Unter den Linden: the royal street
Unter den Linden was build to make visitors look in awe at the buildings. It was set up to show that Berlin was no longer a village, but a big city. The street was filled with landmarks by the Berlin royalty. If you walk along Unter den Linden you will stare at the Schlossplatz, Altes Palais, the Princessinenpalais and Kronprinzenpalais.
The palaces look glamorous, but also harbor tragic stories. Unter den Linden had its fair share of both.
The Prussian Kurfursts and princes lived in spectacular houses on this street. It was the famous Frederic the Great who developed Unter den Linden, he still commemorated in this street by a large copper statue that shows him riding his horse. In the 16th century Unter den Linden was not much more than a bridle-way. Frederic changed that. He wanted a better road between his hunting ground in Tiergarten and his Lustgarten at Museumsinsel and turned the bridle-way into a show-off street.
Unter den Linden did not only know glory and triumph. Tragedy and warcrimes took place here as well. At the nearby Bebelplatz Nazi’s burned thousands of books.
Unter den Linden still is Berlin’s pride and joy. It has been restored in its old grandeur. Take the old weapon depot, where once the rifles and other firearms were stored. It was turned into the beautiful Deutsches Historisches Museum. And Unter den Linden has many places worth sightseeing. For example: the Brandenburger Tor, Neue Wache, Gendarmenmarkt, Humboldt university and Berliner Staatsoper. You will stare, stare, gloat and stare some more.
During the Second World War Unter den Linden was badly damaged. But the GDR rebuild it in style. And gave it an important role during the 1st of may festivities. The parades all started here. Because there is so much to see at this royal street, we made a short summary. If you want to know more about this glamorous and tragic street, click on the photo’s or link for more stories.
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The Stadtschloss was built by Kurfurst Frederic II in 1443. He was quite a showoff: the building was big and blatant. The Berliners hated the Stadtschloss. They felt that Frederic didn’t care about them at all. The building of the palace made him even less popular, because he showed off how much money he had, while people were starving to death.
At Palast der Republik one could find cultural exhibitions but it was especially known for housing the GDR Parliament. In 1976 Erich Honecker, the leader of the GDR, finally opened the doors of Palast der Republik. The building was quite remarkable. It had coppercolored windows and many lamps. Berliners called the building Erich’s Lampenlade (Erich’s Bulbshop).
Unter den Linden is not only royal, but also a street full of science. The Humboldt University is situated at Unter den Linden since 1810. It was named after the brothers Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt, who did everything in their power to open a university in Berlin. They were successful and one of the most famous universities in the world is named after them.
Friedrich Schiller, Fransz Liszt and Richard Wagner used to stroll along the Gendarmenmarkt. This beautiful square has been the home of music for a long time. Liszt and Wagner weren’t the only famous composers who visited their own operas and music performances. Mozart and Mendelssohn Bartholdy visited their own operas at Gendarmenmarkt too.
Thousands and thousands of burning books. It must have been a horrendous sight for booklovers and people who cared about culture. But unfortunately, it wasn’t fiction. The Bebelplatz near Unter den Linden looks peaceful today, but in 1933 one of the largest book burnings took place on Bebelplatz. 70.000 students, professors and Nazi’s burned a lot of precious collections.
The Staatsoper at Unter den Linden is not only famous for the beautiful music that is performed, but also for its tragedies. The Staatsoper endured a lot of disasters. It was built in 1741 and burned down three times. After the Second World War it was demolished and cows grazed in its ruins. But music and dance triumphed over war and destruction.
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