After the Wall fell, Berlin established itself as a Cultural Centre. After the West won, we can now see where it got them. In this diversity of today’s Berlin, is something for every one of us. Street art, culture, history, and many history lessons to remember for generations to come. This is a self-guided walking tour (with some U-Bahn in between) to discover Berlin Before and After the Wall regarding Berlin’s Culture.
When I say everyone, I literally mean it. I talked to many people from all around the world, who have moved to Berlin. Because they simply love it. The creative vibes, the liberation and the artistic opportunities are hard to resist to, especially if you are a creator of art. And somehow, we all are.
1. Berlin Before and After the Wall: How the West Won (and Where It Got Them)
2. Berlin Before and After the Wall: Central Berlin
3. Berlin Before and After the Wall: Berlin’s Culture (this post)
It is hard to explain how Berlin’s Culture feels like and how much of it is there, but I will try my best.
Today’s Berlin’s Culture: How it all started?
Politically, artistic and any other way. We all remember the famous moment when East got reunited with the West. If now, here it is:
Self-guided tour “Berlin Before and After the Wall: Berlin’s Culture”
Notice this is a tour of different culture interest points in Berlin. To squeeze it all in one day, I recommend buying a 1-day transport ticket (7 Euros). If you plan to do to visit some museums, you should consider also the Berlin Welcome Card, which has many discounts included and the transport pass.
Woke up in my beautiful hostel room, at the Wombat’s City Hostel, enjoyed my balcony view and the breakfast view (one of the best in the entire city). Also, I have discovered the cute wall murals of wombats all around the hostel. Aren’t they cute?
I thought it is hilarious. Also, the lonely wombats sitting alone on the stairs were so cute.
So had a quick breakfast, and headed towards the U-Bahn station U Weinmeisterstraße. Going to explore a famous neighbourhood of Berlin.
Start your morning in Kreuzberg. From the Wombat’s Berlin, you have to take the U-Bahn (U Weinmeisterstraße to U-Bhf Schönleinstraße (6 stops) ). There I met up with Kash from Budget Traveller (who lived in Berlin for 1 year and shared with me some of his favourite spots). This was the second amazing day we spend together in Berlin, exploring Kreuzberg. On the first day, we explored Central Berlin. And loved that one too. Also because it was close to my hostel, The Wombat’s Berlin.
From there you can wander around those streets, feel how the locals live. Wak towards the Landwehr Canal, and walk along the canal. Every Tuesday and Friday, from 11 am until 6 30 pm, there is an exciting Turkish flea market along the Canal. restaurants, coffee shops, and Instagram worthy scenery are all around.
Kreuzberg, also know as X-berg (Kreuz (ger) stands for cross) used to know as an isolated and poor area of the West Berlin. Today it represents a cultural centre, which is famous worldwide for its alternative urban scenery.
Expect to find a lot of cultural diversity here, as the neighbourhood has many Turkish residents, but not only. Also, it is known as a hot spot for LGBTQ life and arts in Berlin.
Very hipster. Good coffee. Intimate location. People drinking their coffee in a very relaxed way.
This is a music club, near Heinrichplatz, which takes its name from the area postal code. SO stands for Südost (South East). The Kreuzberg district has historically been home to the Berlin punk rock movement, as well as other alternative subcultures in Germany. Why is it so famous? During the 70s, SO36 was a favourite place of musicians such as Iggy Pop and David Bowie.
The club runs to this day.
A place of modern design and visual culture. This concept store, enhances the heart of Kreuzberg, with amazing pieces of contemporary fashion. What can you find in the Voo Store? Magazines, books, art pieces and innovative fashion.
What more shouts unity than a market of international cuisine? Asian, African, European and more. All vendors under the same roof. This marketplace is recommended by locals, to get the real beat of Berlin, the same way locals do. They host many culinary events all year round, and every Thursday afternoon until late evening, they have the Street Food Thursday event.
Sahara Imbiss Sudanesische Spezialitäten
Right before the entrance to the marketplace, a small, but tasty falafel place you need to visit. If you are a vegan and falafel addict, like I am, this could be the best falafel you’ve ever had. With only 3 tables outside, it gets crowded and people eat on the sidewalk.
After walking a bit in Kreuzberg, I’ve discovered this park. Not big, not small. But nice and cosy. Street art is all over this former train station. Some bars were opening around noon, and people relaxing on the grass. It is considered to be a popular green space, by the locals. Some recreational stuff going on.
This is an iconic place to see, visit, to take photos of, walk on and admire when you are in Berlin. No worries, probably you will not miss if, especially if you are going to see the East Side Gallery, which is a must. Especially for your first time in town.
