The street named after Emperor Frederick I of Prussia is one of the main streets of the city in which, despite the change imposed by time and history, the past continues to reverberate.
In the past, the longest way in the German capital (3.5 km) was the street of the finest shops, luxury hotels, and buildings with beautiful facades.
In Friedrichstrasse, there was also room for fun and artistic activities. Theatrical performances, variety, comedies entertained the audience of Berlin in the 20s and even today the presence of some of those theaters (Berliner Ensemble, Metropol -Theater) testifies to the street’s vocation for the show.
The tragedy of the war and the madness of the Wall
The end of World War II and the construction of the Berlin Wall marked the end of the beautiful street. The building of the Wall (1961) broke the road, turned then into the border point between the American and Soviet occupation zone. The Friedrichstrasse S-Bahn station became the last station before the border to West Berlin, going from east to west. Because of the painful divisions that were consumed here, the same was renamed Tränenpalast or the Palace of Tears.
Beginning in September of ’61, on Friedrichstrasse was established the Checkpoint Charlie, crossing the border for members of the Allied armed forces, the theater on the day of October 27, 1961, the so-called “Panzerkonfrontation” (tanks’ confrontation) that held their breath pending worldwide. Today, to remember the former crossing point (besides the pantomime for tourists with a reconstructed cabin and people in military uniform), a panel with the historical path of the Wall and the installation of an artistic work composed of portraits of an American and a Soviet soldier who look into each other’s territory. In the immediate vicinity, it is the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie with a permanent exhibition on the history of the Wall.
After the fall of the Wall Friedrichstrasse has risen. The artery, focal point of Berlin’s reconstruction, has returned to shine imposing itself as the chicest shopping streets.
Glittering with its exclusive and refined local boutiques, impressive in commercial and residential buildings, whimsical in the new post-reunification architecture, Friedrichstrasse is again the most exclusive street in Berlin. A walk along this avenue, crowded with tourists and bars, full of stylish shops and luxurious cafes, just to make that clear.
The Berlin artery is a true paradise for those who love to shop. There’s something for everyone: high fashion enthusiasts, luxury and sophistication lovers. The Friedrichstadt Passagen complex is a three-block system, linked by a shopping arcade. Ideal places for shopping but also shining examples of post-reunification architectural revolution. The District 207, the glass tower block with rounded corners and the atrium that tapers downwards, is home to the headquarters of Berlin’s Galeries Lafayette. The transparency of the building combined with the game of lights creates a special mirror effect that gives the place a special charm, transforming shopping into an inspiring experience.
Elegant and extravagant, with a touch of Art Deco style, is the District 206 with its designer boutiques (Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Moschino, Bottega Veneta). Soberer, however, District 205, a geometric and monolithic mass but not without charm.
Opening hours: open air
How to reach: Metro Französische Straße (U6)