SPANDAU

SPANDAU lies to the north-west of Berlin at the confluence of the Havel and Spree rivers. Already a small town with its own charter in the 12th century, it grew up round a fortress controlling the river trade and it was incorporated into Berlin in 1920. Its fortress, the Zitadelle, is moated and surrounded by defensive bastions designed by an Italian architect in the Renaissance. It houses a local history museum with 13th and 14th century gravestones from Berlin's oldest Jewish cemetery, a restaurant and some arts and craft shops.

Spandau is perhaps most famous for the incarceration of Rudolf Hess, captured after he flew to Scotland in 1941 to attempt to arrange peace with the British and form a pact against the Soviets. He outlived his Nazi contemporaries, committing suicide in 1987. The prison itself was subsequently pulled down to make way for a supermarket. The old centre of Spandau is quite pleasant and lies on both sides of Breite Strasse and Carl-Schurz-Strasse. The Kolk, a restored medieval street is attractive, and the Nicolaikirche and the Town Hall are both worth a visit. There is an enormous Christmas market from late November.

In the nearby village of Gatow, the attractive 14th century stone church is worth a visit, and travelling towards the centre of Berlin you pass through Siemensstadt, a huge complex of model industrial buildings from the last years of the 19th century. Spandau is served by the U7 and U2.


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