5 places with a strong GDR vibe in Berlin
1) Central Cemetery Friedrichsfelde
Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg were buried at this magnificent graveyard in 1919. In 1951, the newly formed GDR government built the Socialist Memorial and began using the Zentralfriedhof as a place to hold state funerals. You’ll also find pre-GDR luminaries such as artist Käthe Kollwitz. The grave of Stasi-leader Erich Mielke has been left unmarked intentionally.
The Stasimuseum is located on the former grounds of the huge headquarters of the GDR Ministry for State Security. Centrepiece of the museum is the office of Stasi-chef Erich Mielke, preserved in its original condition. The permanent exposition ‘State Security in the SED Dictatorship’ provides information about the development, the function and the methods of the State Security.
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3) Palace of Tears/ Tränenpalast
This was the main departure point for travellers (who shed more than one tear) from the former East Germany to West Berlin. The museum explains the role of this frontier post, as well as the complicated politics and the history behind it. Free entrance.
4) Berlin TV-Tower/ Fernsehturm
The 368-metre-high TV-tower was constructed in the late sixties by the GDR administration. It was intended as a symbol of the technological superiority of the socialist societies. Now it’s a symbol of unity and Berlin’s most prominent landmark. You can visit its steel sphere, which holds a visitor platform and a restaurant
This street used to be called ‘Stalin Allee’ and dates from the post-war reconstruction of the Soviet occupied zones of Berlin. It was built to represent the socialist ideals of the New Germany. Most of the buildings in socialist-realist (or ‘wedding cake’) style are protected as landmarks. Don’t miss the Karl Marx Bookshop at number 78.
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