CHARLOTTENBURG (Wilmersdorf)

Scloss CharlottenburgCHARLOTTENBURG lies across the Kaiserdamm, the main road running west out of Berlin to Spandau. A prosperous suburb, it grew up round Queen Sophie-Charlotte's out of town palace, the baroque Schloss Charlottenburg (1695), now, after the demise of the Hohenzollerns, owned by the city and home to a fine collection of paintings, statues and furniture. Its low, two storey facade is flanked with two wings, crowned with a golden cupola, and fronted with an immense statue of The Great Elector - behind the Schloss, landscaped gardens run northward to the River Spree. Directly opposite the Bröhan (Art Deco and Jugenstil) and Egyptian museums are to be found.

The most dramatic way to enter the suburb is from the Strasse des 17.Juni which runs through the Tiergarten Park - you pass through enormous ceremonial gates which marked the boundary of what used to be an independent town. Crossing Ernst-Reuter-Platz (named after a post-war major of Berlin), the road becomes Kaiserdamm, to the left of which, running south and across Kantstrasse, are countless small restaurants and bars, scattered around squares like Savignyplatz.

Further west the Deutsche Oper, West Berlin's famous opera house presents a modernist face to Kaiserdamm.

GedächtniskircheSouth again lies Kurfürstendamm, the main shopping street of West Berlin running east-west, the old road from Berlin to the town of Potsdam. At the east end of Ku'damm the stumpy tower of the Gedächtniskirche rears up contrasting strangely with the 60s modernity of the Europa Centre with the famous Mercedes symbol. Here, near to the main station for the west side of the city, Zoo, everything is in motion. New buildings, like Jahn's glass faced tower at the Kranzler Dreieck, are springing up in an attempt to outdo the construction frenzy of the east city.

To the west of the district lies the Radio Tower and International Congress centre (for trade fairs like the International Tourism Fair, or Green Week). Nearby is the enormous Deutschlandhalle, a concert venue. And further west again, the Olympic Stadium built by Hitler for the 1936 Olympics. Behind this is the Waldbühne, an open air stage set in a natural hollow and home to pop and classical concerts. Charlottenburg is served by the S-Bahn, U1, U2 and U8.

WILMERSDORF
The suburb lying to the south of Charlottenburg is a little quieter - residential, with pockets of cafes and restaurants, notably around Ludwigkirchplatz, near to which the tented cabaret venue, Bar jeder Vernunft, can be found.

In Fasanenstrasse is the Käthe-Kollwitz museum (artist and sculptress murdered by the Nazis), and opposite, a Jewish school. On Hohenzollerdamm the blue domes of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Resurrection date improbaly from 1938. A good bet for theatre lovers is the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, a modern experimental theatre, from the ranks of whose actors many of the current German film and TV stars stemmed.

To the south the suburb merges into the Grunewald wood, home to Berlin's wealthy, with their large detached villas displaying every kind of artistic caprice, standing in spacious grounds. To the west the artificial hill of the Teufelsberg (Devil's Hill), created from rubble left after the bombardments of World War II, provides and opportunity for sporting activities ranging from downhill skiing, climbing and hang-gliding.

Wilmersdorf is served by the S-Bahn, U1 and U7.


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