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Prenzlauer Berg – Walking Tour

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A Berlin District in Flux

Prenzlauer Berg is the child of the imperial era, that was characterised by rapid industrialisation and saw Berlin’s 19th century population double to 2 million people in a mere thirty years. Working class tenements sprung up in response to the ensuing housing crises, designed to give wealthier inhabitants street-facing and brighter apartments, with poorer working people confined to lightless courtyards and packed annexes.

During the second world war, only a few bombs landed in Prenzlauer Berg. Despite being relatively intact, the densely populated neighbourhood fell into disrepair during East German times, whilst at the same time birthing a colourful subculture. Many non-conformists and opponents of the East German state lived here. Then came the wild years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a time of experimentation, creative freedom and joyous anarchy. Clubs and pubs mushroomed on every corner, often operating without licences. Young Berliners moved into the crumbling old tenements in droves.

As the years have passed, Prenzlauer Berg has gentrified dramatically, and its expensiveness has attracted a new demographic of residents. The facades of once derelict apartments have been renovated and top floors have been turned into luxury penthouses. The old grungy haunts have turned into boutiques and sleek restaurants and cafes. It’s a district to enjoy a stroll through, where you can seek to find the wistful remnants of the old, wild years.

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