Bordering on Berlin-Mitte, Strausberger Platz is located in Friedrichshain, one of Berlin’s most popular districts. The district owes much of its current fame to a mile-long stretch of road that has made Friedrichshain what it is today: Warschauer Straße, the district’s beating heart.
How It All Began
Earmarked as a major thoroughfare as early as 1864, Warschauer Straße is today part of the inner city ring road that connects the areas of Gesundbrunnen, Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. In 1874, it was named after the Polish capital that was then the third-largest city of the Russian Empire.
Trams have been running along Warschauer Straße since 1901, with two more lines added in 1920. Today, the road remains one of the most important connections into and out of Friedrichshain.
Warschauer Straße as a Hub of Cultural Activity
Warschauer Straße’s current incarnation as a popular destination for shoppers, diners and drinkers also dates back to its beginnings. The mile-long stretch of road is studded with a variety of shops, cafés, bars and restaurants.
Post-reunification, the former Eastern district became a trendy place to live and socialise that attracted people from diverse cultures and backgrounds and transformed the area between Warschauer Straße and Boxhagener Platz into one of Berlin’s hippest neighbourhoods.
One of the German capital’s largest cultural centres is located at the southern end of Warschauer Straße, close to the railway tracks. The former premises of the Reichsbahn Repair Workshop (RAW) have been leased to a number of different event organisers including the Kulturverein RAW-Tempel e.V., which uses some of the buildings to run various intercultural projects.
Also on the premises is a 65,000ft2 indoor skating arena with a large summer garden, an open-air cinema, an indoor climbing centre and the Cassiopeia music venue.
Other attractions include the Astra Cultural Centre, a concert hall, several art galleries and the Haubentaucher private swimming pool and club. Regular food and Christmas markets also attract large numbers of visitors to the area.
Cross Warschauer Brücke and you’ll be able to enjoy stunning views of the Mercedes Benz Arena, a multi-purpose arena that sees 1.3 million visitors a year, the Ostbahnhof and the TV Tower on Alexanderplatz. The bridge is a bottleneck for thousands of commuters who cross here every day to transfer between U-Bahn and S-Bahn.
View from Warschauer Brücke; source: Bernt Mueller [CC BY-SA 2.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
Buildings of Interest
Among its many treasures, Warschauer Straße features several listed buildings with varied architectural styles and histories. Opposite the eponymous U-Bahn station at its southern end, the redbrick “Palace of Industry” currently houses a hostel and a boutique hotel. Further north, close to where Warschauer Straße meets Kopernikusstraße, there is a residential building designed in a neo-baroque style. The neo-classicist property at the intersection between Warschauer Straße and Frankfurter Allee is also worth checking out: a mixed-use building dating back to 1956 and designed in the same wedding-cake style as the development on Strausberger Platz.
Neo-baroque style House at Warschauer Straße; source: © Achim Raschka / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) oder GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Bottom Line
Friedrichshain is one of Berlin’s most desirable locations, with Warschauer Straße as its pulsing artery where the charm of the German capital’s historic heritage meets international influences to make Berlin the exciting metropolis it is today. Visit Warschauer Straße and the surrounding areas to explore the district’s unique attractions – or why not go one better and come here to live for a while? The Central Berlin development on Strausberger Platz offers great opportunities to experience both the snazzy ambience of Mitte and the authentic Berlin feeling of Friedrichshain.