They say that when you look at Berlin from the sky, you can still clearly tell where the border between East and West used to be. Here’s why: streetlights. East and West chose to illuminate their streets in different ways, and the streetlamps still haven’t been reunified.
There’s no better time to pay attention to street lighting than at the start of the darker months of the year!
A classic gas lantern, image courtesy of liligo.de
How great would it be to make short trips to the past? It doesn’t have to be too far back: spend a weekend dancing in the 20s, go shopping in the 50s and watch a band play in the 60s… Let me tell you a little secret: you don’t need a time machine for that! In a city like Berlin, history is everywhere – not just the buildings, but also the opportunity to actually experience it. Here’s where you can be a part of modern history…
Time Travel in Berlin. Image courtesy of suze / photocase.de
The buildings around Strausberger Platz in Berlin are an impressive example of 1950s East German architecture. The so-called “gingerbread style” is a lasting legacy of the past, viewed around the world as representative of socialist influenced architecture. The buildings around Strausberger Platz may be unique in their form and arrangement, but there are further architectural examples all over the world that bear testament to the fact that the spread of this characteristic architectural style, which is also known as Socialist Classicism or Stalinist architecture, was not constrained by national borders.
Is there anything better than travelling the world, getting to know foreign cultures and relaxing in the sun?
Travel planning looked a little different for residents of the GDR: most holidays were spent in their own country or one of the neighbouring socialist states. Still, the GDR had its own airline that flew even as far as Cuba, China and Mozambique.
It’s still there, the Haus des Reisens (house of travel). With its 18 floors and height of 67 metres it’s the tallest building on Alexanderplatz after the Park Inn hotel. Until German reunification, this was the place to visit when you wanted to book your holiday. It was the HQ of ‘Reisebüro der DDR’ (the state travel organization) and had counters for flight and train tickets inside and outside the GDR.
Beach chair. Image courtesy of antjeschade / photocase.de