The Nikolai Viertel (Nikolai Quarter)

Nikolai Viertel - Nikolai Quarter
Source:         Photographer: Michael Leps

A kind of gigantic open-air theatre awaits visitors that make a detour to the Nikolai quarter. Originally this quarter – named after the Nikolaikirche (Church), housed numerous workshops, agricultural farms and small shops. A whole host of well known artists were based here for example, Ibsen, Kleist, Lessing or Hauptmann. As an artist stronghold, the Nikolaiviertel was comparable to other such cities (e.g. Soho in London)

Nikolai Church Berlin
Source:         Photographer: Birgit

Unfortunately during the Second World War the area became the target for numerous bomb attacks by the allies, upon which it was almost completely destroyed. For most of the houses, not even the foundations remained, leaving the Nikolaiviertel as a giant field of rubble at the end of World War II.

It remained like this for decades. It was only in the 1980s that the Nikolaiviertel– in the wake of the forthcoming 750-year celebration of the City of Berlin was restored and largely rebuilt. In doing so strict adherence was kept in restoring the district to the historical models and hence nearly all of the houses were re-built to their original form. The architect Günter Stahn was heavily involved with rebuilding of the district.

In 1987 the Nikolaiviertel was officially re-opened, and since then has developed into one of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin. Whoever wishes to experience first hand how Berlin looked during the medieval times, will not be able to miss out a trip to the Nikolaiviertel. There are countless small pubs, shops and restaurants which all exude a quaint and cosy ambience.

Nikolai Quarter
Source:         Photographer: Martin Gapa

The centre of the district is formed by the reconstructed Nikolai Church with its twin towers and its winding footpath to which the reconstructed medieval buildings adjoin. Besides the small shops mentioned, in one of the historical reconstructed houses one will find a branch of the city Museum, whose main theme is the history of Berlin up to the end of the thirty year war.

Whoever wants to see how the upper class society in the Baroque times used to live, a trip to the so called Knoblauchhaus is advised. It is a baroque building from 1760 whose interior is designed to give a first hand insight into the life of the people at that time. In addition to historical furniture, a great variety of everyday things are also displayed.

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