Thursday, January 20, 2011

Berlin, Germany - Railway Station

Often the area surrounding the railway station in any given city is gritty and unpleasant. However, in this view it looks like the ideal spot, clean, with plants on the balconies, and surrounded by thriving businesses and busy streets.

The railway station is, of course, the domed building on the left, which was constructed in the late 1870s. The building and underground tracks were expanded to accommodate S-Bahn and U-Bahn in later years.

At the beginning of the Cold War, this station was the hole in the Iron Curtain that allowed people from the east to escape to the west, at least until the Berlin Wall was built in 1961. At that time, the East German government also stopped the long-distance train connections. I arrived into this station from the west in 1980, and the surroundings were dismal.  In fact, most of East Berlin was fairly grim at that time. The stores, if they had anything, would have a lot of one or two things and nothing else. Many items in limited supply, such as toilet seats, could only be bought with western currency.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the west and east stations were connected again, and traffic resumed, however there had been very little maintenance on the east side. Between 1991 and 1999, the station was completely overhauled, at a cost of many millions of Deutsch Marks. In 2008, a memorial to the 10,000 Jewish children who were saved by the Refugee Children Movement and left through this station, was unveiled.

Here's the back of the postcard.


  1. Berlin is a fascinatingly resilient city, that has constantly reinvented itself after each troubled period it endured. Its architecture is a mosaic of it, whether reflecting oppulence of yesteryear, the post-modern brutality of the Cold War, or its resurgence as a unified-again city.

  2. Nice postcard. Your blog is really interesting.

  3. Auch wenn es bei weitem nicht mehr so schön ist, wie damals man kann es erkennen an der Eisenbahnbrücke.
    Liebe Grüße
    und schönes Wochenende

  4. Christina, I'll never think of my toilet seat the same now.
    I do love train travel -- even though it toys with my equilibrium for days afterwards. This makes me wanna go somewhere:)

  5. A nice vibrant street scene... Thank goodness other countries are wise enough to maintain their great train stations (and rain systems) rather than destroy them as the US seems to prefer doing. There have been some pretty successful adaptive reuses of the old stations here though, so it hasn't been a complete loss.

  6. Oops, I meant 'rail systems', not 'rain systems', that's what living in Oregon does to you!

  7. Wonderful card, full of stimulating images, the kind of card I would love to have sent. You really get a feel of the atmosphere of the place.

  8. Great postcard! I'd give anything to be able to walk into that street and look around.



Related Posts with Thumbnails