This bridge connects the two very different parts of Berlin, both physical and cultural. It was a very special place for me, and it gave me a feeling of inspiration and gratefulness. Go, and visit it. You will know why.
East Side Gallery
This is a standing stip of the Berlin Wall, which stands today as a symbol of unity and love. Artists from all over the world came to paint the wall, to delight visitors with their murals. It creates a huge contrast between what is used to mean and the symbol it is today.
The entire stip is a bit longer than 1 km and it’s between the river Spree and the street. It is a touristic hotspot, and that’s why street artists and other people roam around. Watch your stuff. As always, touristic places can be a bit dangerous.
I am always hungry. The thing is I don’t eat much. So after visiting the East Side Gallery, I came back towards the U-Bahn station, and across the street is a nice, vegan place. Lovely decorations. They have many bowls of yummy food. The prices are above average, for a budget traveller, but the bowl was huge. I wasn’t able to eat more than half.
The view is lovely, the staff are friendly, and the food is delicious.
After you had a bowl of vegan goodies and a coffee, cross the street to discover your next favourite place in Berlin. Urban Spree is a garden, art studio, tattoo studio (I saw someone getting a tattoo while I was around the garden, taking pics). The alternative spirit of the entire place will get you creative. Visit the nice, small gallery of contemporary arts.
After you had also a beer, you are in the mood to spend more time immersed in this alternative world of Berlin. Exit the Urban Spree and continue your way on that artistic area. Discover the many murals, small bars and restaurants. If you see a yellow telephone cabin, go inside it. It is a karaoke cabin. Crazy. Fun. Alternative. Creative.
This field used to be an airport field. Since it was closed, in 2008, it became frequented by locals. Since there are no restrictions to walk around, except the building, which is closed, people come here to relax. Drink a beer, go biking, play with kites or go for a run around the field.
Klunkerkranich rooftop bar
I love to discover new rooftops, where ever I go. And Berlin has plenty. Although so far, I found only one place you can stay at and have a beautiful rooftop (The Wombat’s Berlin), the Klunkerranich is a relaxed place, full of culture and green plants. A band was getting ready to play, while I was ordering a beer. And they have ice cream. You will love it if you consider yourself an indie-hipster.
Azzam restaurant Turkish
One of my favourite foods in the world is Turkish food. Also because I lived in Turkey and got to experience plenty of their culture, which is truly amazing. And different from anything else. So food. This is a small restaurant, cheap, in the heart of Kreuzberg.
Because many residents of Kreuzberg are Turkish (you know Germany has the biggest Turkish community, outside of the country’s borders), walking on these streets will seem like you teleported and arrived somewhere in Turkey. Fresh produce markets, street food, kebap and people talking in Turkish everywhere. I tried to tell you Berlin is a multicultural city and its diversity might be more than you expected.
Head over to Hermannplatz, admire the fresh vegetable market, and then go to the metro station. (U Hermannplatz)
The final stop is Teufelsberg, which literally translates into The Devil’s Mountain. If you want to know how big is Berlin, this is where you will find the answer.
How to reach Teufelsberg on foot? You can take the U-Bahn until U Theodor-Heuss-Platz and then take the bus M49 for 2 more stops, or you can take the S-Bahn until S Heerstraße. From there you have to walk, for a while. The area is really quiet, and green. after 10 minutes of walking, you will leave the residential area behind, and there will be just you and the woods. And some people on the bikes. But don’t be scared, others do walk there too.
From the main street until the entrance to Teufelsberg, it took me around 40 minutes. There is an entrance fee, which was 5 Euros in June 2018. It used to be more, but the tower is closed for the public and you cannot go inside. Which is a pity, because that is where you can get the best panoramic view of the entire city. And the galleries in the tower are fantastic. This is a hot spot for street artists, and everything there is used to display a message or an idea.
Interesting facts about Teufelsberg:
- It is an artificially build mountain. After the WW2 they used this place to put all the debris from the city, which was looking like a ruin. And they also wanted to bury the Nazi military-technical college which was under construction, in this very place.
- The construction from the top of the mountain are radomes of the former NSA listening station on the top of Teufelsberg. (As in secret service stuff)
Because I am lucky and sociable and nice, I ran into two local street artists who were working on a mural there. They helped me discover more about Berlin’s culture. I was there when this was painted, and got the meet the artists: @canion.berlin and @scary.site.
And save the self-guided tour for later:
This post was brought to you as a result of the #wombatsTraveller blog trip, created and managed by iambassador (http://www.iambassador.net) in partnership with wombat’s CITY HOSTELS [https://www.wombats-hostels.com].
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