Hip and cool Berlin and be pretty shallow as with having a highest elevation of only ~100 metres it’s generally got a very flat topography. And since German megalomania once also regulated the maximum height for residential buildings, it is very easy to overlook whole Berlin when standing on elevated places. One of those spots peeping out of the ocean of houses is Berlin-Schöneberg-based Gasometer, an industrial relict once used to store gas but that can be climbed today.
Berlin-based bridge Oberbaumbrücke is a symbol for many things: Where nowadays cars, metros and tourists cross Spree River from north to south, was once the border between the East and the West. The former border strip was guided by the course of the river; a route, that today is famous for pleasure boat trips. The towers of Oberbaumbrücke are not only identity-establishing for the directly neighbouring club Watergate, but stand first and foremost for the vicinity of Berlin and Brandenburg. Also in my life Oberbaumbrücke played an important role, as it was my first contact with the West after the Berlin Wall fell down
As a small boy I was pretty much impressed by the Soviet War Memorial being located in Berlin’s Treptower Park and even today that place has quite some impact. However, nowadays such a visit is generally voluntary than back in the days, as the whole school had got to show up there. Though, that wasn’t a loss as independent from the system one’s living in one could get a feeling for what history means, war stands for and what has to be prevented from happening again. The memorial site lies a bit hidden behind the trees of Treptower Park and only the granite triumphal arches give a hint what can be seen when going further. The war memorial played an important role when the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (GSFG) backed out on June 25th 19 years ago
Many of Berlin’s places of interest, no matter if built for “perpetuity” or perpetually not being accomplished, are often hard-wired to a single name. Ulbricht has his TV Tower, Wowereit his BBI airport desaster and Honecker dreamed of a 100 years lasting wall. In the 1930’s such dreams year-lasting-wise even had one more zero in the end and threw Germany as well as the rest of the world into turmoil. Only a few witnesses reminding of that time are left, for example Berlin’s mighty Olympiastadion, a massive stadium built by Werner March in the west of the city. Photographically I am interpreting its lines and geometry in dramatic contrasts and in Black and White only
Village of 6.000 souls versus military town with up to 75.000 soldiers – Back in the days the Soviets knew very well how to make use of Wünsdorf (Вюнсдорф), a settlement being located in Berlin’s south along the railroad leading to Dresden. Even if the whole territory is abandoned for several years now and completely fenced, it is possible to have a closer look at the heart of the complex, the today’s House of Officers, a building telling manifold stories of times when it was Army Sports School for the Nazi as well as even before for the emperor
After World War II a huge area being located less than a 1 hour car drive away from the highway ring surrounding Berlin became one of Soviet Army’s most important military sites. This abandoned garrison is located near the city of Zehdenick, in the north of the village Vogelsang. At peak time up to 15.000 people lived and worked in the present-day ghost town; soldiers, their relatives as well as civil associates. Some of them controlled nuclear missiles pointing to the west – a piece of Cold War and living history
Why seeking far afield when the good could not be any closer? More and more I am acquiring a taste for taking photos at my own doorstep. The series Impressions from Berlin consciously contains colour as well as black/white images. It is meant to provide a new perspective on already known things and quarry some surprising new insights, for example to reveal that the world’s tallest minaret stands in Berlin