Breitscheidplatz – Between Joy and Scars
The Breitscheidplatz is the centre – and heart – of West Berlin. The square accommodates the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the shopping mall Europa Center and one of the most popular Christmas Markets in Berlin, the one that in 2016 left a scar in the story of the city. Do you want to know more? So, Join Me There!
Never to Forget
The Breitscheidplats holds two things, that now almost integrates, that shall never be forgotten. One of them you can see from distance: the Memorial Church, that once was a beautiful place for messes, weddings and prayers, was brought down during the World War II, leaving just one last tower up. After the war was over, it was decided to leave the church as it was, so that would be a memory of things that shall never be forgotten: the cruelty of the man, that can transform into war and pain. The church is open for visitation and it free of fees. As a reminder, in Berlin, all the public memorials from the war are free for visitation.
It was the 19th night of December in 2016 when Anis Amri kidnapped a truck, killing the driver, and driving into the Christmas Market at Breitscheidplatz. The incident left 12 deads (one of them being the truck driver) and 48 injured. The incident was considered a Terror Attack and it was not worse, only because the truck had an auto-break system, that stops the vehicle as soon as it crashes into something. To remember the act, a scar was designed on the floor, where the incident happened, and the name of the victims are carved into the steps that lead to the Memorial Church.
The Christmas Market
Despite the incident of 2016, the Weihnachtsmarkt from Breitscheidplats is one of the most famous in Berlin. It is small, but cosy, market located really near to the Zoologischer Garten station which makes it very easy to reach the place. All the touristic attraction surrounding the area attracts also tourists from all around the world to the place. That area is so popular that even the great clothing brand Primark opened its third store in the city in that corner.
For those who are concerned about security, every year after the incident, the area is highly protected with car stoppers and has constant police rounds.
The surroundings of Breitscheidplatz is amazing! From there you are just one crossing from Bikini Berlin, an alternative chic shopping mall with a view to the Zoo, that is also very nearby. The aquarium is connected to the Zoo, besides the attractions are paid separately. But if you are more into shopping than admiring the cure animals, you can also extend your walk to the famous Kufürsterndamm, the most famous avenue in Berlin, or even to KaDeWe, the biggest department store in the city. As a curious fact, KaDeWe was the place where the first escalator was installed in Europe!
The city centre of West Berlin is really a must-see when visiting the city and the Memorial Church is an impressive building. You can’t miss it! 😉