East-Berlin was not very religious during the Cold War. The communist government was very anti-religion and therefore very anti-church. Still, churches play a very important role in the history of Berlin.
Power of religion at Berlin Churches
In Berlin’s oldest churches you can still see the fascination the people of Berlin had with death. Kaiser Wilhelm’s Gedachtniskirche has become the symbol of the impact the bombs and destruction of World War Two had on Berlin. And although the communists were very anti-religion, they lost their power partly because of the strength of the Berlin churches. When they blew up the Versohnungskirche, near to the Berlin Wall, it became the symbol of how ruthless the Cold War was. And that was not all. At the Zionskirche in Prenzlauer Berg peaceful demonstrations against the GDR government were organized.
More Berlin churches
There is no better place to sing hallelujah than at the Berliner Dom. This large church close to Unter den Linden is Berlin’s most prominent church. If you think Germans are modest people that are greatly influenced by the protestant belief, think again. This church has many colorful details. Berliner Dom used to be a catholic church. Until Martin Luther came along.
Berlin Alexanderplatz has a lot to offer for people interested in churches. The nearby Marien kirche is a place to be if you are into old places of god. The church, built in 1292 has a very interesting and weird fresco. Disintegrated bodies that look like E.T dance with men in colorful robes on the walls of this Berlin church. The skulls on the old graves chew on their own bones.
The Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche is the symbol of the destruction of World War Two. Berlin was severely hit by bombs during the Second World War. The people of Berlin quickly started rebuilding their city, but the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche remained nearly the way it was when it was hit by a bomb. If you see how it was damaged, it is clear how devastating war is.
The Versohnungskirche in Berlin district Prenzlauer Berg was directly in the kill zone of the Berlin Wall. No matter how religious the inhabitants of the nearby Bernauer Strasse were, they could no longer pray for the Berlin Wall to go away in their district church. The church became useless and the communist government decided to blow up the Versohnungskirche.
No matter how anti-religion the GDR government was, the Zionskirche community stayed strong. Believers and non-believers came together at this Prenzlauer Berg church. Not to say prayers, but to organize peaceful demonstrations against the GDR government. What started small in this church, spread quickly, ending up in the mass demonstrations in the hot autumn of 1989.
The Nikolaikirche is one of the oldest churches of Berlin. When you stand in front of the Nikolaikirche, you can easily spot this yourself. The church has different stones with different colors, like the builders couldn’t make up their mind or argued what stones they should use. The result is fascinating, with the two sharp towers that pinch the Berlin sky.