Potsdamer Square

Potsdamer Square (48)

Although Potsdamer Platz (Square) is rather grey, it is one of Berlin’s most well-known landmarks.

Before the war, this square was one of the nucleases of the city, with an active cultural and commercial life. But after being bombed, it was left severely damaged and no repair work was carried out on it. Years later, with the construction of the Berlin wall, it was left completely divided and found itself in the middle of no-man’s land, thus ensuring that it lost its past splendour. In the information panels around the square, important events that make up its history are explained. Just reading them will give you an idea of what really happened here. 

Potsdamer Platz is exactly where the British, American and Soviet sectors met. That is why Berliners sometimes refer to it as the ´corner of the three sectors`.

It is thus a very symbolic place. As a rather depressing point of interest, it is worth mentioning that between 1961 and 1989 there were so-called ´Tourist Platforms` here, where tourists could stand and see how people lived in the Eastern zone, on the other side of the wall. 

However, in the end the wall came down and the authorities decided to discard all relics of the past and remodel the Potsdamer Platz. 

Nowadays it does not look very much like a square. It is completely surrounded by shops, offices, restaurants, hotels, cinemas and cafes. Potsdamer Platz has quickly become the centre of the new Berlin. 

The building which most stands out here is the Sony Centre - inaugurated in the year 2000, it is an architectural landmark without precedents. Designed by Helmut Jahn, it really is a remarkable building which consists of a square in the middle featuring a glass canopy and steel beams. At night it is lit up with changing coloured lights. People come here to pass the time and there are places to sit down, have a coffee, and free wi-fi. 

In the very same square there is also the Berlin Cinema Museum, which is home to all the history of Germany’s seventh art, from its beginnings up to today. The most attractive parts of its collection are the rooms dedicated to the actress Marlene Dietrich, and the section showing what cinema was like during the Nazi era, with Leni Riefenstahl as the regime’s main cinematographer.  

It is also worth having a look at the shops inside the Potsdamer Arkaden Commercial Centre. Finally, do not miss the chance to see the Huth Haus, a resistant building if ever there was one. It can claim to have survived the world war and three decades of communist domination. Designed in 1912 by Conrad Heiden-reich and Paul Mitchel, it was one of the first buildings in the city to have a framework of steel. Inside there is a restaurant, and the well-known ´DaimlerCrhrysler Contemporary` galleries on the fourth floor.

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