|Karl-Marx Allee: A View of the Fernsehturm|
Karl-Marx- Allee is a wide boulevard built by the East German government as its flagship building project during the 1950s. The street was used for East Germany's annual May Day parade, featuring thousands of soldiers along with tanks and other military vehicles that showcased the power of the communist state. It was originally named Stalin-Alle, but de-Stalinization led to its renaming. The massive buildings that line the street are designed in the unique “wedding cake” style (they resemble a wedding cake with frosting-like decoration). At the time of their construction, these buildings were controversial since they deviated from socialist classicism, a style developed in the Soviet Union, which emphasized function rather than the decadent capitalistic ornamentation of the west.
|Kosmos Movie Theater on Karl-Marx-Allee. It was the|
biggest movie theater in East Germany.
In the 1990s, shortly after German re-unification, I took a stroll along Karl-Marx-Allee. The street had a cold gray feel. The shops were deserted, the apartments vacant, and the infrastructure decaying. What struck me most was the total absence of color. Everything I saw seemed to be a shade of gray: the buildings, the signage, and even the people. It had a ghost-town quality. It felt like a movie set from the 1965 classic film, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold: a film about espionage during the Cold War. German unification had arrived, but the street was stuck in its communist past. Even the people seemed to lament the end of East Germany and the arrival capitalism.
These days, gentrification has transformed the street into a model of western consumerism. There are shops, the street is bustling with people, and the apartments are now eagerly sought after by young people. It's seems Karl-Marx-Allee has become cool.
|Designed in the Socialist Style|
|Someone Posted Over the Karl-Marx-Allee Signage|
|There are a number of bear sculptures|
throughout Berlin. The bear is Berlin's symbol. This one is found on
|Notice the small vase of|
flowers. It's especially poignant on
German Unification Day.
|East German Bookstore. A|
Film Company is now located there.