Berlin Prenzlauer Berg

Prenzlauer Berg was the Kreuzberg of the GDR, where intellectuals, artists and musicians congregated to spice up the grey surroundings of East Berlin where any semblance of freedom, whether it was a three minute punk song or a poem scrawled in a notepad, meant the whole world. A wealth of artistic output was produced here […]

Prenzlauer Berg was the Kreuzberg of the GDR, where intellectuals, artists and musicians congregated to spice up the grey surroundings of East Berlin where any semblance of freedom, whether it was a three minute punk song or a poem scrawled in a notepad, meant the whole world. A wealth of artistic output was produced here during the 1980s as the subculture was closely linked with the social reform movement teetering on the edge of legality. It goes without saying that the Stasi were also prevalent here and sometimes they were all one and the same. Since the fall of the Wall, Prenzlauer Berg has lost its gritty edge somewhat but is nonetheless an attractive place to visit, full of trendy boutiques and bars, students, young families and the newly renovated buildings offer a pleasant surrounding for bars and cafes which veer between hip, trendy and experimental. The neighbourhood has a history ranging from squalid tenement blocks in the 19th century, wartime Germany when artist Käthe Kollwitz lived and worked here through to the days of uncertainty and hope in 1989 and new beginnings in the 1990s/2000s.

To reach Prenzlauer Berg from Alexanderplatz you need to take the U-Bahn line U2 towards Pankow. It was at Alexanderplatz on 4th November 1989 that the East German author Christa Wolff and others spoke here in front of 500,000 (some say it was as many as a million) fellow demonstrators appealing for reform and travel restrictions to be lifted with the slogan ‘We are the people.’ Less than a month later the Wall was down. Jump off the U-Bahn at Senefelderplatz and wander up Kollwitzstrasse (there’s an interesting children’s playground along here which encourages the kids to construct their own play items from various materials) to see the gentrified bar and cafe scene on Kollwitzplatz with its statue of Kathe Kollwitz. Turn down Knaackstrasse to go past the impressive Kulturbrauerei which now serves as a nightlife and cultural venue after its former life as a brewery.

For a look around the quirky backstreets of Prenzlauer Berg you can go round the ‘LSD’ (nothing to do with drugs, don’t worry!) district of Lychener Strasse, Schliemannstrasse and Dunckerstrasse up to Helmholtzplatz which has an undeveloped natural tone with a mix of the old East Berlin grey and an airy residential feel. Back at Eberswalder Strasse grab a portion of the ubiquitous Currywurst at Konnopke’s Imbiss under the arches. Nip down Kastanienallee to go hipsterspotting in the funky little shops and cafes. Turn right down Oderberger Strasse to find some hidden gems. When the weather is pleasant small second hand boutiques flaunt their wares out on the streets and there’s a special waffle house, Kauf dich glücklich.

If you’re wandering around on a Sunday then the Flohmarkt am Mauerpark can be found at the end of the street behind the Friedrich-Ludwig Jahn Sportpark. You can pick up all sorts of knickknacks here; old bicycles, obscure vinyl, the contents of a shed. You may even spot a portrait of Erich Honecker resting against one of the stalls. In winter, the cheap Glühwein is a must to keep out the cold as you root through junk to find some real treasures.

Berlin Team CTR Spring

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