Berlin Gallery

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Home Page > Travelogues > Germany > Berlin > Berlin Photo Gallery

Other Chapters in the Berlin section:  West Berlin ] East Berlin ] Unter den Linden ] Berlin Wall ] [ Berlin Gallery ]


City-State of Berlin

Berlin Photo Gallery  


City-State of Berlin

This photo gallery is a collection of thematic photographs that mostly capture the unique culture of Berlin, sprinkled with interesting bits about Germany as a whole.  As the other chapters in this travelogue indicate, West Berlin developed a very radical culture due to its physical isolation from the rest of the western world.  Meanwhile, East Berlin has been giving itself a rapid makeover, some of which is not quite achieving the intended result.  Although some of these photographs no longer represent scenes you might now encounter in Berlin, the flavor is unmistakable.  Enjoy!

The 2002 World Cup Finals -- The inspiration to go to Berlin on my second trip (29-30 June 2002) was very specific -- to find a good spot to watch the World Cup Final between Brazil and Germany, which Brazil won fairly convincingly 2-0.  It is not very often you get to watch the Final from a seat in one of the participating countries, but sad to say once the game began, the mood became somber as underdog Germany were pretty much outplayed.

Gotta Love Deutsche Telekom...

Some people LIKE being third best...

The Brandenberg Gate is Berlin's most recognized feature, but for several years prior to Germany's hosting of the 2006 World Cup Finals, the Gate and the surrounding Pariser Platz underwent heavy construction.  But rather than just have the Gate under ugly scaffolding, various companies took advantage to use it as a billboard.  As shown here, T-Mobile Germany was all too happy to show their support for the German national side and advertise their services at the same time.

It wasn't just the Germans out celebrating their soccer successes.  Because the country was also home to a large number of expatriate Turks, many of whom are employed in industry, they too showed solidarity for their country.  This World Cup gave Turkey something to cheer about -- a third-place finish.  At various points during Turkey's successful rise, scenes such as the above were quite common (not only in Berlin, but in other cities as well).

The Sony Center .. the day before

If I was German, I wouldn't have wanted to see the match anyway...

The Sony Center was where I attempted to watch the game from, but sadly I was not successful -- by the time I arrived at one hour before game time, the place was overcrowded and the German polizei (police) closed down the entrance.  At least I had to chance to survey the place the day prior.  Just right of center was the big screen, and you can see the flags of the participating nations at right.

Without being able to watch the game with the big crowds, I (and several thousand others) scrambled to find a decent watching spot elsewhere in town.  This was at the Westin Hotel in East Berlin, who had a TV set outside on the patio.  Thank heaven I was born tall!

"Message Art" -- If there was one thing that Berlin enjoyed, it was art that tried to promote a message, usually something having to do with world peace, the environment, and other perhaps liberal viewpoints.  Unfortunately, such art often carried more abstraction than pragmatic explanation (meaning that the message was lost on me).  In a world of idealists, Berlin was an ideal place.

Wonder if one of the words sank?

If only world peace was truly this easy...

I titled the above photo "Somewhere there's a message" on my hard drive.  This pond was located across the river from the Ostbahnhof, and was art reflected in three words carved in painted styrofoam -- DU ABER BLEIBST.  This translates to "you, however, remain," perhaps referring to the apartment dwellers who could have left when the wall came down...?  Whatever, I don't get it.

On a more positive and uplifting note, adjacent to the Parisen Platz in East Berlin in 2003 was the above -- a circle of "Buddy Bears".  Artists from 125 different countries were commissioned to each paint one bear sculpture in a manner representing the country.  The intent was to promote mutual understanding and peace, although the representation of Yugoslavia, whose civil war was still fresh in some minds, was unpainted and has chunks taken out of it as if it had been shot up by small arms fire.  ...  Hmmmmmm.... world peace ... yeah, right.

Reconstruction or Not -- Berlin has known more than its fair share of strife.  Having been the besieged capital in two World Wars and suffering through decades of separation from the Cold War, Berlin shows many scars from a tumultuous century.  Some of its structures have been rebuilt, while others serve as a stark reminder of the city's tumultuous past.

The Neuwache

St. Michael's in East Berlin

In the areas surrounding the Rathaus district, like elsewhere in the city, significant renovation projects sought to hide the neglect from the many years under Communist rule.  The Berlin Post Office above had just received its facelift by the time this photo was taken in 2003.

Then there were the scenes of war damage that still exist.  For example, this photo shows the damage done to St. Michael's Church in East Berlin.  The entire body of the church has been bombed to a shell, but behind the bricked wall you see lies a makeshift chapel that is still in use.  Yes, this shell is an active church.

Surely You Jest -- These were scenes that simply made me shake my head and say, "Yes, indeedy-doo, I'm in a fer-in countray."  Well, I admit these two scenes captured my attention, and I apologize if one or more of these border on the tasteless... but hey, this was Europe, and I swear these were unretouched.

Can you spot what doesn't belong here?

Advantage of overground sewers -- you can find the leaks

This was evidence that the re-integration of former Soviet East Berlin into the civilized West still had a way to go.  Looks like an absolutely beautiful garden, does it not?  It was accompanied by a beautiful walkway that followed along down the left among the mossy-vines and uniform pine trees.  Only one thing was wrong... do you note the gray object in the center of the roses, where one would normally find a sculpture or memorial?  Well, that thing was a dumpster.  Beautiful.

Meanwhile, above was another evidence of Communism's impact on architecture.  Probably as a combination of indifference, laziness, and penny-pinching, pink sewer and water pipes were thrown up overground and overhead through the best parts of East Berlin.  Talk about an eyesore!  Part of Germany's major construction effort was been to put these blasted things underground where they belong, which was thankfully finished long before the 2006 World Cup.

Thanks, and hope you enjoyed this gallery (and that you enjoy Berlin sometime)!

Trips taken 13-14 April 2001 and 29-30 June 2002 -- Page last updated 17 August 2006 -- (C) 2002 Tom Galvin

Other Chapters in the Berlin section:  West Berlin ] East Berlin ] Unter den Linden ] Berlin Wall ] [ Berlin Gallery ]

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