Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, the essence of Berlin

The districts of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, administratively conjoined but commonly differentiated, are two of the most popular parts of Berlin that attract the most attention from Berliners and outsiders.Berlin, a city that has been historically divided politically, is now thankfully only divided in districts. Among these many districts we find two of them that attract a lot more attention than any of the others: Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. The city of Berlin has them joined together as one but among Berliners, they are clearly separated, firstly by the river Spree, with each having different characteristics that make them totally unique. If you’re thinking to moving to Berlin for a while, here is a little bit about these districts that can help you make your mind up on which part of the city you’d like to be in.

Friedrichshain was part of the old East Berlin and it’s something quite noticeable when we see its buildings and street names (with streets such as Karl-Marx-Allee and Stalinallee), some of them being just like those in the old USSR. From being part of the old East Berlin and thus being part of a communist state that was stuck in time, Friedrichshain is now considered one of Berlin and Europe’s coolest districts. It is the home of many musicians and artists, both consecrated and emerging, as well as having many of the city’s trendiest bars and clubs, such as the world famous Berghain, its name taking the last part of the names of both districts due to it being in between them. Friedrichshain is also famous for squat houses, especially popular just after the wall came down due to many clashes between squatters and the police. Nowadays there aren’t as many squats but they still exist, and some of them are quite visible to to the art painted on its outside walls. One of the most famous landmarks in this district is the East Side Gallery, a part of the Berlin Wall that is still standing and that everyone visits when in Berlin.

Kreuzberg was on the other side of the Wall, in West Berlin, and it’s easy to tell the visual difference with Friedrichshain due to its location. However, Kreuzberg has many traits that are similar to its brother district, but the differences still weigh quite a bit when splitting them apart. In the 1970s it attracted many punk rockers and pop stars, such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Its population is also young, creative and left wing and it attracts a considerable homosexual population, with many gay-friendly bars and clubs found in this district. Another important demographic point is the Turkish population that live in Kreuzberg, which has actually been given on many occasions the nickname of Little Istanbul. However, now it’s attracting a lot of young rich kids who try to be part of the ‘cool’ Berlin and the district is slowly losing its essence. Still, it’s one of the coolest places to be in Berlin and one that you should not miss.


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