BERLIN: Alternative Berlin

Time to read:

2 minutes

Today’s main objective is the Soviet war memorial in Treptower Park in southeast Berlin. The southeast, especially the Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg communities, is typically referred to in guide books and blogs as “gritty.” Immigrant communities — Turks probably are most populous — have grown up here in numbers big enough that one in four Berliners has a recent foreign background. But what some residents call “edginess,” others call “energy.” The area has attracted artists, entrepreneurs and young people, so the heart of Berlin beats a little more quickly here. And the photos below will show that the area has its own beauty, too.

Warschauer Brücke. A main artery that bridges Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, Warsaw Bridge (over tracks, not water) features in one of my favorite ballads, “Berlin,” by Antoine Villoutreix. You know, shuffling home as dawn breaks after a night of dissipation.

View into Friedrichshain from the end of the bridge.

Close-up of gritty Friedrichshain.

More Friedrichshain.

The Spree river cuts through Berlin from southeast to northwest.

The Fraenkelufer Synagogue. Destroyed by the Nazis, the synagogue is being restored around the surviving wing as a place of worship. The Washington Post article that caught my attention said this was a joint effort of the Jewish and Muslim communities.

The synagogue is right across the street from the Spree.

There’s beauty in the Jewish and Muslim communities’ cooperating to reduce tension. Beauty seemed to spill over into the neighborhood.

Molecule Man. Part of a series of aluminium sculptures, designed by American artist Jonathan Borofsky. In the Spree near Treptower Park.

Dancing or struggling? But certainly walking on water. Wikipedia says: “The sculptures consist of three humans leaning towards each other, the bodies of which are filled with hundreds of holes, the holes representative of “the molecules of all human beings ….”

Soviet memorial, Treptower Park. Detail from a memorial to commemorate Soviet deaths in World War II, especially the 80,000 who died to take Berlin.

The 35-foot-high main monument built to the design of the Soviet architect Yakov Belopolsky. Shows a Soviet soldier with sword holding a German child and standing over a broken swastika.


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