Jan 26, 2014

Subculture Berlin Tour

Today I went to a Subculture Berlin free tour, organised by Alternative Berlin Tours. If you want to see the typical tourist attractions like TV tower at Alexanderplatz, then this tour is not exactlly the right choice for you. But if you want to experience the alternative side of Berlin, this 3 hours tour can give you a lot! As they say on their website - Taking you beyond the tourist destinations to the heart and soul of the city.

We met at the Alexanderplatz at 1 p.m. It was sunny day, but the fact that is -12 degrees outside made me expect that there will not be a lot of people. Well, I was wrong. At 1:05 there was around 30 people, so we had to split into two groups. Our group started the tour right there around the corner and later we went to Kreuzberg. I took a lot of pictures and I will give my best to describe everything I learned about this awesome places we saw today :)


If you turn right from the exit of S-bahn station at Alexanderplatz and walk at the Dirckenstrasse, you can see a lot of street art on the walls. Every painting has it´s own story and lot of them are from the same artists. Like Little Lucy, a charachter made by an artist named El Bocho. If you see a painting of a little girl killing her cat - that´s her. Or Tina Berlina from the same artist. Those paintings are adressed to tourists, usually funny, but not mean. He´s pretty famous thought, with his own website and all the exhibitions - I would like to see one of them one day!

Tina Berlina by El Bocho

There are a lot of bisare arts also. Like a tattooed baby with a gun or a boy with a suitcase with a bomb in his hand. A lot of this paintings are placed close to the ground on child´s eyesight level. Guess so the children would see it and ask parents about them. Most of them are politically centered. How would you describe such a painting to your child? :D

tattooed baby and a boy with a bomb suitcase

We didn´t have time to stop at every painting, but I would definitely like to do that once (when it gets warmer!)


Haus Schwarzenberg is a cultural center in Mitte placed in area know as Scheunenviertel. The Anne Frank Center is located there (we also went inside to saw the museum), but what is trully admiring is the outside of the place. There are a lot of wall arts also and the coolest thing is that the owner of the place doesn´t really mind about people painting on this walls. So basically the artists can come there and paint on the walls withouth getting in a trouble with the police :)
And there is also an interesting story about this place during the World War II. It was in this house that businessman Otto Weidt provided a safe house for persecuted Jews at the height of the Nazi deportations, in his workshop for the blind.


This story begins in Kreuzberg, when The Berlin Wall was constructed. The first plan of the wall line was chacged, so there was a peace of unused land left on the West side which should belong to the East side.
Osman Kalin, the Turkish man, decided to use it as a garden. In 1989 he started to bulid a little tree house, using bits of random unused materials. At one point the govermant even thought he was building a tunnel under the wall. But it was just a house. And it´s still there 25 years after the fall of the wall (later he cemented it on the ground). He went trough a lot after that, fighting to save his home where he raised his children, because the authorities wanted to build the road in this place. But the tree house is on the Church land and the German law says that building can not be demonlished without permision from the Church - the Church liked his way of life and they decided he should stay.
Today Mr. Kalin still lives there. And he likes to have all the attention. So if you pass by in the summer, you can see him outside of the house, waving, proud that his building became so famous :)

We also have visited Yaam (I wrote about Ernesto, the artist we met there few weeks ago!). But I think this one deserves a special post, so I will write about this next time. And about media spree, which is also connected to the Yaam´s story.

Althought we were freezing, it was really an intresting day. We saw the places and heard the stories that can´t be saw/heard on every typical tour.
This tour was for free (or pay what can you afford), but they also have some other tours and I should definitely go to one (or more) of them as well!

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