This map plots the settings and references in Stasiland

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Berlin: Districts & Localities
Berlin districts and localities
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBerlin districts and localities - Credit: Angr

 

The Bode Museum, from the river
Creative Commons AttributionThe Bode Museum, from the river - Credit: dalbera

 Mitte (literally 'middle') lies at the centre of Berlin, and is home to many of the city's major landmarks, including the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial. The river Spree runs through Mitte, forming the Museuminsel (Museum Island) where the Cathedral sits alongside renowned institutions and museums such as the Pergamon Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie and the Bode Museum.

 

Alexanderplatz
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeAlexanderplatz - Credit: Aktron

  A major transport hub and the traditional location of public protests, Alexanderplatz is also home to the Fernsehturm (Television Tower), the tallest building in Germany. This incredible photographic project provides a real insight: in Berlin Mitte: Explorations of an Urban Conversion, Ulrich Wüst explores changes to the urban environment of Mitte over a 10 year period, starting around 1996, the year Anna Funder begins her book.

 

Potsdamer Platz
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePotsdamer Platz - Credit: Arminia

  Potsdamerplatz ‪is a kilometre south of the Brandenburg Gate and just to the southeast of the Tiergarten. It has long been an important public square. Totally ruined in World War II, it was not until after the Cold War that rebuilding commenced. The expensive development, replete with international brand names, is in stark contrast to the communist ideals of the former GDR.

 

Singing on a sunny Sunday at a flea market in Prenzlauer Berg
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumSinging on a sunny Sunday at a flea market in Prenzlauer Berg - Credit: Susannah Worth

After the reunification in 1990, Prenzlauer Berg was a buzzing bohemia, home to alternative lifestyles, artists and young people. Today, it is rather more gentrified and fashionable, with an array of cafes, beer gardens, restaurants and nightlife: in Stasiland, Anna Funder mentions walking past students eating and laughing outside cafes on Kollwitzplatz. Germany's largest synagogue is in Prenzlauer Berg.

 

A stall at the Carnival of Cultures, Kreuzberg
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumA stall at the Carnival of Cultures, Kreuzberg - Credit: Susannah Worth

In many ways, Kreuzberg is a segregated area, divided between a large Turkish population and more middle class residents. Though diverse and exciting, the area suffers from high unemployment and low incomes. While May Day in Berlin is enjoyed as a day for demonstrations and free speech, protests have been known to descend into violence and rioting in Kreuzberg. Despite this, Kreuzberg hosts the annual, colourful Carnival of Cultures. It is associated with the punk and hiphop music scene, and attracts artists and alternative lifestyles thanks in part to its low rents.

 

Lichtenberg Train Station was used as a Moscow train station in the film 'The Bourne Ultimatum'
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLichtenberg Train Station was used as a Moscow train station in the film 'The Bourne Ultimatum' - Credit: Dieter Brügmann

To the east of central Berlin, Lichtenberg is a district laden with a dark past, as the site of the former Stasi Headquarters and the notorious prison at Hohenschönhausen, both of which are now open to the public as museums and memorials. In addition, it suffers ongoing neo-Nazi activity. Lichtenberg is explored in the Bookmark for page 143.

 

Photograph taken from an old apartment block on Siegfriedstrasse, looking west towards Normannenstrasse, and beyond towards the centre of Berlin
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumPhotograph taken from an old apartment block on Siegfriedstrasse, looking west towards Normannenstrasse, and beyond towards the centre of Berlin - Credit: Susannah Worth

 

 

 

 

Volkspark Friedrichshain, in the area of Friedrichshain, is a huge inner city green space that borders Prenzlauer Berg. This area suffered the worst damage in World War II, but today it is thriving; many media and design companies have set up here, and its cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs are among the best in Berlin. While Friedrichshain still boasts the low rents and squatted houses that have made it what it is today, the area is undergoing rapid gentrification. 

 

Bar25 on the Spree, at Holzmarkt, Friedrichshain
Creative Commons AttributionBar25 on the Spree, at Holzmarkt, Friedrichshain - Credit: Andreas Praefcke