Germany | Berlin curiosities

The German capital extends its tentacles over 12 “districts”, with a multitude of tourist attractions. Some are less well known than others… Welcome to the kingdom of some Berlin curiosities that will keep you on your toes day and night!



Concert in a former crematorium

In the popular Wedding district (north of Berlin), Silent Green is a haven of peace. A flowered alley leads to the left to an old cemetery, to the right to artists’ studios, and straight to a former crematorium which has become a popular cultural place for Berliners! Under the octagonal dome of the funeral home, the acoustics are exceptional.

People come to listen to a concert after eating in the adjoining café or in the garden adjoining the cemetery. Families of Russian exiles cremated at the crematorium are buried there, just like the first victim of the Berlin Wall, Ida Siekmann.

PHOTO ANNE PÉLOUAS, SPECIAL COLLABORATION

You can admire Art Nouveau style buildings in the Wedding district.

On a guided bicycle tour with Art Berlin, you can further explore the Wedding district, with its contrasting architecture: Art Nouveau building with beautiful ceramic bricks in Pankstrasse; Luisenbad library, in former 18th century public bathse century ; dance workshops at UFER Studios where Berlin’s first trams were repaired; imposing district court, dating from 1890…

Visit the Silent Green website (in English)

Visit the Art Berlin website (in English)

Moving “Palace of Tears”

PHOTO ANNE PÉLOUAS, SPECIAL COLLABORATION

The Tränenpalast Museum

Berlin is renowned for its many exceptional museum institutions, the main ones of which are grouped together on “Museum Island”, in the central Mitte district. A little away from its big brothers, the Tränenpalast museum (the Palace of Tears) occupies, near the Friedrichstrasse station and the Spree river, a building from the 1960s which was the border post for controlling the crossings of the GDR towards West Berlin at the time of the Berlin Wall.

The permanent and free exhibition – Experiences at the borders: the daily life of the division of Germany – unveils numerous testimonies, archive documents (photos, films, etc.) and some 600 objects recounting in detail the life of East Berliners at the time when the wall was erected. It also presents spy reports written by agents of the Stasi (East German State Security).

Visit the Tränenpalast museum website (in English)

Sleeping in a prison

  • The entrance to the Wilmina Hotel

    PHOTO MARKUS GRÖTEKE/ARCHITECTURESH, PROVIDED BY HOTEL WILMINA

    The entrance to the Wilmina Hotel

  • The heavy steel doors have been preserved.

    PHOTO PATRICIA PARINEJAD, PROVIDED BY HOTEL WILMINA

    The heavy steel doors have been preserved.

  • Bright rooms replace the old cells.

    PHOTO ROBERT RIEGER, PROVIDED BY THE WILMINA HOTEL

    Bright rooms replace the old cells.

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In Kantstrasse, in the Charlottenburg district (west of Berlin), a discreet entrance opens onto a historical treasure: a complex comprising a court and a women’s prison, transformed into a charming hotel. A member of Design Hotels, the Wilmina Hotel Berlin exudes tranquility just a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of the city. At the end of an abundantly flowered courtyard stands a listed building from the 19the century, in red bricks and with barred windows.

Inside, 44 rooms and suites have replaced the cells whose heavy steel doors the architects have retained. This legacy of their dark past is balanced by the openness, in the rooms as in the corridors and the loungespaces where natural light enters in full.

The old court has become a cultural place. There is also the Lovis restaurant, where chef Sophia Rudolph, standard-bearer of contemporary and gourmet German cuisine, serves.

Visit the Wilmina Hotel Berlin website (in English)

Karaoke at Mauerpark

  • The Mauerpark

    PHOTO CHRIS MARTIN, PROVIDED BY VISIT BERLIN

    The Mauerpark

  • The Mauerpark flea market on Sundays

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY VISIT BERLIN

    The Mauerpark flea market on Sundays

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On Sundays, many stores are closed in Berlin. To find some excitement, go by tram or bike to the north-east of the city, in the Prenzlauerberg district. The Mauerpark is known for still housing a piece of the Berlin Wall, the concrete of which is skillfully tagged.

On Sunday, there is a gigantic flea market where Berliners of all origins rub shoulders with tourists navigating between the aisles lined with stalls selling used clothing, antiques and crafts, not to mention the street food vendors. Throughout the summer, people flock to the park’s open-air amphitheater on Sunday mornings. Its rather bohemian and friendly atmosphere is enhanced by the karaoke show that is presented there and in which everyone who likes to sing can participate. Even the wrong notes are applauded by the audience!

Street food and art

  • The Buergermeister is installed… in old public toilets!

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY VISIT BERLIN

    The Buergermeister is installed… in old public toilets!

  • The vegan donuts from Brammibal's Donuts are worth the detour.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY VISIT BERLIN

    The vegan donuts at Brammibal’s Donuts are worth the detour.

  • Cafe Bonanza

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY VISIT BERLIN

    Cafe Bonanza

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In the “street food” series, this address in the Friedrichshain district (east of Berlin) surprises us at first glance. Former public toilets, attractively painted green and listed as a historic monument, house the Burgermeister fast food establishment near the Schlesisches Tor metro station. We eat outside!

PHOTO JOSEFINE KÖHN-HASKINS, PROVIDED BY VISIT BERLIN

During your walks, you can admire impressive works of street art.

Further east, in the most Turkish district of Berlin, some may prefer an appetizing kebab, in a crusty bread well garnished with chicken, salad and tomatoes. During a walk, decorated with large street art murals, you can then stop at the Bonanza Cafe, a friendly roasting house frequented by locals, in Adalbertstrasse. Sweet tooths will head to the Landwehr Canal to order a decadent (and vegan) dessert or two from Brammibal’s Donuts on Maybachufer Street.

Visit the Fork and Walk Tours Berlin website (in English)

Visit the Visit Berlin website (in English)

Part of the costs for this report were paid by the German National Tourist Office and Visit Berlin, who had no control over its content.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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