A cultural-historical stroll through Prenzlauer Berg
Image by Paul Sullivan
Probably one of the most maligned areas of Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg has a reputation for being charming, boring and packed with yuppie families. But scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find a unique and fascinating history, abundant traces of which still exist all around – if you know where to look.
“Beyond Kollwitzplatz” draws on historical research, eye witness accounts, personal interviews as well as architecture, music and film to tell the story of the district’s transition from sleepy backwater to the breezy, cosmopolitan neighbourhood it is today, via turbulent decades of being both war-torn and wall-torn.
Along the way you’ll see and hear about parts of Prenzlauer Berg you won’t find in the guidebooks: modernist and East German housing estates, former Nazi drinking holes, sites of Stasi torture and SS execution, bullet-riddled courtyards, experiments in gay and bourgeois collective living, underground music clubs and more.
You’ll find out why the area’s distinctive tenements were so crucial to the character of the area, the colourful and dramatic history of the local breweries and the tasty legacy of its long-forgotten Italian community. You’ll discover why it became a hotbed of dissidence in the GDR days – and why that very legacy has been questioned.
You’ll discover, in fact, that Prenzlauer Berg’s past is anything but boring…
About The Tour Leader
Paul Sullivan is a writer, photographer and the founder of Slow Travel Berlin, a sustainable local travel resource and eclectic repository of information about the city. He has been visiting Berlin since the late 90s and has written two guidebooks about it (Hedonist’s Guide To Berlin, Rough Guide to Berlin) as well as abundant articles for The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Time Out, National Geographic UK and more. He moved to Prenzlauer Berg in 2008 and has been defending it against naysayers ever since.
€15 per person for two hours. Private tours and groups can be arranged in advance.
Reviews of Beyond Kollwitzplatz From Gidsy:
5 stars | Yannik S.
We live in Prenzlauer Berg and we really enjoyed this tour! Paul told us a lot of interesting historical information, but also pointed out some cool bars. It was a great mix of fun and factual. A few of the building were not open to the public, like the Stadtbad, and he had his iPad handy to show us photos of the interior– we thought that was really cool. The other people on the tour were also very friendly, and it was a small group, which made it easy to ask questions and chat. It was a great experience— definitely recommend it. Thanks, Sarah & Yannik.
4 stars | Tom Hillman
Paul was an informative, intelligent and personable guide who gave a unique insight and fresh perspective of a seemingly uninspiring area of Berlin. I couldn’t recommend this tour enough for those looking to gain a better understanding of both an area and a niche segment of Berlin’s history.
5 stars | Meghan M.
I highly recommend this tour! Paul took us down streets, through cemeteries and into unassuming spaces that told another layer to the story that is Berlin. I can’t wait to check out another tour. Fantastic for visitors, even better for residents!
5 stars | Julius
Paul is a great guide and led us to some amazing places around Prenzlauer Berg. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for over half a year now and it’s amazing to realize how little I actually knew about its history.
4 stars | Andrew H.
The Pberg tour by bike provided a fascinating insight into one of Berlin’s oldest and most colourful areas. Paul’s historical and architectural knowledge of the area made it a trip that went beyond the usual tourist trek. Insightful and humorous!
5 stars | Rachel Carroll
This is a must for anyone staying in this neighbourhood! Less like a formal tour than a highly enjoyable stroll with a fascinating friend – very engaging, highly informative and thoughtfully paced. One of the highlights of my visit to the wonderful Berlin!
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