LICHTENBERG (Hohenschönhausen)

A residential and previously industrial suburb, Lichtenberg lies just outside the S-Bahn Ring that separates the inner from the outer suburbs. Its attractive, if dilapidated, tenements are currently being renovated, although not at the same rate as those of the inner city.

Here, in a landscape of closed down factories, you can find many traces of Berlin's industrial heritage. For example, the Knorr air-brake company, dating from 1890, where braking systems for the S-Bahn were developed, housed in a twenties building designed by Grenander, the architect responsible for many of the earliest U-Bahn stations.

Its proximity to the 13th century, stone-walled village church of Lichtenberg provides a sharp contrast.

The division of Berlin in the Cold War period resulted in the duplication of many of the city's facilities - each half needed its University, its Opera House and its Art Galleries. The same held true for the Zoo, and here in Lichtenberg the old East Berlin Zoo, Tierpark, is located. One of the largest in Schloss FriedrichsfeldeEurope, its design is relatively traditional, but it shares its grounds with Schloss Friedrichsfelde, a baroque stately home in landscaped gardens, where music recitals are given at weekends. Built in the Dutch style in 1694-5, by Raule, its 16 state rooms are elegantly decorated and furnished. Of particular interest is the 18th century painted wallpaper, the stairwell and the Ballroom. Other sights of interest in the area include the old Stasi headquarters - the Stasi were the East German secret police, a force to be reckoned with in a society that monitored its citizens' activities with an unprecedented paranoia. Shortly after the Wall came down the building was stormed by Berliners wanting to find out what the State had on file about them. The building now houses a museum recording the State surveillance apparatus, including the intact office of Mielke, the old Stasi boss.

North of the U- and S-Bahn stations, the Memorial to Socialists is a huge block of red porphyry inscribed with the names of heroes and heroines of those who resisted the rise of Fascism. In the adjoining graveyard are the graves of the Sculptress, Kathe Kollwitz, and of early leaders of the German Social Democrats, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, who were murdered in the twenties.

In HOHENSCHÖNHAUSEN, to the north, stands an old stone village church from the 13th century, the Taborkirche, and on the Obersee Lake, a mansion designed by Mies van der Rohe. Several other lakes and leisure parks are dotted around the suburb. Further traces of the post-war regime are to be found in KARLSHORST, the suburb where the Soviet High Command were stationed in the post-war years.

Here, in the old Wehrmacht school for engineers, now a museum, the Soviets accepted the surrender of the German Army in 1945.

Karlshorst also sports a race track for dog and trap racing..

Lichtenberg is served by the S-Bahn, the U5 and many trams.


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