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Tempelhof Field in Berlin
Tempelhofer Feld (Tempelhof Field) in Berlin © Lichtschwärmer, Foto: Christo Libuda

Tour 14 - Cycling Tour of Tempelhof-Schöneberg

This bike tour of Schöneberg starts at the Hotel Schöneberg at Hauptstraße 135. Go left down Hauptstraße until you come to Innsbrucker Platz, then take a right onto Innsbrucker Straße. Continue down Innsbrucker Straße until you reach number 24. This is where world-renowned photographer Helmut Neustädter (better known as Helmut Newton) was born in 1920. Newton died in Los Angeles in 2004.

Rathaus Schöneberg

Continue riding down Innsbrucker Straße until you reach Rudolph-Wilde-Park. Then cross the park and take a right onto Freiherr-vom-Stein-Straße. After a few metres, you'll arrive at the square in front of the Rathaus Schöneberg. The Freiheitsglocke (Freedom Bell) in the bell tower of the Rathaus Schöneberg has been striking the time since the 50s. The Rathaus Schöneberg (Town Hall) became known the world over on 26 June 1963, when US President John F. Kennedy said his famous words: "Ich bin ein Berliner." Continue riding down Badensche Straße, then turn right into Innsbrucker Straße. Stay on this street until you reach the Bayerischer Platz.

Bayerischer Platz

Bayerischer Platz is renowned for its popularity amongst intellectuals, with numerous intellectuals and artists having made their homes in the Bayerisches Viertel neighbourhood around the square in the past, including Albert Einstein, Gottfried Benn, Billy Wilder and Claire Waldorff.

Orte des Erinnerns (Places of Remembrance)

The Bayerisches Viertel (Bavarian Quarter) is home to an extensive memorial called Orte des Erinnerns (Places of Remembrance). Here, legal texts from the Nazi period are displayed on some 80 signs, which show how the Jewish people of Germany were insidiously stripped of their rights and subjected to overt discrimination during the Nazi regime. Some 6,000 Jewish citizens from this Berlin neighbourhood were killed by the Nazis.

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Physik

From Bayerischer Platz, ride onto Landshuter Straße and take a left onto Haberlandstraße. At number 5, a stone tablet stands in a parking lot as a reminder of the former Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Physik. Albert Einstein was director of this physics institute from October 1917.

Barbarossastraße

Backtrack a bit on Haberlandstraße and turn left onto Landshuter Straße. At the next intersection, take a right onto Barbarossastraße, staying on this street until you reach Glieditschstraße. Then turn left.

Pallasstraße

Ride down Glieditschstraße until you get to Pallastraße, then make two right turns to end up on Elßholzstraße. Cycle on from here until you reach the Heinrich-von-Kleist Park. The Königskolonnaden (Royal Colonnades) on Potsdamer Straße are the main attraction at the Heinrich-von-Kleist-Park. Regarded as the most important pieces of Berlin architecture from the transitional period between Rococo and Neoclassicism, these colonnades once adorned the Königsbrücke near the Stadtschloss (City Palace). Ride through the colonnades to Potsdamer Straße and turn right.

Hauptstraße 135

Potsdamer Straße becomes Hauptstraße. Number 135 is where David Bowie and Iggy Pop spent their time in Berlin from 1976 to 1978. Continue on Hauptstraße to Kolonnenstraße and take a left. Follow Kolonnenstraße until you reach Löwenhardtdamm, where you need to take a right. At the next corner (Löwenhardtdamm / corner of Gerneral-Pape-Straße), you'll see the Schwerbelastungskörper (meaning heaving load-bearing body).

Schwerbelastungskörper

This mammoth cylindrical structure made of concrete and reinforced concrete weighs 12,650 tonnes. It was built by Nazi city planners to test whether the sandy Berlin soil could withstand the weight of a gigantic triumphal arch planned for the new world capital "Germania". Go back towards Kolonnenstraße and turn right onto Dudenstraße. Follow Dudenstraße until you reach Katzbachstraße, where you'll see Viktoriapark on the right.

Kreuzberg

Victoriapark is a park on the "mountain" from which the surrounding district takes its name: Kreuzberg (meaning "cross mountain"). If you go right to the top, you'll have a fantastic view over the city. The Nationaldenkmal (National Monument) also stands here.

Tourmap

Viktoriapark

The Nationaldenkmal (National Monument) was erected in 1821 to designs by Karl Friedrich Schinkel and recalls the liberation wars against Napoleon (1813–1815). The artificial waterfall is also worth a look: this natural looking installation of granite and limestone was built in 1891 and moves 13,000 litres per minute.

Tempelhof Airport

On the other side of the Viktoriapark you turn right on the Methfesselstraße and follow the street until you reach the Dudenstraße. There you turn left. If you follow the street you will reach Platz der Luftbrücke. The disused Tempelhof airport, which you can see on the southeast, was being used as early as the nineteenth century for flight attempts by aviation pioneers. The present terminal building was completed in 1941. The airport played an important role in providing food and other supplies to the population of West Berlin during the Berlin Blockade. West Berlin had to be supplied by airlift from 1948 to 1949 as the Soviets had blocked all land access routes to Berlin. Food was flown into the city by the "raisin bombers", so-called because supplies were sometimes dropped from the planes themselves. The Airlift Memorial (or Hungerharke as it is also known) was built in remembrance of this.

Tempelhofer Feld

Air traffic has been discontinued at the airport since 2008, and the airport building is now used for all sorts of different purposes. The former airfield is now a gigantic parking area used as a recreational area by many Berliners. Cycle from Platz der Luftbrücke to Manfred-von-Richthofen-Straße, staying on this street until you reach Werner-Voß-Damm. Keep going until you reach number 54a.

Gedenkstätte Papestraße (Papestraße Memorial)

The Gedenkstätte Papestraße (Werner-Voß-Damm 54a) is a memorial to the former SA prison in this building. The SA field police operated a makeshift prison here, where around 2,000 people were detained and abused and 30 people were killed. Continue riding until you reach the end of Werner-Voß-Damm, turn left onto Ballonfahrerweg and stay on this road until you reach Sachsendamm. From here, turn right onto Hedwig-Dohm-Straße, which soon becomes Wilhelm-Kabus-Straße. Then turn left onto Torgauer Straße, cycle for two more blocks and turn right onto Leberstraße. Actress and singer Marlene Dietrich was born at Leberstraße 65 in 1901. She is considered to be one of the most important German performing artists of the twentieth century. A plaque has been placed on the house to commemorate its famous former resident.

Gasometer

Turn left from Leberstraße onto Leuthener Straße and keep riding straight. Then ride to the left onto Cheruskerstraße and then right onto Torgauer Straße. After a few metres, you'll come to the listed Schöneberg Gasometer. Once a low-pressure gas tank, the Gasometer has now become a diverse venue. Keep riding along Torgauer Straße until you reach Dominicusstraße. Then turn right and go straight back to Hauptstraße. Turn right, and with just a couple of last pedal strokes you'll be at the end of your tour. Kindly supported by Hotel Schöneberg.