Finding Karl-Marx-Allee

by Andreas · 19.09.2012 · Kiez Life · 4 comments

Ber­lin in the wee hours is divine. Exper­i­en­cing this serenity when the city wakes up can be the best chill-out effect after dan­cing the night away. Recently, I took a walk home along Karl-Marx-Allee, in my eyes Berlin’s most impress­ive and most scenic grand boulevard.

After the end of WW2, the major­ity of Ber­lin was in ruins. As part of Germany’s recon­struc­tion pro­gram and to demon­strate the power and ingenu­ity of East Ger­man engin­eer­ing (thus the archi­tec­tural coun­ter­part to West Berlin’s Hansavier­tel), Karl-Marx-Allee arose from the rubble in the early 1950s. Con­ceived as the cen­ter of a social­ist res­id­en­tial dis­trict, the 2.3 km long boulevard stretches from Alex­an­der­platz to Frank­furter Tor and was ori­gin­ally called Stal­in­allee until 1961. Due to its dead-straight shape and width of up to 90m, it was also designed to stage parades and other demon­stra­tions of East Germany’s social­ist repub­lic. The so-called wedding-cake style of the eye-catching apart­ment build­ings blends monu­mental Soviet archi­tec­ture with dec­or­at­ive neo­clas­sical ele­ments. Par­tic­u­larly strik­ing are the shiny ceramic tiles cov­er­ing the facades of the “Work­ers’ Palaces”, which unfor­tu­nately — after poor renov­a­tion works — start to fall off some buildings.

From a passer-by’s per­spect­ive, Karl-Marx Allee always looks like a beau­ti­ful sleep­ing giant no mat­ter day or night. Shops come and go and there is prob­ably no other boulevard in the world with such high turnover and vacancy rates. Only time and the implic­a­tions of a poten­tial UNESCO world her­it­age list­ing will tell if Karl-Marx Allee ever becomes the beat­ing heart of a neigh­bor­hood it was once designed for.

3 comments
  1. Great shots! I live near Frank­furter Tor and am always enchanted dur­ing my strolls along Karl-Marx-Allee. Thanks for cap­tur­ing the magic!

  2. Nice pic­tures! :)

  3. Great shots along Karl-Marx-Allee! It appears most/all of the pho­tos were taken in the morn­ing; in any case, the light is beautiful.

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