Kreuzberg, one of the twelve boroughs that comprise the city of Berlin is the youngest of the districts in this German metropolis. Its name is derived from its highest point (cross Mountain – 66m) a monument designed by Karl Schinkel, a neoclassical architect who was the mastermind behind the redevelopment of Berlin.
Established in 1920 by Jews, the area’s history is not seeded as deep as the city’s other boroughs. It was a rural area lacking behind the other boroughs in industry and population. However, that all changed in the 19th century, when in 1860, Berlin began experiencing phenomenal growth in the industrial sector, exploding in population, prompting for new housing to be built in the desolated area of Kreuzberg.
By the 20th century, Kreuzberg became the most populous borough of Berlin with more than 400,000 inhabitants. It had the highest population density with 60,000 people per square kilometer making up the smallest of the boroughs.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the area has witnessed a remarkable comeback from the poverty stricken community it had been previously. Although a majority of Berlin’s Turkish population lives in Kreuzberg, the neighborhoods have seen a significant rise in new tenants ranging from doctors to lawyers, and small businesses. Students and artists reside next door to Turkish families making this community one of the youngest boroughs in population among European cities. One main reason for the influx of new tenants is the attractive 19th century old buildings that survived World War II and the low rent. The area has once again become a community of diversified culture testifying to its colorful history.
Today, you can walk through the neighborhood and spot trendy bars and outdoor cafes existing side by side with traditional Turkish bakeries and small shops. Walking on the cobblestone streets along historic apartment buildings gives you a little sense of what the area was like before World War II.
For a quiet and relaxed stroll, you can visit the Landwehrkanal, a 6 mile long canal running parallel to the Spree River. For a deliciously prepared breakfast and a cup of coffee or just an evening beer, a visit to Fuchsbau is a treat not to be missed. Not far from the Landwehrkanal is Oranienstrasse, a street full of quaint cafes, bars and stores. For a real a experience head to Moritzplatz where you’ll find one of the busiest shopping and dining areas in Kreuzberg.
Here you can sample organic food from the Ökomarkt am Chamissoplatz, one of the oldest all-organic outdoor markets in Berlin. Stroll along the Bergmannstraße and discover a good selection of cafes and clothing stores. Enjoy a fine meal by candlelight at Mokkabar, located on Gneisenaustraße, one of the areas fine restaurants.
At the end of the day relax and unwind at Victoria Park, located west of Mehringdamm. It is the highest natural point in Berlin providing a spectacular view of the city. Seeing the history and beauty that this neighborhood offers, it’s no wonder that Kreuzberg has once again risen out of the ashes of poverty into a rich diversified community and taken its place among Berlin’s best loved neighborhoods.