Berlin Image of the Day
Berlin has many different faces and even more stories to tell. Every day we show you an image of Berlin that tells you more about the history and places of this fascinating, vibrant city. Today: West Berliners visiting their relatives and friends in East Berlin 51 years ago.
After Christmas many West Berliners visited their relatives and friends in East-Berlin. Today 51 years ago, 28 december 1963, the checkpoints were already crowded at 7 in the morning. During their holiday the Wessies took the opportunity to visit the Ossies. Many used the trains, trams and subway as the people in this picture to get there. This photo was taken by Ulrich Kohls at the crossroad of the Chaussee and Invalidenstrasse.
Berlin Image of the day: Friedrichstrasse, 100 years ago
Friedrichstrasse, named after Frederic the third, has always been a show off street. In the beginning of the 19th century it soon became a street with chique restaurants, hotels and artist residents. Although it looked fancy, there was a tremendous lot of noise as well. Cars honked and hand cars were pulled at the street. But as you can see on this picture, taken exactly a hundred years ago, Friedrichstrasse also was very pretty…
At last! Snow in Berlin.
Take your sled to one of the great parks of Berlin.
Or make a snowman.
On the streets, in a park or, like this girl in Prenzlauer Berg, on your balcony…
Don’t forget to take a picture of yourself and the snowman as well.
These pictures of the snowman selfie were taken in 2009.
Berlin image of the day: exercising in the snow
It looks like it will finally be winter in Berlin. So far it hasn’t been cold. And hardly any snow fell this winter. In the coming days this will change. The temperature will drop and there’s a big chance that it will start snowing. Berlin and snow are a great combination. The city changes instantly. The parks get crowded, particularly the ones where you can ride your sled (like Burgerpark Pankow, Volkspark Prenzlauer Berg, Viktoriapark). In 1931 Berlin was covered in snow and these man were exercising in a very different way: by throwing balls to each other half naked in Berlin Spandau. If you don’t have a sled or would like to do something else when it’s snowing this may be the thing for you. The men were students of the Preussischen Hochschule für Leibesübungen in Spandau.
Berlin image of the day: wild foxes at an old graveyard
It might be a bit weird to visit the graveyard at Halleschen Tor, but this graveyard in Kreuzberg is so beautiful you should visit it. It has large trees, is full of ancient graves by important people such as the well known composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and the writer E.T.A Hoffmann. And if you are lucky, you might spot playing foxes near the old gravestones or under the trees, as we did.
Berlin image of the day: Brandenburger Tor
This is what the Brandenburger Tor looked like 250 years ago. No quadriga with the Roman godess Victoria and her four horses on top of a triumphal arch. But a modest gate to enter and leave Berlin. At that time Berlin was still a rather small city. The old Brandenburger Tor was part of the Zollmauer, the Berlin customs wall that surrounded the city. This engraving was made 250 years ago by Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, an at that time famous Berlin painter of Polish-German decent. The old Brandenburger Gate It was replaced by the new Brandenburger Gate that was build between 1788-1791. The new Brandenburger Tor has been in Berlin since, although the quadriga was taken in 1806 by Napoleon when he entered Berlin. Continue reading about the Brandenburger Tor…
Berlin image of the day: Woman knitting after the Battle of Berlin
During the battle of Berlin, big parts of the city were demolished. Houses, monuments and streets, like the Mohrenstrasse, were in ruins. This old lady has found time (and space) to do some knitting in 1945.
Berlin Image of the Day: Potsdamer Platz
100 years ago Potsdamer Platz was the place to be in Berlin. It used to be one of the most important squares of Europe, with a lot of traffic passing by all the time. That drastically changed during the battle of Berlin in 1945, when it was demolished. For decades it was no man’s land, because the Berlin Wall ran through this area. Continue reading on the history of Potsdamer Platz…
Elephants in Berlin (1926)
Not an every day sight and especially not in 1926: three elephants parading through Berlin. They are on their way to the Berlin Zoo. The elephants were part of a show called the human zoo (in German Volkerschau). The shows were very popular in Europe between 1870 and 1940. They promised to show how other people lived around the world. However they were full of stereotypes and often based on social Darwinism and racism. At first sight this looks like a beautiful and fascinating picture. It is however a very sad and insulting photo. Carl Hagenbeck (1844-1913) ran many human zoos and was so famous at the beginning of the twentieth century, that the human zoos were also called Hagenbeck-schau (Hagenbeck show). The elephants depicted here were part of the Hagenbeck-schau in 1926 in Berlin, although Hagenbeck himself was already dead.
