Alexanderplatz is a triumph of 1960s urban planning as could only be done by the communists when they controlled East Berlin.
It is an old part of town but they didn’t have to worry about demolishing historic buildings because the advancing allies in World War II, particularly the red army, had seen that was done for them.
So what did they do with the vast expanse of flattened bricks they inherited? They replaced them with a vast expense of flattened concrete, which of course was their favourite colour- grey. Grey and yellow were the East German’s favourite colours, because apparently they calmed and soothed. It was scientifically proven.
They mixed yellow and grey with every other colour. It was the colours inside the Stasi (secret police) prison, the offices of government, the railways stations and of course their show piece- Alexanderplatz.
Why was it their showpiece? Because right next to it they built one of the most awful structures ever to grace a city, the East Berlin television tower completed in 1969. It was the tallest structure in Europe at the time and probably one of the most useless.
It looks like a giant golfball that has been skewered by a similarly sized billiard cue and hoisted skywards. Yes of course it has a revolving restaurant (don’t they all?). But it is right next to one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in Berlin which the communists faithfully restored, then they could not resist putting this thing beside it as a statement of the triumph of the technocratic state (or scientific communism as they liked to call it).
The problem for the communists was one totally unforeseen until the thing was completed. When the sun hits it in the afternoon, what does this showpiece of the atheistic state do, it reflects the sun in the shape of a cross. I wonder how many years the architect spent in a labor camp for that blunder? It was nicknamed the Pope’s revenge. The government retorted that it wasn’t a crucifix, but a plus sign for socialism.
Anyway the real reason for this blog entry, is the photo up top which Jill adroitly snapped of a guy walking across Alexanderplatz in pink Y fronts.
We went there a lot because it was big transport hub, quite near where we were staying and we had just nicknamed it Alexunderpantz and blimey a bloke turns up in pink jocks.