Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


Today: from horse-power to electric power in only 13 years.


Horse-drawn tram A.D. 1887: here in Berlin Charlottenburg (photo:

Horse-drawn tram A.D. 1887: here in Berlin Charlottenburg (photo:

The direct horse-drawn tram line from the terminus at Gesundbrunnen in today´s Berlin-Wedding to the freshly re-furbished and expanded tram terminus at the foot of Kreuzberg (the hill) begins its service.

The journey was by no means either very comfortable or safe – especially for the passengers from the upper deck who tended to get rather unsteady whenever the tram had to brake (which considering the density of street traffic in Berlin probably meant every second minute). Still, it was much faster (and safer!) than moving through the city on foot.


Considering the latest revelations from the bourough´s new Mayor, Monika Hermann who took over the position of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Bürgermeisterin on August 1st and not even a week later admitted that she wouldn´t go through Görlitzer Park at night either (no-one half sane or sober would), it might be worth commemorating the day when another great Kreuzberg park got the most important warrant of safety in public spaces: proper illumination.

Viktoriapark and the National Memorial in 1910 with two electric lamps flanking its front.

Viktoriapark and the National Memorial in 1910 with two electric lamps flanking its front.

On August 12th, 1899 the old gas lamps installed in Viktoriapark during the park´s landscaping at the beginning of the 1890s were replaced by brand new electric lamps or arc lamps (Bogenlampen).

The lamps were switched on after the illumination of the waterfall was turned off for the night. The 1904 edition of Baedeker´s Berlin guide tells us that the waterfall was traditionally illuminated twice a week, Wednesdays and Sundays for two hours (in colour!). The cascade itself, with its 13,000 litres per minute being pumped up to the top of the Kreuzberg from the little pumping station next to today´s Villa Tomasa, was admired by both the locals and the tourists from May 1st until October 15th (8 hours a day).

The electric lamps lighting the park paths were switched on 365 days a year. Daily.


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