Kreuzberg is an ever-changing being. Formerly one of the city’s poorest districts and a part of West Berlin, today it is densely populated and the heart of the city’s innovative creative culture. It’s global reputation for being alternative and progressive attracts a diverse mix of visitors and residents alike. A general bohemian attitude prevails and this is reflected in the style of its cafes, bars, clubs and galleries.
The cool set have definitely made their mark but its Turkish inhabitants add the real colour and spice to the neighborhood. From the colourful public housing circling Kottbusser Tor, to the broad and busy boulevard of Kottbusser Damn, Turkish life is everywhere and the Turkish market on the banks of the canal is the hub of village life for residents of Kreuzberg and Neukölln.
A wander through the Graefekiez and Bergmannkiez areas will impress with its tall elegant apartment buildings, leafy tree lined streets and colourful balcony gardens. While all of Kreuzberg and beyond can be surveyed from above at the top of its namesake hill in Viktoriapark. A true feeling of its neighborhoods comes from walking the banks of the Landwehr Canal which runs for 5 kilometres through the heart of Kreuzberg.
The jewel in Kreuzberg’s crown is one of Berlin’s most photographed landmarks – the Oberbaumbrücke. Connecting the suburbs of Kreuzberg (formerly west Berlin) and Friedrichshain (formerly east Berlin) across the Spree River as the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg borough, it has seen division and unity throughout the city’s turbulent history and today is a fantastic place to watch the sunset. Nearby in Wrangelkiez, you can explore the grunge and graffiti alongside works by some of the world’s best street artists. Life is lived by the water in Kreuzberg with rafts, canoes, tourists boats and swans idly drifting by and always people on the banks, soaking in the sun.
The northern part of Kreuzberg (bordering Mitte) is one of the best parts of the city to learn about Berlin’s modern history. Tourists shuffle quietly around the Jewish Museum, the Topography of Terror and Checkpoint Charlie and console themselves with East German specialties such as currywurst and trabi tours, while others enjoy a different side of culture in the many museums and galleries nearby.
Kreuzberg’s stories of division and resurrection can’t help but inform its culture today. Memories are not forgotten and a rebellious spirit is encouraged. A belief in everyone’s right to freedom is expected in Kreuzberg and locals live their life and their choices in celebration of this at every turn.