Berlin Image of the day: Fernsehturm, graffiti style
We love Berlin for its rawness. Some people might not like graffiti and sometimes they are right. But in Berlin, graffiti adds color to the streets and turns ugly battered walls into beautiful art. Like this wall, with the Fernsehturm painted on it. Any idea where it is? Start guessing, we will let you know by the end of the evening!
Berlin is the Silvester capitol of the world. There’s no other place in the world like it where you can party on New Year’s Eve. And it has been the place to be during Silvester for a long time, as you can see in this picture of a Berlin Silvester party in 1950. If you’re still looking for a place to party in Berlin, check out our tips.
Boxhagener Platz in Friedrichshain is one of most fascinating squares of Berlin. Every Sunday it hosts the flohmarkt am Boxhagener Platz (flea market) that’s well worth visiting. It underlines once again that Berlin is vintage heaven. The market at ‘Boxi’ has a long history, the first one took place here at 1905, four years before the picture on this postcard was taken. More on Boxhagener Platz….
Napoleon in Berlin at the Brandenburger Gate.
On October 27 1806 Napoleon entered Berlin. His army had defeated Prussia. The French emperor entered a demoralized city. He did not leave alone. Napoleon took the quadriga on the Brandenburger gate, on the background of this painting made in 1810, with him. Especially the beautiful and influential Queen Louise, wife of king Frederick William III of Prussia, had failed. In a private meeting she had unsuccessfully tried to convince Napoleon to leave Prussia alone. Afterwards Napoleon called her ‘the only true man in Prussia’. For a long time Napoleon was one of the most hated men in Berlin. Eye witness accounts state that everyone was very quiet when he rode through the Brandenburger Tor.
Berlin Alexanderplatz has always been the place to be in Berlin. Even before the roaring twenties, as you can see in this image of 1903. After a hard days work Berliners went to Berlin Alexanderplatz. The place was incredibly noisy: trams went on and of and there was a lot hustle and bustle in the surrounding cafes. The square in East Berlin was severely damaged during the Second World War. After the war the GDR replaced the ruins of the with architecture of a very different style. Since the late seventies and early eighties punkers like to hang out on the square.
Berlin Image of the Day: No Christmas
Christmas is the ultimate day to be jolly, but if your friends and family are stuck on the other side of the Berlin Wall there is not much reason to be happy. Especially during Christmas. These West Berliners wave to their friends and family on the East side of the Berlin Wall. It’s Christmas Eve, 1961 and they tried to communicate with their family and friends on the other side of the Berlin Wall.
Berlin Image of the Day:
The Schoneberger Sangerknaben (Berlin-Schoneberg Boys choir) in 1961 singing Christmas carols near the Brandenburger Tor and the just erected Berlin Wall.
Berlin, 1958. Barb wire and fences at the border in Berlin-Frohnau. And a christmas tree. It stood at the border of West and East Berlin. Merry Christmas!
Berlin Image of the Day: Zeppelin above the Brandenburger Tor
The Brandenburger Tor is one of Berlin’s famous landmarks. People in 1924 loved sightseeing in Berlin too, but they sometimes did this in a special way: by Zeppelin. The USS ZR III, build in 1923/1924 in Friedrichshafen, flew over Berlin in 1924 before it was given to the United States Navy as part of war reparations of World War One. Berlin’s airspace was visited by other zeppelins as well. Such as the “Graf Zeppelin”, build in September 1928. This one explored the Berlin air space in October 1928. It flew over all the important landmarks, such as the Brandenburger Tor, The Reichstag and the Siegessaule in Tiergarten. Many people stopped to see the spectacle. In 1929 the Graf Zeppelin flew around the world, and in 1931 the air ship flew over Berlin twice before exploring the arctic. The Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg Zeppelin were also used to distribute Nazi propaganda. In 1936 they flew over Germany, throwing Nazi propaganda leaflets over the German people. But in 1937 the air adventures were over. Adolf Hitler ordered the zeppelins to stop flying after a major accident with the ‘Hindenburg’ zeppelin in 1937. One day after the crash of the Hindenburg, the Graf Zeppelin was no longer allowed to fly. In 1940 all the remaining German zeppelins were destroyed. The duralumin airframes were used for military aircraft materials.
Berlin Image of the Day: Bahnhof Stadion Berlin
When you are in Berlin it’s common to take the metro to travel through the city, but in 1913 it was pretty special. In 1913 emperor Wilhelm II opened the Berlin metrostation Deutsches Stadion. The wooden station didn’t last long. It was replaced by a stone version and on the spot where the old Stadion station was, the Berliners build the Reichssportfeld: the sportsarena we now know as the Olympiastadion.
