Far Kreutzberg

The Family turns out to be a natural-born hipster. While I was busy photographing street art, or admiring architectural points subtle enough to hit you in the face, she took a photo or two which turn out to capture the essence of night-life around Berlin. This happened over and over again, but most noticeably in the far eastern part of Kreutzberg near Oberbaumbruecke. In John le Carre’s cold war trilogy where the spy-masters Smiley and Karla face off, this bridge is the setting where Karla crosses finally to the West. I had a mad moment of imagination when I thought I would search for the gold cigarette lighter given to Smiley by his wife, which Karla stole in Delhi and dropped on the bridge as he crossed it. Instead, I took a few shots of the restored 19th century Gothic bridge (featured photo), as The Family examined what turned out to be one of Berlin’s hot spots: the Watergate club (photo below).

Most people come this far east in Kreutzberg for the many clubs which have sprung up in this area in the last decade. We were too early to start looking for a few sips of beer and music to dance by, but going by past experience, if it had been the right time, then she would have been able to either talk her way in for both of us, or found a different place. By all accounts, the area comes alive around midnight. We didn’t wait so long.

We had come here on a search for one of Berlin’s iconic murals, the one called Backjump by BLU. We stood on the bridge and admired the mural. The light was fading, and it was clear that our photo-walk through Berlin was almost over for the day. The gloomy double-decker Oberbaum bridge was made in that anachronistic Gothic style which we now think of as Harry-Potter-architecture. It was built at the end of the 19th century to take the increased traffic of that time as well as the then-new U-bahn. It was blown up in the last days of the war as a futile defensive measure against the advancing Red Army, and rebuilt in 1994. There was incredibly wild street art at the foot of the bridge (panels above). They were hard to photograph in the narrow space and in bad light.

Under the railway bridge at Schlesisches Tor, Berlin

As we walked back, I was intrigued by a gathering of people under the U-bahn line near the Schlesichser Tor station (photo above). A quick look told me that the kiosk is called Burgermeister, and its main offering is absolutely clear: burgers. This is another of the legendary places around here. I was torn, but decided to give it a miss, thinking of a bigger dinner later. This was a mistake because our dinner experience that night turned out not to be good. But that is another story which ended with The Family’s hipster radar leading her into one of Berlin’s hotspots of street art.

Ten Big Ones

Berlin is full of beautiful large murals. Some are commissioned, others are illegal. Some are by well-known artists, others by the not-yet-famous. The mural in the featured photo is visible from the Tiergarten S-bahn station. I don’t know who it is by.

Case McClaim’s mural at Heinrich Heine Allee (U8)

This famous mural by Case McClaim is right by one of the exits from the Heinrich Heine Allee U-bahn station on the U8 line. This area has a constantly changing variety of other wonderful work.

Mural by Agostino Iacurci at Moritplatz (U8)

Get off the U8 at the Moritzplatz station and walk to Prinzessinen Gaerten to get to this huge mural painted by Agostino Iacurci.

Mural by BLU near the southern end of Oberbaumbruecke

Take the U1 to the Schlesisches Tor station, and then walk towards Oberbaumbruecke. When you reach it, turn around and look for this mural by BLU before you cross the river. Look around and you will find an undergrowth of street art.

Tavar Zawacki’s mural at Urban Spree

Take M10 or M13 to the Warschauer Strasse stop and right at the corner of Revaeler Strasse and Warschauer Strasse is Urban Spree. This is a curated work by Tavar Zawacki, which has passed the date until which it was protected. By now it will have been painted over by Victor Ash.

Mural at Urban Spree (M10)

Behind Urban Spree are abandoned warehouses with ever-changing art work on the walls. I don’t know who made the one which you see above.

Selfie-monkey with a camera at the Anne Frank Zentrum

This large mural is in the incredible gallery near Anne Frank Zentrum on Rosenthaler Strasse. You can get there from the S-bahn station at Hackescher Markt or by taking U8 to the Weinmeisterstrasse station. I can’t find who painted it.

Mural at Bernauer Strasse in Berlin
Mural by Marcus Haas and Xi Design at Bernauer Strasse in Berlin (M10)

If you get off at the Bernauer Strasse stop of M10 and walk towards the Berlin Wall memorial you’ll see this work facing the road. It was designed Marcus Haas and executed by Xi Design (this is an advertising agency which has hacked the wild meme). I like the map of Berlin hidden in the marbling of fat in the slice of steak.

Two more works are easily visible from public transport, but I didn’t manage to photograph them. You see a stencil by JR when you take the M2 coming down from Prenzlauer Allee towards Alexanderplatz. Look to the right of the tram just as it gets towards the end of Prenzlauer Allee. The famous mural of the Cosmonaut by Victor Ash is visible from the U1 line. As you take the U-bahn from Kottbusser Tor towards Schlesischer Tor, look to your left just after starting.

There must be many others. These just the large ones The Family and I managed to see.