New-In-Berlin #10: Alexanderplatz

September 10, 2014

One of the current centers of Berlin and once the proud hub of socialist East Berlin, Alexanderplatz is a large public square right in the middle of Berlin. Its architecture shows a lot of socialist heritage, even though a number of new buildings, namely shopping malls and similar businesses, have been built recently.

Alexanderplatz is usually very busy, often like a fairground. The biggest attraction, however, is propably the nearby TV tower, which is so tall that it's barely visible from Alexanderplatz itself, but, of course, from almost everywhere else in Berlin. I have photographed the tower a million times before. It is really an eye catcher, a strong vertical element in the best sense.

The somewhat weird "Weltzeituhr" (world clock) and the "Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft" (fountain of the friendship of the people of the world) are other points of interest at Alexanderplatz, which were built during GDR times.

Taking pictures on Alexanderplatz is somewhat challenging, as it's always super busy. After the Crazy Alex shot I made at dusk through the window of the Saturn store, I tried a different approach on Monday by photographing in black-and-white, looking for middle grey tones, and solely using a 21mm wide angle during early morning hours. I'm still waiting for a really misty start of the day to capture yet another different expression of the place.

Alexanderplatz is surrounded by a number of strange monumental buildings. Karl-Liebknecht-Straße and Karl-Marx-Allee were once major representative streets in East Berlin, the capitol of German Democratic Republic, and were paved with socialist architecture on either side. More than enough for a separate article. 

I don't know why most of them still appear like 30 years ago. Anyway, I'm not complaining, I like the look and they make great photographs.