Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


Am Potsdamer Platz um 1923

The photo above shows the throbbing Potsdamer Platz some time around 19023-1924.

In the top right corner stands one of the famous Schinkel Gatehouses, two small Doric buildings designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel for the new, 1824 Potsdamer Tor (Potsdam Gate). During WWII both gatehouses suffered relatively moderate damage and could have been restored to their former glory. However, in August 1961 they stood in the way of the largest edifice ever built in Berlin: the Wall. Both treasures of Schinkel´s architecture were duly demolished.

As for Potsdamer Platz itself, it was created by moving the old city gate further east towards Leipziger Platz and thus providing well-sized plot for a new central plaza. The construction of the Potsdamer Bahnhof, the first Berlin railway station opened in 1838, as well as the rapid development of the city transportation system, soon turned Potsdamer Platz into one of the busiest traffic knots in Europe.

In 1924, the year where the first Berlin traffic light was installed in the middle of the plaza, it was crossed by 26 street-tram lines, 5 bus lines and over 20,000 cars per day. Not to mention cyclists, regular pedestrians and the 83,000 passengers who arrived at or were leaving from the Potsdamer Bahnhof daily and wished to travel further down one of the 6 streets that met at Potsdamer Platz: Potsdamer Strasse, Linkstrasse, Bellevuestrasse, Leipziger Strasse, Königgratzer Strasse (Stresemannstrasse today) and Budapester Strasse (today known as Ebertstrasse).




  1. berlioz1935
    Nov 2, 2015

    They must have been beautiful examples of Schinkel’s design and architecture. Copies of them, designed by a student of his, exist still in Duesseldorf. In 1936 a movie was made called, “Das Veilchen vom Potsdamer Platz”. In the title role was Rotraut Richter. It was about a flower stall beside the gate on the right-hand side. I loved the film as a child. If there is a copy of it on the internet I would like to know about it. What there is, is the title song of that film. It is a cheeky song very temporary of that time. The video contains beautiful still pictures of the Potsdamer Platz.

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