KÖPENICK The picturesque medieval town of Köpenick grew up in
the 10th century round a fortress on an island where the river
Dahme runs into the Spree. At the beginning of the 20th century
it was swallowed up by its rapidly expanding industrial neighbour
to the north west - Berlin.
The workers of Köpenick didn't find much attraction in the ideology
of The Third Reich, resisting the forerunner of the Nazi movement
- the Kapp Putsch attempt, and hanging a red flag from the roof
of the Friedrichshagen brewery on the day of Hitler's election
victory, 30th January, 1933. They paid for it in the Köpenicker
Blutwoche (week of blood) when 500 workers were imprisoned and
91 executed in the local courthouse.
The town had always been associated with a certain disrespect
for authority. A few years before the First World War, an unemployed
shoemaker called Voigt had 'commandeered' a troop of soldiers
and, marching into the town hall, requisitioned the safe and valuables.
The incident is celebrated in Zuckmeyer's play The Hauptmann of
Köpenick, performed every June in the town festival.
Nowadays the factories have largely closed and Köpenick, formerly
in East Berlin, is reunited with the rest of the city. Its old
centre - with its tranquil riverside atmosphere - boasts a baroque
castle (Schloss) on the central island, with a museum of Applied
Arts, a little fishing village (the Kietz), a replica medieval
village (the Mecklenburger Dorf) with bars and snackstands, and
a neo-classical town hall.
To the east stretches the Müggelsee lake, destination for many
boat trips from Berlin, and ringed with smaller attractive villages,
including Little Italy - a magic world of canals and bridges,
and Friedrichshagen, settled by weavers from Bohemia who planted
mulberry bushes for the cultivation of silkworms.
To the north east lies landscaped the Wuhlheide Park with a model
railway and other attractions for kids.
Treptow, another suburb previously part of East Berlin, runs along
the Spree west of Köpenick. A mixture of residential and riverside
industry, its centrepiece is Treptower Park, starting point for
many boat trips along Berlin's river and canal system. The park
was originally one of the 'out of the city' destinations for factory
workers with its 30 dance halls and restaurants, its funfair and
This is the location for the enormous Soviet War Memorial, where
5,000 Russian soldiers are buried, representing the 305,000 who
died in the 'Patriotic War' to take Berlin. The central statue,
made of marble from Hitler's bunker, depicts a Soviet soldier
protecting a child, drawn sword piercing a broken swastika. Rows
of frescoes with battle scenes surround the massive memorial.
The park also has a carp pool, and the Archenbold Observatory,
site of the largest refractory telescope in the world.
Summer's end is marked in Treptow by a firework display - Treptow
in Flames. Treptow and Köpenick are served by a number of S-Bahn
and tram lines.
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