Skate-Bahn West at Tempelhofer Feld, Berlin, built using the entrance stairs of East Berlin’s Palast der Republik (image © notmsparker)

Did you know that a popular skate park at the south-eastern end of Tempelhofer Feld was built using the original granite steps that led to the entrance to the Palastder Republik? The steps, made of extra hard and beautifully polished Silesian granite, were already popular with skaters in the early 1990s; they were later given as a gift from Berlin’s Senator for Urban Development to a group of skating aficionados who wanted to build a professional skate-park in Mitte.

Although the original location fell through, it was eventually constructed – partly financed by the Berlin Senate – as Skate-Bahn West on Tempelhofer Feld. In order to give it an authentic city feeling, the skate park was designed to look like the forefront of a museum.

The granite steps were not the only part of Palast der Republik to be put to new use after the original structure was demolished in 2006-2008: Burj-Khalifa in Dubai, currently the tallest structure in the world, contains most of the 25,000 tonnes of recycled Swedish steel from the East Berlin Palast. The girders were melted at a smelting plant in Saxony-Anhalt and sold both to Volkswagen – who still use it to produce their car engines – and a construction firm from Istanbul who provided the steel for the Dubai project.

The 829-metre luxury skyscraper was built around a steel frame with plenty of resistance power and with deeply socialist roots.

Find out more about the fate of East Berlin’s second favourite building (after Fernsehturm) from the first volume of “Notmsparker’s Berlin Companion” available also as an e-book via


    • Thank you, Peter! It is all out there if you are curious enough or know to ask the right questions. And some stories need to be told in more detail to teach people about the nuances they often forget to look for. I literally fume every time I encounter the name “PdL” and “asbestos-ridden” in one sentence. As if you could reduce that place to this one cheap cliche.

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