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Yesterday I must have walked down Berlin’s most visually unappealing street: The Invaliden Strasse. One road-work sat beside the next and most of the facades where covered up or just not that much to look at … and it was loud. To be fair I think it may only be a temporary phenomenon but not very inspiring none the less.

But maybe I should start at the beginning and explain how I ended up walking down the Invaliden Strasse anyway. I had decided to visit the “Gedenkstaette Berliner Mauer” (Berlin Wall Memorial) that stretches along the Bernauer Strasse. If you have ever seen film footage from the 60s of people jumping out of windows to escape from East into West Berlin it was taken there.

After WWII the Bernauer Strasse split the French, English and American Quarters from the Russian one and on the 13 August 1961 the SED (the ruling communist party) bricked up all the house windows and doors facing into the west and started constructing the Wall.

Streching over 1.4km, the memorial is a combination of leftover relics of the time (1961-89) and modern reminders of what happened.

Bernauer Strasse

Bernauer Strasse

a map of the wall

a map of the wall

metal reminders of where it stood

metal reminders of where it stood

the west side of the wall

the west side of the wall

they dug up parts of a grave-yard to install the wall, this cross stands for all the bodies that remained in the earth underneath the strip

they dug up parts of a grave-yard to install the wall, this cross stands for all the bodies that remained in the earth underneath the strip

when they were certing the memorial they found some old cement foundations ... this one had footprints from the builders in it

when they were certing the memorial they found some old cement foundations … this one had footprints from the builders in it

In 1985 the SED blew up the at the old Versoehnungs Kirche (Reconciliation Church). A new one was built in it's place. This is a fragment from the original cross that the people hid

In 1985 the SED blew up the at the old Versoehnungs Kirche (Reconciliation Church). A new one, a chapel,  was built in it’s place. This is a fragment from the original cross that the people hid

some stucco reminds of the old neo-gothic church

some stucco reminds of the old neo-gothic church

they grow  rye around the church and once a year they harvest it and bake bread from it ... this year it will be on the 25th of July but i don't know what happens to the bread

they grow rye around the church and once a year they harvest it and bake bread from it … this year it will be on the 25th of July but i don’t know what happens to the bread

at the new Versoehnungs Kirche (Reconciliation Church)

at the new Versoehnungs Chapel Reconciliation Church)

up on the visitors platform you can see the Fernsehturm in the distance

up on the visitors platform you can see the Fernsehturm in the distance

konkers

konkers

a piece an old wall ... not THE wall

a piece an old wall … not THE wall

some new architecture where old houses stood, the memorial where the wall once was

some new architecture where old houses stood, the memorial where the wall once was

After walking around the impressive and interesting memorial I couldn’t help but fall into a contemplative mood. And as I strolled away from the Bernauer Strasse towards the Hamburger Bahnhof (Bahnhof means Trainstation), Berlin’s main contemporary art museum, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the noisy, dusty and unpleasant atmosphere of the Invaliden Strasse. But in between the road-works I found the impressive Museum of Natural History and the Humboldt University and finally reached the Hamburger Bahnhof.

a decorative door

a decorative door

the ever-present tram-lines

the ever-present tram-lines

the Museum of Natural History

the Museum of Natural History

The Humboldt University

The Humboldt University

a university fence

a university fence

some old, unloved windows on the other side of the road

some old, unloved windows on the other side of the road

a big smurf greeting me outside the Hamburger Bahnhof

a big smurf greeting me outside the Hamburger Bahnhof

inside the old trainstation

inside the old trainstation

reminders of its past

reminders of its past

look up

look up

pieces of modern art

pieces of modern art

the installation "no exit" ... that does lead to an exit

the installation “no exit” … that does lead to an exit

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