KÖPENICK (Treptow)

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.

Soviet War MemorialTREPTOW 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 Big Wheel.

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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