KREUZBERGED BERLIN

Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin

WHICH WAY TO SPITTELMARKT?

Spittelmarkt in 1904.

Welcome to Spittelmarkt, a central Berlin plaza in today´s Mitte, here seen from Leipziger Straße in 1904.

#OTD 1900 traffic census carried out there rendered following results: between 6 AM and 10 PM the plaza was crossed by 144,223 pedestrians and 21,237 vehicles. At the time Berlin had 1,888,848 registered residents.

By the end of nineteenth century Spittelmarkt, named after a small hospital (Sankt Gertrauden Hospital) and a chapel built there in early fifteenth century, became one of Berlin´s busiest traffic knots. This was only possible after the 17th-century Gertraudenkirche – built after the old chapel and the “Spittal” burnt down in 1641- was demolished in 1881 and the area underwent a significant re-design.

Gertraudenkirche in 1880, a year before its demolition (photo by Hermann Rückwardt).

In the 1920s another refurbishment followed and approximately a quarter of the century later, after May 1945, Spittelmarkt lay in ruins. Built anew by the East Berlin authorities in the 1970s it reflected the then “modern” approach to architecture and urban planning. It virtually vanished again, overridden by the expanded traffic lanes as well as overwhelmed by the monstrous concrete high-rises erected around and partly in it.

Spittelmarkt in the 1920s (photographer unknown).

The two map images – sections of a 1910 and a current Google-Map – featured below strongly reflect that change. The western entrance to the 1908 U-Bhf “Spittelmarkt” marked on both of them will help you locate the former within the latter.

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