Tour 07 - Cycling Tour of Friedrichshain
The tour kicks off at 17 Boxhagener Straße, right in front of the Hotel Zarenhof Friedrichshain. From the front of hotel, head to your right along Boxhagener Straße to the next corner (Simon-Dach-Straße) and then turn right.
In the last decade of the twentieth century, Simon-Dach-Straße evolved from a quiet residential street into a bustling street known for its nightlife and shopping. This is especially evident in summer, when the more than 1,900 open-air in the cafés and restaurants are fully packed. Ride down Simon-Dach-Straße for three blocks and then take a left onto Wühlischstraße and follow for several blocks until you come back to Boxhagener Straße. Take a right onto Boxhagener Straße, cross the train tracks and then take a right onto Kynaststraße.
As you ride down Kynaststraße, you'll come to the Ostkreuz station. Ostkreuz is currently used by 6 S-Bahn lines, but will also serve regional trains in the future. A striking landmark at the station is a listed water tower. The Ostkreuz water tower stands about 50 metres high and can be seen to the south of the station. It was built in the Art Nouveau style in 1912. The water tower provided water for steam locomotives.
Stay on Kynaststraße, passing by the Rummelsburger See to your left until you come to Alt Stralau. You're now on the Stralau peninsula. Ride along Alt Stralau to the tip of the peninsula (the road will change its name to Tunnelstraße about halfway there) and stop here.
The Stralau Peninsula is a picturesque stretch of land between the Spree and the Rummelsburger See (Rummelsburger Lake). It is said to have been inhabited since thirteenth century and the Stralau village church dates back to 1464. The Stralauer Fischzug, a festive week going back for centuries, takes place here every year starting on St Bartholomew's Day (24 August).
Tunnelstraße (Tunnel Street) ends at the tip of the peninsula. You might be wondering why this street has this name. Until 1932, there was a single-track tram line which ran under the Spree from the tip of the peninsula. The tunnel was flooded in World War II and has been closed off since.
Now retrace your path back to the beginning of the peninsula. But, instead of turning back onto Kynaststraße, stay on Alt Stralau and cross the train tracks, where the road becomes Stralauer Allee. On both sides of the Spree you can see sites of the Mediaspree Project. The Mediaspree Project is one of the most ambitious urban development projects in Europe. Along 3.7 km on both banks of the Spree, a new neighbourhood is rising, with architecturally outstanding new buildings and lavishly renovated old buildings, such as the MTV and Universal buildings.
To your left, you will see the Oberbaumbrücke. While Germany was divided, the bridge was a border crossing for pedestrians. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, it now connects the two halves of the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.
Cross Warschauer Straße and continue riding along the river on Mühlenstraße. On the left-hand side, you will see the 1316 metre long East Side Gallery, the longest open-air gallery in the world with over 100 images painted onto the former Berlin Wall. After a few metres, you'll pass the O2 World arena on your right. O2 World is an impressive event venue, where sporting events, concerts and other events are held. Stay on Mühlenstraße several blocks past the O2 and then turn right onto Straße der Pariser Kommune. Ride down this street until you come to Ostbahnhof.
Ostbahnhof serves various S-Bahn, long-distance and regional rail lines. A large flea market is also held here on Sundays. Stay on Straße der Pariser Kommune past Ostbahnhof, riding through Franz-Mehring-Platz and then on to Karl-Marx-Allee, which you’ll reach in a few minutes. As you ride, you'll see a lot of prefabricated buildings from the GDR period to your left and right.
Karl-Marx-Allee is impressively wide in some spots. The road itself, though, is surprisingly small, while the tree-lined pavements are very wide. A striking feature here are the unique residential and commercial tower houses in the so-called "Socialist Classicist" style, also called "Stalinist Baroque". Turn left onto Karl-Marx-Allee and follow it until you come to Straußberger Platz, a large roundabout. Turn right at the roundabout onto Lichtenberger Straße, which leads to Platz der Vereinten Nationen. Across the way is the Volkspark Friedrichshain, a wonderful place to take a detour.
The Volkspark Friedrichshain is a 49 hectare municipal park, which was established in 1846. The park features numerous tourist attractions including the Märchenbrunnen (Fairy Tale Fountain), the small and large bunker hill (Mont KIamott), the Weltfriedensglocke (World Peace Bell), the Freiluftkino Friedrichshain (Friedrichshain open-air cinema), the Denkmal der Spanienkämpfer (monument to the Spanish Civil War), and much more.
Hang a right onto Landsberger Allee on the right side of the Platz der Vereinten Nationen and then continue for several blocks. Take a right into Petersburger Straße and ride across Besarinplatz until you come to the Frankfurter Tor (the Frankfurt Gate). Here you can see the striking towers at the corners. Cross over Karl-Marx-Allee onto Warschauer Straße. Stay on Warschauer Straße until you can turn left into Boxhagener Straße. Continue to no. 17, the end of the tour. Kindly supported by Hotel Zarenhof Friedrichshain.