• 2016.01.18
  • City West
The city west is a district in Berlin that keeps evolving in its appearance in comparison to all other districts.

Around the Berlin Zoo and the Kurfürstendamm street lays the city west, which, prior to the war, was formerly known as Neuer Westen (the new west). The Kurfürstendamm street, a former horse trail used by the Kurfürst (Elector), is now a main street widened in the late 19th century, modeled after the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris.  The Charlottenburg district adjoining Berlin used to be a wealthy living neighborhood but began to develop into a commercial district ever since it became connected to Berlin’s oldest subway line. It was around this period that the Neuer Westen became the center of the new western region as opposed to the city center, located in the eastern Berlin region, and officially becoming part of the city through the Greater Berlin Act of 1920. During the Weimar Republic and the 20’s the Neuer Westen prospered as an entertainment district alongside with the Potsdamer Platz. Although it may be difficult to imagine from its appearance nowadays, theaters, cinemas, music halls and cafes lined the Kurfürstendamm Street. Particularly popular among artists and writers the Romanisches Café became a place of interaction for prominent figures of various fields such as Bertolt Brecht, Max Liebermann and Billy Wilder.

However during the Nazi period this highly cosmopolitan district ended going downhill since it was mainly occupied by Jews. During the period of separation that followed the war, it served as a significant symbol as the center of West Berlin in the middle of East Germany. As a window to the world behind the iron curtain, funds were channeled by West Germany into city west in order to display a wealthy and consumption-oriented west. Modeled after the Rockefeller Center in New York the Europa Center was built over the former Romanisches Café. On its rooftop stands the three-pointed star from Mercedez-Benz, symbolizing capitalism and to be seen from the eastern part of the city.

img Europa Center, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015.

Following the reunification of East and West Germany the city west lost its significance. With the redevelopment of the area surrounding the zoo, the reconstruction of the Zoo Palast, a cinema almost 100 years old, and the Bikini Haus directly next to the zoo  the district has reemerged.

img (2) The Bikini berlin featuring shops by young creative designers from Berlin

img Where the Berlin International Film Festival used to be held between 1957 and 1999. It was reopened in 2013.

Currently under construction, the Upper West building is planned to reach 118 meters. It will be one of the tallest buildings in Berlin along with the adjacent Zoofenster (window to the zoo) building.

img (4) Construction site of Upper West next to Zoofenster.

Although after the reunification the City West became an area where mostly tourists came to buy souvenirs, with its recent redevelopment it has turned into an innovative district that offers many enjoyable discoveries besides shopping while still retaining its luxuries 


  • Mara Groner
  • AgeRat( NEZUMI )
  • GenderFemale
  • JobResearcher, Tour guide

Although I was born and raised in south Germany, I’ve been living for about 10 years in Berlin where I also work as a tour guide. In this dynamic city there is always something to discover.

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