Germany // Berlin and Brandenburg //

The Spandauer Vorstadt

The crescent-shaped area north of the River Spree between Friedrichstrasse and Alexanderplatz and known as the Spandauer Vorstadt emerged after the Wende as one of the most intriguing parts of unified Berlin. A wave of artists’ squats, workshops and galleries sprang up here in the early 1990s, and some still survive. But today the district’s appeal is based on its history as Berlin’s affluent prewar Jewish quarter and as a booming, if fairly touristy, shopping, restaurant and nightlife quarter, with fashionable boutiques, ethnic restaurants and stylish bars. The S-Bahn station and convivial square, Hackescher Markt, provides the main focus, along with the main drag Oranienburger Strasse. At its western end lies Berlin’s nebulous theatre district, where Bertolt Brecht lived and worked, while just beyond the northern fringes of the district, the Berlin Wall Memorial preserves the only remaining and entirely preserved section of the Berlin Wall.