Potsdamer Platz is a famous Berlin public square and intersection in the centre of the city, close to one kilometre south of the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag building as well as the Tiergarten. It is named after the city of Potsdam, about 25 km to the south west, and marks the point where the old road from Potsdam passed through the city wall of Berlin at the Potsdam Gate. In little over a century, what used to be a quieter rural intersection turned into one of the most congested junctions in Europe. The Berlin Wall used to cut through its former location but since German reunification, Potsdamer Platz has been the site of a lot of major redevelopment projects.
From 1838, the Potsdam railway station was opened and the area began to flourish. It soon began to grow exponentially from a quiet suburb, into the busy and lively area that it is today. After the empire was established in 1871, Potsdamer Platz experienced a building boom. Berlin was beginning to prosper economically and its more wealthy citizens began to move outside the city gates. Famous villas in Tiergarten were constructed. The famous 'Grand Hotel Bellevue' and the 'Palast Hotel' opened before the turn of the century. By the twenties, Potsamer Platz could be reached by rapid transit trains and the underground, 26 tram lines and 5 bus lines and therefore resulted in the square having the highest density of traffic in Europe. Every day, 20,000 cars crossed the square and 83,000 travelers were ticketed at Potsdam railway station.
Potsdamer Platz was almost completely demolished to the ground. And after the end of the war, Potsdamer Platz first became the 'border triangle' between the Soviet, British and American sectors. On the assumption that it would soon be rebuilt, some of the buildings on Potsdamer Platz were rebuilt in a makeshift way. During the people's uprising on 17 June 1953, however, the buildings were again burned down. As a result of this, nothing further happened with the site for many years to come. Investors lost interest in the area over decades.
In 1961, the square was divided by the building of the Berlin Wall and consequently became a border zone. At no other point on the Berlin Wall was there a wider 'death strip' than on Potsdamer Platz. All buildings within the strip had disappeared. During those years, Potsdamer Platz lived a pitiful existence as an urban wasteland. Not until 9th November 1989, did Potsdamer Platz again gain infamy as the centre of the city. After the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, a totally new situation arose virtually overnight, bringing with it a much awaited end to the decades of neglect. Only a few days later, a piece of the Wall was broken down on Potsdamer Platz, a previously excavated stretch of road was again asphalted, and on 12 November 1989 a provisional border crossing was installed. Land was quickly sold and began to develop into the flourishing quarter we see today.
With its varying blend of living, shopping and culture, Potsdamer Platz has long since become an attractive and bustling hub of Berlin. It serves tourists and residents equally, with its stunning architecture and atmosphere, it cannot be missed.
Potsdamer Platz 1, Tiergarten