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Wide streets and block buildings: Soviet architecture in Berlin

 

BY THE TIME THE SOVIETS arrived in Berlin in 1945, much of it had been bombed by the Allies. The Soviets appropriated the telephone exchanges, streetcars, and anything else that was useful in Moscow, leaving the city a skeleton. Once the city was divided, the architects began the rebuilding process and were eager to create buildings that would leave a legacy.

What was once known as Stalin Allee is now Karl Marx Allee. It was to be the centerpiece for Soviet design. The buildings incorporated images of socialism, like wheat, into the ornamentation, but it was almost a Hollywood set. The beautiful street view was a contrast to the prefabricated concrete behind.

Was the plan to have the buildings large and the streets wide in order to make the people feel small? Is there ample open space because it simply wasn’t feasible to rebuild? Most importantly, what was it like to live in those buildings during the Cold War?

Read more about our tours with Niche Berlin.
Photography by Lindsay Clark

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