I had planned to spend my last day on an interesting airconditioned museum but like everywhere else … Mondays are not a good day for museum visits, they are closed. My flight was not until 19.40. And it started off as a very hot day.
First I took the S-bahn to Hackescher Markt, which has become a shopping hotspot because famous designer shops, as well as newer and younger Berlin labels, are offering their products here. Unusual clothes, outrageous shoes or fancy accessories can be found in small and medium-sized shops in this area. So, don’t expect to find a bargain here since prices around Hackescher Markt are higher than average.
Formerly a rather neglected area, Hackescher Markt with its old buildings has developed into a cultural and commercial centre after German reunification, famous for its nightlife centred on the Hackesche Höfe courtyard ensemble. The square is also served by several tramways and night bus lines. A weekly market is still held every Thursday and Saturday.
The complex was built by architect and construction entrepreneur Kurt Berndt, launched 1906 and occupied by offices, shops, factories and apartments homes. Kurt Berndt, a property developer, and August Endell, an architect, took over the property and restored the front courtyard (Hof 1) in Art Nouveau style with ceramic tiles that Endell had designed himself. Initially, the project was doing well, but WWI changed everything. A heritage site since 1972, they represent the largest, enclosed courtyard area in Germany.
Today the Hackesche Hoefe is one of the trendiest spots in central Berlin with restaurants, cafes and shops. They attract tons of visitors every day. Hof 1 includes a cinema, several bars and restaurants. Hof 2 houses the Chameleon Theatre, as well as several offices. The smaller remaining courtyards are quieter and feature mainly small shops, galleries and apartments.
I had a wander around in the country yard … wonderful shops, restaurants and cafes. I was even looking at a dress, but it was sold just in front of my eyes to a Danish lady. The last one, so I saved €400.
After that, I walked some of the streets around the Hackesche Hoefe and finally decided to enjoy a healthy smoothie before starting walking down the Oranienburger Str. at “dean & david“– a large green one.
Located by the Monbijou Park, that has a public children bath/pool with some adult facilities like saunas. Which I didn’t see … if I had known I had taken a peek. Looks great on their website: “Kinderbad Monbijou”.
On Oranienburger Str. is the Neue Synagogue located – beautiful building … with its golden dome.
The New Synagogue (Neue Synagoge), along with the Jewish Museum and the Holocaust memorial is one of Berlin’s most significant Jewish landmarks. Built in 1866, to seat 3200 people as the largest Jewish place of worship in Germany, the Neue Synagogue was literally a symbol of the thriving Jewish community. With 160,000 Jewish citizens in 1933, Berlin was the centre of Liberal Judaism.
Services were held here until 1940 when the building was confiscated by the Nazis and almost completely destroyed by Allied bombings in 1943.
The subsequent GDR governments only kept the main façade as a memorial – as this was the only structurally intact part of the building – but the main Hall had to be demolished in 1958. The front of the building was rebuilt in 1988-91 with Federal Government financial support and the Dome was reconstructed in 1991 and is open to visitors.
The Neue Synagogue and the Centrum Judaicum are now one of the most important centres of Jewish life in Germany.
It looked very closed up otherwise I would have gone inside. Could find an open entrance, but on their website is it open every day except Saturdays. So a visit goes on my next visit do-it list.
On the next street corner, I meet the Postfuhramt, that once housed the central office of Berlin’s pneumatic postal system as well as the main post office for packages. In addition, the building contained a postal and telegraph school. Beneath the roofs were sleeping quarters and dressing rooms for the postal staff, and in the courtyard were coach houses for the mail carriages and horse stables.
Scientists and inventors who contributed greatly to the development of communication are portrayed on the 24 medallions on the building’s facade. The building is currently empty.
It was completed in 1881 and was at that time one of the largest public buildings in Berlin. Since 1975 it is under monument protection.
At this time I needed some air-condition existence … and my mind went to the Berlin Hauptbahnhof – which I have visited a couple of times when been in transit, but never taken a close look on. So I jumped on tram M9. But that story will be told later on.
“Warm is warm.”
Lailah Gifty Akita