Like an insecure teenager, Berlin continuously changes its appearance. Construction sites dominate the city’s skyline and any district’s character can shift within the blink of an eye. What was once hip is no longer, and once sleepy, insignificant neighbourhoods are now the most fashionable go-to areas.
When we came to Berlin for the first time eight years ago, I had a small apartment in Friedrichshain in the former East of Berlin. Back then, the area was established as a desirable place to live, with many emerging bars and small shops. Yet, the rents were low and the area kept a slightly run down charm all throughout the year I lived there. Today, it is one of the most popular party districts of Berlin and despite its decidedly international and educated touch, it is compared to the infamous Ballermann in Mallorca by the local newspapers. The image above is at Warschauer Strasse train station, one of the main access points to the area and a major construction site since years.
At the border of three other districts (Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Tempelhof), one of the best places to visit for those who seek to experience change is the former airport Tempelhof. It is the place where the supply planes landed during the Berlin airlift. The airport was shut down in 2008 and the former airfield is now a public space.
History is being reverted at the Humboldtforum where the city palace of Berlin stood before the second world war. This area of the city belonged to GDR and the site of the palace became the site of the asbestos contaminated Palast der Republik. In 2003, it was decided to demolish this reminder of the unpopular past and to rebuild the old city palace instead. The construction site can be visited until 2019 (or possibly even longer).
Not all the architectural influence of the GDR has been or is being removed though. Berlin’s TV tower, constructed by the GDR in the 1960ies, is still the most emblematic feature in the city’s skyline, ranks among its most popular tourist attractions and is depicted on most postcards and souvenirs.