A nice evening stroll back to the apartment along the river Spree

P1020353

And a couple of shots of our local neighbourhood

P1020354

And the street where we lived (for a few days)

P1020482

A lot packed into our first day in the city

 

%d bloggers like this: