Berlin, Bauten und Baumeister

Having read the first chapter of Uwe Kieling’s “Berlin, Bauten und Baumeister,� I now clearly feel to own a better understanding of the origin and development of the twin city Berlin-Cölln. And by understanding, I have found a deeper sense for the new city of Berlin. Of course, I cannot identify with the guilt and victimization whose scars this city bears, but a stranger’s sense of penetrating appears now to settle. I now, am eager to go out and discover the remnants of this early history, to see what once was called the Fishermarket, to see the once swarming Molkenmarkt.

We start today’s tour from Jannowitz Brücke, where Stralauertor once rose. From here, you could oversee the city wall and the Spree, cutting through the heart of the dual city, up to the Mühlendamm. Because the locks are now located before the quay at the Mühlendamm Brücke, you still get a sense for the livelihood on the water, that was the source of richness of this city. Ships and boats are docked at the quay, the former New Fisher’s Market. North from here, also now you see the western towers of the Nicolaikirche, further away is still the Marienkirche.

Here in the Nicolai Viertel, some of the medieval denseness of life has been preserved, or rather recreated, for like the rest of Berlin this area suffered much from the Second World War. We visit the Nicolai church, with its scattered sculptures and collection of gravestones that survived the destructions in Berlin. The Fischer Insel once was the location of Cölln, but the city was completely overshadowed by its twin Berlin, and ultimately would vanish in anonymity. We pass through the area where the Köpenickertor stood, now the Neue Ross Strasse, turn left to the Märkisches Museum. Here we see some of the findings from the primal history of the Berlin area, carved stones, axes, and jewelry. We view some jewelry from the Slavic periods, very refined silver necklaces, a canoe, and other findings. This is perhaps the most interesting exhibition, since little is there to be found about earlier Berlin. It is easy to be overwhelmed with 19th century neo-gothic and neo-classicism, or with baroque, in Berlin.

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