Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Take my breath away

Opened just over a year ago, Berlin's new central railway station, the Hauptbahnhopf, is like a glass cathedral. It's a two-level affair, with 14 platforms and two large arched sections that were lowered into place. The river Spree was diverted to allow for the construction of road and rail tunnels. Construction photos here.

Spreebogan is the name given to the Parliamentary Quarter on the bend in the river Spree.

The basement at Culture Department Store Dussman

Back at Checkpoint Charlie

We retraced some parts of yesterday's tour and also went a little further afield to Kreuzberg, just south of Checkpoint Charlie. Known as a diverse community, it's also one of Berlin's poorest (and youngest) quarters, and somewhat stigmatised for its large Turkish population. In the middle of the day there wasn't much to see or do, so we took a train back to Alexanderplatz and walked around towards the Hackesche Höfe, once Europe's biggest retail complex, with 8 courtyards

Holocaust Memorial

The Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz

Seventy years ago, the Potsdamer Platz area was the busiest traffic zone in Europe with the first traffic lights here installed in 1924. In 1961, the Berlin Wall divided it in two. Twenty years ago it was a wasteland, seen in Wim Winders' Wings of Desire and used as the staging ground for Roger Water's 1990 live concert of The Wall.

Then it became Europe's biggest construction zone, with a phenomenal dredging project required to stabilise the marshy ground that Berlin lies upon. Sony's European HQ was built with a gigantic 105-tonne glass umbrella spanning the seven buildings of the site.

Brandenburg Gate

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