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On Tour through Old Charlottenburg

Dropout Series

© visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

Millions of people are on the move every day in Berlin. They get off buses and trains, heading to work or going shopping. In the process, they lose sight of Berlin. We’ll take an especially close look, enjoying Berlin to the fullest! Today’s stop: Richard-Wagner-Platz

Richard-Wagner-Platz is the perfect starting point for my tour today: I want to explore the old Charlottenburg in the fresh spring air. And from this great square, I can already see the first highlight of my personal top 5 in Old Charlottenburg:

1. Granted, the 88 m sandstone tower is hard to overlook. When I first moved to Berlin, I always thought it was a church steeple. But I quickly learned that the imposing tower belongs to the equally impressive Charlottenburg city hall on Otto-Suhr-Allee. It was opened in 1905, just when Charlottenburg celebrated the bicentennial of its founding. The city hall’s predecessor was on Schloßstraße. Yet as the population of the then independent city grew by 294,000 people between 1860 and 1910, it was simply too small.

2. Just around the corner, I’m standing in front of the old hall of Stadtbad Charlottenburg. The beautiful Art Nouveau building with a red brick façade was built in 1896-98 and is now the oldest indoor pool in the city. The entrance hall with its archways and warm colours makes quite an impression as you enter. And the swimming pool is in no way inferior when it comes to beauty, although it is decorated in blue tones. There’s no question about it: This is my favourite place to go for a swim!                  

3. The oldest house of Charlottenburg stands at Schustehrusstraße 13 and was built in 1712. At that time, the street was still home to wooden stalls where meat and bread were sold. Today, the cottage has been spruced up with white paint and green shutters, but it is evident that it comes from an earlier era. In contrast to the neighbouring houses, it only has one storey! The house is now home to the Ceramics Museum Berlin which features temporary exhibitions.

4. Nearby, Villa Oppenheim is also a museum, in this case, the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf Museum. My favourite place there: the cinema. I am particularly fond of the historical films about Charlottenburg. I’ve even caught a glimpse of my present apartment building in one or the other film! The media station shows maps from different eras in the district’s history and all kinds of interesting facts about my home district, such as biographies of famous locals and a list of tripping stones. Admission is free, so don’t miss it!  

5. What else, then? Charlottenburg Palace, of course! Whether I visit as the bright summer sun is shining or under the cover of snow in winter, the palace is always stunning. And a walk or run through the vast palace gardens is always great! Charlottenburg owes its name, of course, to the palace, so named by the Prussian King Frederick I after the death of his wife Sophie Charlotte in 1705. Previously, the surrounding village had been known as Lietzow. I definitely like Charlottenburg better! P.S. A walk through the residential areas east and west of Schloßstraße is also worthwhile as the streets are home to some lovely, renovated old buildings. And the artist Heinrich Zille also worked in this neighbourhood. Written by Kathrin Hoffmann

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