You are crazy, my child.
You must go to Berlin.
Franz von Suppé, 1800
Especially in spring an irresistible desire for yet another unknown land emerges suddenly at dusk somewhere in the nowhere. Time for a small picture story of Berlin through enigmatic shallows and at multiple urban shores.
Can you hear me?
Word War II and the later division of Berlin have led to a lot of unused infrastructure, railways, empty factories and abandoned places till today. So there are really many possibilities getting lost in the labyrinth of the town.
Looking for enlightenment in a deserted factory at Treptow
Kitsch in an allotment garden at Charlottenburg
The city is changing quickly every day, but the spirit used to be indeed much more rebellious here in former times. Some wild street art reflects these eternal inflammatory ambitions sprouting from undergrounds.
Mural at Kreuzberg near Moritzplatz
Former railway tunnel at natural park Südgelände-Gleisdreieck
Large urban areas are covered with lakes and endless woods on sandy soil left by glaciers of the last ice age. Here the approaching predatory and brutal gentrification of many city districts does not play any role so far.
Krossinsee at Köpenick in early April
The journey is not yet over here – just a short excursion of my homeland today, thanks for reading.
Painting at Bernauer Str. reminding to Berlin’s division (1961-1989)
Each place carries a history and tale untold which needs to be revealed and spread again. Rapidly the first syllables are being uttered by an archaic reflex leading to further mysterious signs and riddles at the next street-corner. When moving simply forward on these hazy paths of color a quaint monument can be reached at the vague horizon eventually.
The environmental mural Weltbaum / World Tree by Ben Wagin was the first big mural realized at the Western part of Berlin in 1977. Due to construction works it can no longer be seen at its original place. Therefore, it was painted and reconstructed again in May 2018 at a suitable building in Lehrter Str. Let’s see if it will survive here another 40 years.
In fact this site in Berlin comprises one of the most weird locations which I have visualized and explored so far. What I am showing here is however not at all comprehensive as this huge premises tends to be more a wild industrial labyrinth of ruins in continuous change, a real adventure playground with varied looks and diverse risky ambitions.
The place is better known under its original name Flughafen Johannisthal and was in use as an airport until the early 50s of the last century. Being situated in the Eastern part of Berlin the facilities were then changed to a huge industrial production area of cooling devices by the administration of the former German Democratic Republic being called VEB Kühlomat. After the unification of Germany this industrial site was closed in the early 90s of the last century and set into a deep sleep till today.
I have visited the strange place in early September for a couple of hours and therefore only seen a part of the endless technical jungle where nature tries to cover all again quite quickly. Everywhere debris is lying in the way like thoughtful obstacles but more dangerous are unexpected holes in the grounds and the poor condition of the halls, hangars and buildings where several fires have occured in the recent years such making the site not safer and a bit spooky in general.
So when loafing around this particular enchanted place several nervous and insisting noises always accompanied me on my obscure way so as if the ground was mourning and complaining about its fate – groaning wooden beams, dissolving walls and a curious sharp wind drifting around the next dilapidated corner leading to a contradictional but pure amazement overall.
The fabulous site attracts a lot of creative people as an open and free space for their multiple ambitions in the sector of murals and graffiti. And it is fascinating to realize how a little bit of colour can change a place of decay to something else and again completely new.
You may still find quite a lot of places like this in the German capital but the number is anyhow decreasing. So it is also not clear how long this site will exist in its actual shape furtheron because the building of new houses with urgent required appartments is planned here by the city for 2021.
If you intend stepping into this labyrinth, it may be found in Berlin-Treptow at Segelfliegerdamm. You have only to look for options in order to cross the fence, such opportunities are always available somewhere.
Tuesday Photo Challenge – Our World