Berlin Image of the Day: Berlin letters
In 1999 the Dutch twins Barbara and Isabelle Kuylenburg sang the horrible song ‘An email to Berlin’ during the National Songfestival. Be glad they didn’t make it to the Eurosongfestival, because they sang horribly out of tune. But they were right about one thing: in 1999 email was the new way to communicate with other people and Berlin was (and still is) the place to be. In 1923 the people of Berlin were communicating in a different and for that time, brand new way. The first Berlin letterbox made it possible for people in Berlin to send letters to their loved ones and notes to mum by air.
Berlin image of the Day: War
Berlin has been burdened by war. During the First World War many men had to fight abroad for their country. They left Berlin proud and eager and returned defeated. Many men lost a leg, hand or were really troubled because of all the horrors they had seen and experienced. In 1915 the young Berlin men had already left for the war. The middle aged and elder men had to do their duty as well. This was the last call for leaving Berlin for the front. They waved their wifes and kids goodbye with handkerchieves for a brutal war that ended three years later.
Image of the Day: The Quadriga on Brandenburger Tor
The Quadriga on Brandenburger Tor with the goddess Victoria is one of the landmarks of Berlin. A lot of tourists go here if they want to sightsee Berlin. Berliners nickname the quadriga retourkutsche. In English: return carriage. And if you look at this picture, you can see why. The quadriga was stolen by Napoleon and was damaged several times. The slightly unfortunate Victoria and her horses had to repaired by Berlin craftsmen from time to time. As you can see, it’s not an easy task to climb on top of the Brandenburger Tor to make Victoria beautiful again.
Image of the day: Berlin Dances
Berliners love to dance. Now they go wild at Kater Holzig, but in the golden twenties, Berlin bars were really popular as well. At Dance Institute Laban in Berlin Grunewald they danced the day and night away in Berlins golden twenties. They danced at the institute, as well as on the beach…
Berlin image of the day Boxing in the snow
It’s hardly imaginable that it’s not snowing during the winter in Berlin. So, life goes on when the snow flakes start falling (the S-Bahn may be the only exception). In 1931 in Berlin Spandau sport students of the Prussian Highschool are taught how to box. Outside in the snow. In shorts. Berlin style.
Image of the day: Snowy Berlin
When it snows in Berlin, the city changes instantly. Berlin is tucked in with a large, cold, white, snowy woolen blanket. It might be a bit of a challenge when it gets slippery and your feet and hands are getting numb, but go outside. You will see things like the Soviet Memorial in Trepotower Park in a different perspective.
Image of the Day: Gymnastics at Boxhagener Platz
Boxhagener Platz is a popular square in Friedrichshain for selling and buying vegetables and vintage clothes at the fleamarket. But practising gymnastics happened here too. At May 1, 1952 a young woman does gymnastics for the whole district to see.
Berlin Image of the day: Reading garden
During the Second World War many buildings in Berlin were demolished. In 1947 large parts of the city still had to be rebuild. A librarian set up a reading garden (Lesegarten) in Pankow, where one could read newspapers. It was located at the Breite strasse 22, near Burgerpark Pankow.
Berlin image of the day: the Knorrpromenade
The Knorrpromenade in Friedrichshain celebrates its 100 year anniversary. Life in Friedrichshain was tough a hundred years ago. People had to live in small apartments and the poor families even rented out their beds to labourers. But at the Knorrpromenade life was different. The buildings had a small garden at the front, more space and luxury. But the pride and joy of the street was, and still is, the Schmucktore. The fairy tale gates are being renovated right now.
The Berliner Dom is the place to be to sing hallelujah. The Berliner Dom is Berlin’s most prominent church. Inside you can spot a colorful ceiling and death reading a golden book. On top of the building you will have the most stunning view on Berlin with the Lustgarten, Unter den Linden and Altes Museum
Image of the Day: Gendarmenmarkt in 1815
Gendarmenmarkt is one of the prettiest squares in Berlin. With two large domes and the Konzerthaus it has been the home of music for a long time. Friedrich Schiller, Fransz Liszt and Richard Wagner used to stroll along the Gendarmenmarkt after they listened to their own performances at this square.
Image of the Day: Weird Berlin
Berlin is full of surprises. If you pay close attention you will see that Berlin is a bit weird if you take a closer look. When we walked through Prenzlauer Berg we looked up and saw a balcony full of dwarfs. They don’t look out of place in a garden, but on a Berlin balcony they do. And that’s what makes Berlin a bit weird. And so great.
