Friday, October 05, 2007

Being close to history - days spent in Berlin

I am in love with Berlin.

I like Berlin better than any capitals or any cities (you have to exclude 'town' or village') that I have been to. (That excludes, of course, Shanghai, a place where I have spent long enough to start to think that I know her well like knowing my hometown.) I guess, the reason for me liking Berlin so much, is because it is the place where one feels close to history, not history of a hundred a thousand years ago, but the history that we have read on newspapers' headtitles (the fall of Berlin Wall), and the history that everyone of us in the world have read about in school text books (the WW II).

Piece and pieces of Berlin Wall are scattered in corners of the city of Berlin. Then the underground covered book shelves in Babelplatz, a monument for the burning of books by the Nazis. The Jewish Holocaust Monument that somehow symbolises the Jewish cemetery in Prague. Berlin is all about what recent history has left for us in the past century.

Berlin is not rebuilt, like Warsaw. The Polish are so proud of the Warsawish grandour past that they did such an excellent job in rebuilding almost the entire old town almost up to close precision. The Berliners has had a tough time under the communist government in the past few decades. The city is never rebuilt. Perhaps to Berliners what is gone is gone. The city tour guide brought us to a green piece of land at the edge of a car park, that used to be Hitler's bunker, she said. Nothing, no obvious sign plate or somethings points one to this site. Only an explanatory board stands ordinarily by the roadside, which could be easily missed. There should not be anyhting left for someone to worship, the guide said. Here facing us accross the car park are the apartment blocks which used to be one of those prestigious accomodation in East Germany.

In the shadow of the past Berlin is emerging dynamically towards the architecture city, the contemporary cultural hub of Europe. Taking the S-Bahn from Alexanderplatz to Zoologischer Garten, you will feel like going through an awesome exhibit of modern architecture. The night lights are flashing, and the proud nation is proceeding with full confidence at his steady pace.

Krawkow 5/10/07

No comments: