Potsdamer Platz - Potsdamer Platz information and pictures
is a public square, traffic intersection, and one of the liveliest tourist attractions in central Berlin
. Hosting a shopping arcade, a new underground station, an entertainment center, and residential buildings, the square offers a lively metropolitan ambience to the visitors.
Before the Friedrichstadt expansion, Potsdamer Platz was just a traffic intersection for the trading routes across the European continent. The large octagonal area inside the Potsdam gate (the Octagon) was created in 1732-4 and served as a parade ground for the soldiers garrisoned in the city. In the early 20th century, Potsdamer Platz became the German version of the Times Square
in New York
. The area welcomed high society and celebrities in fancy hotels such as the Esplanade and Bellevue until the Second World War. Berliners spent weekends raising toasts at Weinhaus Huth and dancing Charleston at Haus Vaterland. Five roads carried over 20,000 cars a day – together with 5 bus lines and 26 trams – bringing thousands of Berliners to work and play. In 1924, the first traffic light in Europe helped get traffic under control, turning into the symbol of progressive Berlin.
While critics complain about the unmemorable architecture and commercialization of Potsdamer Platz, visitors find the square adorable. Close to 100,000 tourists crowd in the area, heading to the Potsdamer Platz Arcaden mall, the Spielbank Berlin, the largest casino in Europe, and the three multiplex cinemas. The tallest building on the square is the glass-and-steel Sony Center, integrating the remnants of the Esplanade with the magnificent Kaisersaal hall. Situated on Potsdamer Strasse, the Museum fur Film and Fernsehen offers a look at special effects, together with a journey through the film history of the country. The Legoland Discovery Center is a fantasy environment made of the plastic building blocks that many children grow up with. The Weinhaus Huth at Postdamer Strasse is a dignified structure designed by Paul Michel and Conrad Heidenreich in 1912. This edifice is among the first steel-frame buildings in the city, which survived the Second World War and outlived the Berlin Wall. Nearby is found the Daimler Contemporary, a loft-style, quiet gallery featuring a collection of minimalist, conceptual, and abstract art. Several sculptures found around DaimlerCity are also sponsored by Daimler. These include Balloon Flower by Jeff Coons, the Boxers by Keith Haring, the Riding Bikes by Robert Rauschenberg, and Galileo by Mark Di Suvero.
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