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
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 Europe,
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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