Image of the Day: Kulturpark Planterwald
It was East Berlin’s and GDR’s biggest amusement park where kids, punks and grannies had the time of their lives: Kulturpark Planterwald. At Kulti people overlooked Berlin in the ferris wheel and had fun in the bobbahn. After 1989 the amusement park went bankrupt when the new owner made people pay a lot more to get in and smuggled cocaine in the flying carpet. But in 1974 it was all about having fun…
Image of the Day: Berlin facade
“Dieses Haus stand fruher in einem anderen Land” is painted on a facade at the Brunnenstrasse in Berlin Mitte. If you know nothing of the Berlin history, you might think ‘this house used to be in a different country’ means the whole building was moved. But of course, it wasn’t. The Brunnenstrasse is situated in Berlin Mitte, and therefore, it was situated in the GDR, or DDR as the Germans called this part of Germany. Jean-Remy von Matt, an ad executive, painted these words on the wall of this building on November 2009 as a remembrance the Berlin Wall fell twenty years ago.
Image of the day: Stalinallee
Berlin, 23rd of August 1954. Four children are looking out over the impressive and newly build Stalinallee (now called Karl Marx Allee). The Soviet army entered Berlin through this street in 1945. The street in Friedrichshain was demolished during the battle of Berlin. In the 1950’s it was rebuild with new decorated apartment buildings in Stalinist architecture, a style that was very popular in the Soviet Union. The apartments were created for the working class that supported the communist party. They were called ‘peoples palaces’ and even had bathrooms! A luxury at that time. Two of the four children in this picture are from Bavaria. In 1954 metal workers were in strike in Bavaria. East-Germany supported them. Some Berlin families took in kids of the metal workers. The children stayed for two weeks.
Berlin Image of the Day: Berlin graffiti
Berlin has great and interesting graffiti. You can find little adorable Lucy molesting cats through whole Berlin. Glamorous girls sit on the facade of the bunker of Sammlung Boros, even the Berlin Wall is sprayed with nice graffiti, like East Side Gallery and the Mauerpark. But our favorite is R.A.W in Friedrichshain. Here you can find angry penguins protesting on a ship, pink fish and captains with large moustaches.
Image of the Day: Berlin Winter
Berlin can get pretty cold in the wintertime. But before you start moaning, look at this picture, made in 1935! When you’re getting cold, you run home or to a nice warm cafe to drink a steaming hot glass of Gluhwein or hot chocolate mit a lot of Sahne. To be outside in 1935 is quite a different story if you look at the man on his horsecarriage. He is turning into a snow man himself…
It’s the season to be jolly. For many years, Berliners have celebrated Christmas with huge markets. At Alexanderplatz, near the Berliner Dom, the Kulturbrauerei and Gendarmenmarkt. From today on, the Berliner Christmas Markets will lighten up the city again. With flickering lights, candles, kitschy Christmas decor. Like Berliners have done for so many years…
Ostseestrasse: wedding cake buildings
After the Second World War big parts of Berlin were demolished. Housing scarcity was a serious problem. New building programs were set up. One of the biggest was at the 1,1 km long street Ostseestrasse in Prenzlauer Berg. These new houses were build in the early fifties. This was East-Berlin and the the new apartment buildings were designed according to Stalinist architecture that was very popular in the Soviet Union. Another interesting example of this style can be found at the Karl Marx Allee in Friedrichshain. The Germans gave a nickname to Stalinist Architecture: Zuckerbackerstil, because the buildings look like wedding cakes.
Potsdamer Tor: the remains of another Berlin Wall
A long time before the Berlin Wall, there was another important Wall in Berlin. It did not separate the city in two pieces, but surrounded it. In the eighteenth and nineteenth this Berlin Customs Wall (Zollmauer) had several gates. One of them was called Potsdamer Tor, where Potsdamer Platz is located today. This painting of the Potsdamer Tor was made in 1830. It is impossible to recognize anything of the busy square today. The Berlin Customs Wall was demolished in 1867. The Potsdamer Tor remained but it was in ruins after the Second World War like the rest of Potsdamer Platz. It was never rebuild. The (new) Berlin Wall divided the city and ran straight through Potsdamer Platz. What used to be Potsdamer Tor was turned into no man’s land by the East-German government.
After the Berlin Wall fell Potsdamer Platz was rebuild, without a Potsdamer Tor. But one can still see very well where the gate used to be. The entrances of the metro and underground train station at Potsdamer Platz are exactly on the same spot where the two opposing buildings on the old image used to be. More on Potsdamer Platz…
Other Berlin Images of the day:
The Berlin Bomb Night on November 22, 1943 and the burning New Synagogue.
November 22, 1943: Berlin Bomb Night
In the night of November 22, 1943 Berlin was heavily hit by bombs. 240.000 people died, churches, landmarks and buildings were bombed to pieces, like the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche. And the symbol of Jewish Berlin: the New Synagogue.
It wasn’t the first time disaster hit the New Synagogue. In 1938 the Nazi’s had already tried to set the New Synagogue on fire. On January 14, 1943 the last sermon was held at the New Synagogue. After that the Nazi’s took over the religious building. Read more on the New Synagogue…