Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


Oranienplatz after it was given a new design in 1906 (the buildings, including today´s "Denkerei" in the historic Maas Department Store, are also present).

Oranienplatz after it was given a new design in 1906 (almost all of the buildings, including today´s “Denkerei” in the historic Maassen Department Store, are still standing).

Here is a little more detailed description of the historic image included in our previous post – considering the great interest it awoke, it is very much worth explaining a bit more.

The old Oranienplatz with the Oranienbrücke and the filled up Luisenstädtische Kanal (a canal once connecting Landwehrkanal with the River Spree) was captured by a photographer standing on the roof of a house located on the corner of Dresdener Strasse and Oranienplatz. The street-trams in the middle of this picture are driving down Oranienstrasse, coming from or travelling towards Moritzplatz.

The horse-drawn omnibus visible in the bottom left corner is about to enter the south-eastern section of Dresdener Strasse and is heading for Kottbusser Tor. The other section of Dresdener Strasse, leading towards Prinzenstrasse and Berlin-Mitte is in the upper right corner of the image.

Only few buildings disappeared from this landscape for good: the typical Berlin residential houses to the left of the old Maassen Department Store on the corner of Oranienplatz and Oranienstrasse (known as the “Denkerei” today) were demolished and replaced by an impressive edifice designed by the famous German architect representing the New Objectivity movement, Max Taut: the 1933 Warenhaus der Konsumgenossenschaft (Department Store of the Consumer Co-Operative Society). Converted into offices only several years later, it suffered extensive damage during WWII. Beautifully restored and protected as a listed building, it houses mostly architect bureaus today.

As for the the canal visible in the middle of the plaza, it was filled in 1926/1927 with the soil extracted from the tunnels for the new underground line known as GN-Bahn (the line Gesundbrunnen-Neukölln). The beautiful bridge from Oranienplatz was dismantled and removed. It is not clear what happened to either the bridge or to the magnificent candelabras towering over the plaza.

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