- Moabit: The Berlin neighborhood that is reborn thanks to culture
20 Mar 2017 Moabit: The Berlin neighborhood that is reborn thanks to culture
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The Moabit neighborhood does not carry a very positive reputation, looking at the past the words are unemployment, crime, decaying infrastructure and low-middle income. Then came the culture and things are finally changing.
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The origins of Moabit in 600th century France
There are those who believe the name Moabit it was coined by the French Huguenots expelled from France, to whom Berlin granted asylum in 1685 with the Edict of Potsdam. The "terre de Moab", according to the Old Testament, was the place where the religious would find refuge. In fact, they were the first to inhabit the area, where once there were pastures first and then a hunting reserve.
photo by Energiequant via flickr
At the beginning of the 18th century the Alt Moabit village (old Moabit) with the project to dedicate the area to cultivation, an intention that failed due to the sandy soil. In 1818 he was born instead New Moabit (new Mabit) which joined the already existing part and became commercial crossroads thanks to its characteristic position and the presence of large industrial plants. It was a working class area and a hotbed for communist political groups of resistance to fascism. In wartime, more than 1.900 Jews were deported from present-day Moabit territory and killed in concentration camps. The neighborhood is best remembered for its enormous size Zellengefängnis prison, built by King Frederick William IV of Prussia, where many well-known personalities, historical prisoners, political activists and Nazi criminals were locked up until, in 1955, it was demolished and replaced by the large parco historical park Former cell prison (park of history once a prison).
The rebirth of a bad neighborhood. Moabit, today.
Completely surrounded by water, the Moabit neighborhood it is a kind of artificial island in the center of Berlin in the middle between the river Spree and several canals. To connect the whole, 25 bridges between railways, roads and pedestrians that give the landscape a fragmented effect, consolidated in the north by the Westhafen, the largest river port in Berlin, and to the south by extensive railways and the Hauptbahnhof central station.
Moabit it has gone from a suburb of West Berlin to integral part of the center. Located in the immediate vicinity of the government district, it includes some new buildings used as institutional headquarters. For the rest, we could say that it is limited to oneresidential area undergoing a revival and further and further away from the bad reputation linked to carcere cell prison, historic for being one of the most modern prisons in Germany, the first severe project to use single cells. The park that replaced it is the Historical park, from the outside a large red brick wall and a small concrete tunnel leading inside, the green expanse is broken by some paths that lead to the central cube-shaped monument, placed there to remember the Panopticum (the observation room of the prison).
The whole area is full of green areas as well as canals. Adjacent to Turmstrasse we find the parks of Kleiner Tiergarten e Otto Park, the latter a pedagogically thought-out playground, dedicated to learning, sports and entertainment for children between the ages of 5 and 14 approximately. The Fritz Castle Park was born on a former military base reduced to rubble by the war, today inside it football fields, a tennis center, gyms, a rowing room, an indoor swimming pool, an ice rink and a playground.
photo by Jeff Hart via flickr In the neighborhood Germans and immigrants live together, young families with children and, recently, young people looking for affordable housing. Other main road in the district is Beusselstrasse, is located around there AEG Turbine Factory (AEG-Turbinenfabrik), building with the grandeur of a temple, which is the first and most famous example of modern industrial architecture, created to underline the great development of the industrialization of the German empire.
Source of innovation is culture
Some cultural initiatives have given a big boost to the renewal of the neighborhood, in particular two, the Kulturfabrik (Factory of Culture), a center that houses a theater, a cinema, concerts, exhibitions, guided tours are organized, it is a welcoming corner made lively by a lot of ideas and collaborations. The second is the ZK / U - Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik (Center of Art and Urbanism) created inside a former railway depot, in the area of Westhafen port, the largest inland port of Berlin still active.
Art residences have been created, an event area for exhibitions and events and a common space for workshops and laboratories, outside urban gardens, fruit trees and a playground, in a structure that retains the industrial charm of the past.
What is there to do in Moabit
A few minutes walk from the Hauptbahnhof central station and you will reach the Hamburger Bahnhof museum, on Invalidenstraße (another major artery that cuts through the neighborhood). Rich collections of contemporary art, shown in a dynamic variety of exhibitions.
Another fascinating feature is the covered market of Arminiusmarkthalle where every day, from 12 to 22, they are served culinary peculiarities from all over the world. If you are in the mood for nightlife, you are not exactly in the ideal place. The area is very quiet, a small urban center in the city for a peaceful daily life, enriched by small antique shops and some newly opened bar, tendentially located in the area of Birkenstrasse.
It will be pleasant a walk along the'Banks of the Spree, a striking side of the Berlin riverside, you could then eat something typical, approaching the Kleiner Tiergarten park, where there is an old Berlin Kneipe named To the source, with German cuisine and excellent beer.
Where it is
Main railway stations: Central station, Turmstrasse, Westhafen
Metropolitan: S-Bahn (Ringbahn, S5, S7), U-Bahn (U9, U55), various bus and tram lines