On our first post about Berlin we got to the most obvious places to visit in Berlin, Tempelhof, the Siegessäule, Brandenburger Tor and Checkpoint Charlie. Our second post about visiting Berlin centered around the Berlin Wall, the Fernsehturm a museum with GDR era items and a place to relax after a full day of walking.
But now we're into the dark times of the GDR again.
The Stasi-Museum, officially Forschungs- und Gedenkstätte Normannenstraße, is located in “Haus 1” of the former headquarters of the East German Ministry of State Security (in German: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, often abbreviated to “Stasi” or “MfS” ). The museum contains permanent exhibitions about the origin and functioning of the Stasi. You can also visit the rooms of Erich Mielke, who served as head of the Stasi, from 1957 until shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Impressive to see everything is still the same here, from the escalator to furniture... Everything is still there.
Address: Ruschestraße 103, 10365 Berlin
This museum in the former Stasi prison was opened in 1995. The building was part of a huge complex that was built in 1938. In May 1945, the Russian occupiers set up a special transit camp here, in which they imprisoned war criminals and people with suspicious political ideas. In 1946 the complex was converted into a prison of the KGB and in 1951 it came into the hands of the Stasi. Inside, visitors will see cells and interrogation rooms, two of which have no windows and are rubber lined. In the basements was the so-called 'submarine', a cell block without daylight, in which the most dangerous suspects were interned.
Please take some time to do something 'fun' after the tour through this prison, because it can be rough. A really tragic but interesting place to visit. Really: a must-see when in Berlin.
Address: Genslerstraße 66, 13055 Berlin
After encountering all the 'dark' and 'tragic' things in the Stasi prison perhaps it's time to visit a more 'lighter' place. Let's go to Alexanderplatz, popularly known as Alex. This is a square and traffic junction in the eastern part of Berlin. More than 300,000 people come here every day. The square is located in the Mitte district and is named after Tsar Alexander I. The fountain in the square is a well-known meeting place locally. Near the square is a major tourist attraction, namely the Fernsehturm (TV tower). In GDR times, the square was the artificially created center of East Berlin, with important government buildings and prestige projects, including the Interhotel Stadt Berlin.
Just take a seat, watch people coming and going. Enjoy the views.
Address: Alexanderplatz, 10178 Berlin
On the last day we'll visit the East side gallery, Treptower park and Kreuzberg. Read our last post about visiting Berlin. Enjoy!