Alexanderplatz (popularly known as "Alex") was the very center of East Berlin life and now is second only to the area where Kurfürstendamm and Budapester Strasse meet as the urban center of the reunited city. It received its name in 1805 in honor of Tsar Alexander I of Russia.A hospice and chapel dedicated to St George were built here, outside the Oderberger Tor (one of the town gates), at the end of the 13th C., and the gate was thereafter known as the Georgentor (St. George's Gate). About 1700 a cattle market was established in this area, to be joined in the second half of the 18th C. by a wool market.
Transit: U-Bahn: U2, U5, U8 (Alexanderplatz); S-Bahn: S3, S5, S6, S7, S75, S9 (Alexanderplatz); Bus: 147, 157, 257.
Berlin's well known Television Tower was built in the late 1960s. Lifts take visitors up to an observation deck at 207 m above the ground.
From the eastern corner of Alexanderplatz in Berlin the six-lane street now known as Frankfürter Allee (formerly Karl-Marx-Allee) leads via the oval-shaped Strausberger Platz to the Friedrichshain City Hall. It began life in 1953 as "Stalin Allee" and was to be the showpiece of the DDR leaders who wanted to build cheap, well-equipped workers' flats along a "socialist" main street. They constructed large apartment buildings clad in Meissen tiles in the "wedding-cake style" of the Stalin era, fitted with such luxuries as central heating and waste-disposal units, to be let at low rents. However, they proved too expensive to build and the design was changed to a simpler form using the tried and tested concrete slab method. Today the whole of the street is under a protection order and the houses are being refurbished. A part of German history was written here, when the anger felt by the workers at the excessively high targets they were set led to the riots of June 17, 1953.
To the north of Alexanderplatz in Berlin, on the other side of Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse, lies the quarter known as Scheunenviertal, the main streets of which are Max-Beer-Strasse (formerly Dragonerstrasse) and Almstadtstrasse (formerly Grenadierstrasse). The quarter is so named because there were numerous barns and stables here in the 18th C. Until the Nazis came to power it was inhabited mainly by Jews from Eastern Europe, with many shops, hotels and synagogues. The only surviving restaurant is "Zum Weissen Elefanten," on the corner of Almstadtstrasse and Schendelgasse. On Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, on the edge of "Barn Quarter," can be seen the fine building of the Berlin Popular Theater (Volksbühne Berlin).
Map of Berlin Attractions