Cultural events in a listed factory building along the former GDR border
Today, this 7,000 sqm venue at the edge of the Spree River is the site for countless concerts, fairs and parties – but the building complex in Berlin’s Treptow district was originally used quite differently: Designed by architect Franz Ahrens, the arena was built in 1927 as a bus hall for Berlin's public transport system. At the time, it was Europe's largest free-standing hall and could hold 240 buses. During the Nazi period, it was turned into a weapons arsenal. After the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, it was no longer accessible due to its location; after the German reunification, Berlin’s public transport services officially closed the building altogether.
Various locations on one area
In the mid-1990ies, extensive refurbishments were carried out on the complex, and the Arena Berlin is now one of the most important venues for cultural events in the city. The Arena has been expanded over the years to include additional venues in the vicinity. The ‘Glass House’ of the Arena, a club, theatre and café, for example, is located in what was once a turner’s shop, offering panoramic views of the Spree River with its fully glazed façade.
Great views can also be enjoyed from aboard the club and restaurant ship MS Hoppetosse, which is anchored along the banks of the Spree River. The ship also hosts a reggae party every Sunday, entitled ‘Yaam’. The neighbouring ship features a swimming pool in the summer with plenty of space to lay in the sun, and changes into a roofed sauna landscape in winter.
Other venues of the Arena Berlin include the Arena Club, the restaurant ‘Anhalt’ and the bar ‘Freischwimmer’. The summer months are a busy time here, with concerts, parties, various annual events, like the European music festival ‘Popdeurope’, and open-air ‘Unplugged’ concerts on the pool ship.
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