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Destination Berlin: Alexanderplatz

Destination Berlin: Alexanderplatz Ph. Juri Signorini

Messy, frenetic and full of questionable architectural works, Alexander Platz has always been the most famous square in Berlin. Its name dates back to 1805, when during a visit to Berlin of Tsar Alexander I, the square that housed the cattle and wool market, the Ochsenmarkt (cattle market, in fact), was renamed Alexander Platz.

The square was the scene of the main events of the Berlin history and a crucial point for the traffic of the capital: as much as 20 tram and bus lines intersect at this point!

The aspect that keeps today is a clear socialist architecture testimony, all surrounded by bulky tower blocks as the "House of the Teacher", the "House of Travel", the "House of the Electronic Industry" and the “Hotel Stadt Berlin”. But the iconic building of Alexander Platz is undoubtedly the TV tower, which with its 365 meters high, a meter for each day of the year, dominates the town and is the tallest structure in Western Europe.

An elevator that rises at a speed of 6 meters per second, takes visitors to the steel ball, at an altitude of 203 meters, which offers a spectacular view across Berlin. Finally, two iconic symbols: the “Urania Weltzeituhr”, the clock that marks the hours of the world's major cities, and “Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft”, the fountain overlooking the center of the pedestrian area of the square dedicated to “friendship among peoples”.

At a glance, it would not seem Alexanderplatz was - and perhaps still is - "the heart" of Berlin. Cosmopolitan, hectic, noisy, the "Alex" (as it is called by the Berliners) is definitely one of the most famous squares of the German capital and nerve center of the daily life of its inhabitants.

Alexanderplatz over the years: from market to socialist architecture manifesto

It is in the 1805 it was renamed Alexanderplatz during the visit of Tsar Alexander I in Berlin and his meeting with the King of Prussia William III. The famous square has been first a cattle and wool market named Ochsenmarkt (cattle market), later the grand parade, then again an important commercial center and railway and road junction, always scenery of Berlin’s main events.

Today, Alexanderplatz is a huge messy square crossed by roads and tram tracks and surrounded by a mixture of buildings, inherited from a past more or less distant. At the end of the twenties, an urban project (never fully realized), which aimed to adapt the square to the needs of a metropolis increasingly busy, marked partly its appearance. On the western side of the square were, in fact, built two 8 floors buildings with square windows divided in four panels, intended for offices and shops, whose arrangement formed a "front door" to the town square and conformed to people crossing it. Even today the Alexanderhaus and Berolinahaus are considered two masterpieces of architecture in Berlin in those years.

In the 60s, the German Democratic Republic transformed the square, heavily damaged by the bombs of World War II, in a socialist architecture testimonial, or a huge gray esplanade surrounded by bulky buildings and accompanied by incredible architecture. Aspect that, unfortunately, still retains.

So it was that in the square appeared the Interhotel Stadt Berlin (now Park Inn); the Haus des Lehrers (House of the Teacher); the Haus des Reisens (House of the Travel); the Haus des Elektroindustrie (House of Electronic Industry); the Haus der Statistik (House of the Statistics);. Then the Brunner der Völkerfreundschaft, the fountain dedicated to the friendship among peoples and the Weltzeituhr, the Universal Clock “Urania”, which marks the time of the world's major cities, both classic landmarks and meeting points.

The television tower in the center of Alexanderplatz

But the most famous building of the square is definitely the Fernsehturm (TV Tower) with its 368 meters is the tallest building of the city and one of the highest TV towers in the world. The impressive TV tower dominates the city and, from the 203 meter panoramic roof terrace in the steel ball, offers a spectacular view over Berlin.

USEFULL INFO

Opening hours: open air

Admission: free

How to reach: Metro Alexanderplatz (U2, U5, U8, S3, S5, S7, S75)

Juri

Born in Riccione, a seaside town on the Italian coast of the Adriatic Sea. Of Italian father and a Russian mother, I always define myself a crossroads of cultures, in fact I never identified with a nationality, considering myself a real world citizen.
From the early years of life I've traveled, living periods of time abroad, experiences that have further increased my openness towards the new and the different, and the ability to think outside the box.
I'm graduated Expert for Tourism, and continued hmy studies with a Masters Degree in Economics and Management. During and after the studies, I had a multitude of different jobs, mostly oriented towards tourism (my true passion, together with art and opera). Since 2008 I lives in Milan, working in the finance department of an Italian multinational company.
My passion for culture, led me to found in 2013, Kitabu, a publishing house specializing in the publication of books in electronic format, with which in 2015 I launched various projects regarding web-based magazines about different cultural and leisure themes, on of wich is TravelTv.
Despite the many commitments, however, I've never stopped traveling extensively the world, trying in every place to identify myself with the local population.

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