A different face of Berlin – unknown attractions
Are you interested in alternative sites in Berlin? You know the German capital pretty well and now seek for ideas for a less obvious trip? You are not going to be disappointed. Unknown and peculiar attractions are at your fingertips.
The Lives of Others
You have certainly heard of the Oscar winning film The Lives of Others. However, it is not just a great creation by Florian von Donnersmarck, but also everyday life of residents of the former DDR. To see how the state interfered with the lives of its citizens and monitored their every step, visit the STASI Museum. The imposing edifice alone is uncannily impressive, and you will feel more and more entrapped by the state service with every floor of the exhibition you will see. Note that a housing estate was built near the Stasi headquarters for people employed by that powerful apparatus of surveillance and terror.
Moscow in Berlin
In order to overwhelm its citizens even more, the totalitarian state used also fitting architectural concepts. You can feel that in Karl-Marx-Allee, a wide and pompous street with architecture which had been brought from the Soviet Union on soldiers' bayonets. Everything is large and hostile there, designed to make you perceive yourself as a little cog in giant machinery. However, before Moscow engulfed East Berlin, Nazism had been born. Traces of the Third Reich include the Olympic stadium. Opened in 1936, it was the venue of the world's greatest sport event, but it was also used by the regime for propaganda purposes.
From there you can exit through the southern gate and via Couberteinplatz , and behind the large urban railway station you will see something which seems to be ugly, but in fact is very unique – a huge block of flats designed by "the pope" of modernism Le Corbusier and entered in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Horseshoe for good luck (of residents)
Peculiar and unknown attractions of Berlin include also excellent residential buildings erected under the Weimar Republic. And don't let the idea of sightseeing a housing estate confound you! Berlin has several UNESCO-listed estates, including the one in shape of a horseshoe in the southern outskirts of the Neukölln district. Just a single glance at its urban planning is enough to understand why it was given that name. At the centre of the rounded block of flats there is a green space filled with a pond. It is a perfect example of the comfortable housing created over 100 years ago.
You will hardly find a typical old town in Berlin, for it was destroyed during World War II, and a modern square Aleksanderplatz was built in its place. Luckily, the planners made an effort to recreate a tiny fragment of the old world. Thanks to that, you can delve into the world of several cobbled streets concentrated around the Gothic St. Nicholas' Church. Among Berlin's unknown attractions, this is surely one of the most atmospheric sites and a piece of quiet in the centre of a huge metropolis.
If you are still not fed up with monumental architecture, you must visit the gigantic, now closed, Tempelhof Airport. Opened very early in 1923 and expanded later on, it became famous in the Socialism era for accepting aeroplanes with fugitives from the Peoples' Republic of Poland. Hop on a bike and tour that unbelievably vast area, now enveloped by the city. If you are lucky and have sharp eyes, you will notice an aeroplane stranded in the scrub in the centre of the apron. This is one of the most unique and alternative sites in Berlin.
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