What you need to know about Lichtenberg
Lichtenberg is an up-and-coming borough, with young families moving to the area around the Rummelsburger Bucht bay and creatives living the dream in charming old industrial buildings. The residents in this former working-class district are hearty and down-to-earth – real Berlin characters. Lichtenberg rapidly grew in the late nineteenth century, attracting new industries to the location and creating a building boom to house the workers and their families. The borough not only still has many traces of that industrial development, but also sites from Lichtenberg’s different eras – from Berlin’s only remaining row of loam-and-brick houses in the former Falkenberg village to the charming Friedrichsfelde Palace, modernist architecture, and the Stasi complex and remand prison.
Lichtenberg’s architecture and history
Lichtenberg combines a rural village feel with big city lifestyles – and has a lot to discover. It has always been one of the boroughs at the forefront of developments in Berlin – as is evident from its architecture. With industrial complexes developing around the Rummelsburger Bucht bay and along the River Spree from the mid-nineteenth century, this area was dubbed the Straße der Arbeit (Street of Work). In the 1920s, Lichtenberg attracted many renowned figures from the Neues Bauen architectural movement, including such names as Mies van der Rohe, who designed the Haus Lemke directly on the Obersee lake. Later, in the years of East Germany, the Fennpfuhl district was the site of the first P2 concrete-slab high-rise – a style of apartment block that not only came to characterise Lichtenberg, but many new developments in the GDR.
Lichtenberg also offers many windows on contemporary history. For example, as you stroll across the park-like Friedrichsfelde cemetery, you can find the graves of many prominent twentieth-century figures in Germany. The exhibition at the German-Russian Museum Karlshorst, located at a historic site, showcases the chequered history of German and Russian relations, while the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, a former Stasi remand prison, offers fascinating insights into political persecution in the former East Germany.
Diversity from the River Spree to Brandenburg
Lichtenberg stretches 13 kilometres – from the banks of the River Spree at the Rummelsburger Bucht bay to Malchow and Falkenberg in the north where Berlin’s only pairs of storks nest every year. On the way north, you pass innumerable parks, gardens and lake shores where you can stroll and relax. Tierpark Berlin is Europe’s largest wildlife park – a perfect day out for families. With a programme including international guest performances, the Theater an der Parkaue, Berlin’s municipal youth theatre, is also very popular with children and young people.
The Obersee and Orankesee lakes are much loved for walking and recreation. In summer, this is where locals gather to relax at the bathing beach or the lakeside beer gardens. The Kaskelkiez neighbourhood, founded in the late nineteenth century, is home to a wealth of galleries and cafés. And if you fancy a flutter on the horses, you’ll enjoy a day out at the Karlshorst Harness Racing Track, Lichtenberg’s traditional racing venue going back over 100 years. And talking of sports, Berlin is also home to Europe's largest sports and training centre, the Olympiastützpunkt Berlin (OSP), which has produced numerous Olympic champions. And where is it? In Lichtenberg of course!