Spandau is five years older than Berlin, as long-time residents sometimes like to stress proudly.
This is perhaps because, despite all the new buildings, the long history of Spandau can still really be felt in the historic centre. It’s well worth a visit to discover the architecture while strolling through the city.
A tour of the historic city centre
Coming out of the Altstadt Spandau U-Bahn station, you enter the historic city centre, which is now a pedestrian zone and shopping area. Although the old buildings have largely been destroyed in wars and fires, the alleys still maintain their medieval layout. Houses in different architectural styles stand side by side and tell the stories of different eras. One sight worth seeing is the Reformationsplatz with the St. Nikolai church, a three-aisled gothic brick church. Nearby is the Gotische Haus (“Gothic House”) (32 Breite Straße), the stone construction of which was rare and expensive for the 15th century. The network of ribbed vaulting, the double arcades of pointed arches, and the classical external façade (which was built later) all still survive. Today, the Gotische Haus is home to a city history museum and temporary exhibitions. A longer section of the remains of the city wall from the 14th survives on Viktoria-Ufer.
From the historic city centre to the Kolk and the citadel
Crossing the Am Juliusturm road you get to the “Kolk” on Behnitz island. Studies suggest that the Kolk is the oldest settlement area in Spandau. Picturesque restaurants on the Havel river, narrow alleyways, and the St. Marien am Behnitz church, which now offers cultural events, invite visitors to linger. Kolk 5, a house that was restored in the 70s, displays an extraordinary half-timbered façade. Just one U-Bahn stop away lies the Spandau Citadel, one of the most important Renaissance strongholds in Europe, in which, for example, the Citadel Music Festival takes place.