Berlin History: 19th Century Berlin in Paintings

Everything is constantly moving and changing: We are changing, the world is changing and Berlin is changing. As the year 2015 is coming to an end, it’s time to look back at the year and probably some events that changed everything for you. But while personal transformations might be more apparent and important to us, changes in your area are happening too. Maybe your favorite bookstore closed, a new burger joint opened and the Späti around the corner has new owners.

Sometimes it’s tough at first to see the positive in things going in a new direction and especially with Berlin people get super sensitive and upset – because we’re allowed to change, and move and be –  but Berlin, its districts, housing situation, rents, and residents are supposed to stay the same forever. In the name of change, we’re throwing it back a couple of centuries: Berlin in the 19th century seen by painters and barely recognizable by us. Because who would have thought back then that Berlin would become a party capital, had a never-opening airport and a Dönerladen on every corner.

So which famous hill do we have here?

Blick vom Kreuzberg, Johann Heinrich Hintze 1829

The district Kreuzberg has got its name from the actual hill that was named by King Frederick William III of Prussia in 1821. It used to be a flourishing  vineyard – something we can only dream of today.

This one might be easier?

Königliches Opernhaus Unter den Linden, Eduard Gärtner 1845

Parade auf dem Opernplatz, Franz Krüger 1830

The Opera House and area around Unter den Linden looks still similar – even though you wouldn’t find horses there today. The famous Linden trees on the road were first planted in 1647 and lived throug numerous cut downs and replantations. The trees standing there today are from the 1950s.

Granitschale im Berliner Lustgarten, Johann Erdmann Hummel, 1831, Stadtmuseum Berlin

Schlossbrücke, Eduard Gärtner, 1861

Which popular district is this?

Der Prenzlauer Windmühlenberg, 1800

Gegend vor dem Prenzlauer Tor, Heinrich Oliver 1847

No sight of baby buggys yet, but this is really Prenzlauer Berg and its famous windmill park – the main source of industrial income till 1872. After that the peasants concentrated on brewing beer.

Now we have one sight for you that you can easily recognize:

Napoleon in Berlin, Charles Meynier, 1810

Napoleons ride through the Brandeburger Tor after conquering Berlin in 1806 – a different kind of street party.

The next building also looks kind of different today…

Berliner Dom, Carl Georg Adolph Hasenpflug, 1825, Stadtmuseum Berlin

The Berliner Dom is  not actually a cathedral in the classical sense, because it has never been the seat of a bishop.

Now let’s have a look at the river Spree that goes right through the city and offers some iconic skylines of Berlin these days.

Lange Brücke vom Wasser aus, Eduard Gärtner, 1842

Aussicht hinter dem Mühlendamm, Johann Heinrich Hintze, 1832

Blick Spreeabwärts von der Jannowitzbrücke, Eduard Gärtner

The view from Jannowitzbrücke back in the early 19th century is completely unrecognizable if you compared to the architecture surrounding this spot today. The bridge was build in 1822, destroyed in the second world war and what you see there today is its fourth version built in the 1950s.

Krögel, Mitte, Michael Adam, 1901, Stadtmuseum Berlin

The “Krögel” that some of you know as the current address for the Rath Factory, Alte Münze and the Direktorenhaus, is actually just another word for crooked and describes the curve that the river Spree is making at this area. In the 19th century the area was full of residential buildings with only one small access passage to the river that people used to get water. Imagine us using the Spree water today…

Wilhelmplatz in Spring, Mitte, Julius Jacob dem Jüngeren, 1886, Stadtmuseum Berlin

The Wilhelmplatz at Wilhelmstraße used to be a lovely town square, but nowadays is covered with buildings.

The old Berlin Town Hall, Königsstraße corner of Spandauer Straße, Carl Georg Anton Graeb, 1867, Stadtmuseum Berlin

Ironworks Borsig in Moabit, Karl Eduard Biermann, 1847, Stadtmuseum Berlin

Cafe Bauer corner of Friedrichstraße, Franz Skarbina, 1893

Cafe Bauer, Mitte, Adolph von Menzel

Gendarmenmarkt, Carl Georg Adolph Hasenpflug, 1822

Berlin Panorama, Eduard Gärtner, 1834

Onward we go with this Berlin Panorama from the 19th Century in mind and a positive attitude towards change; because beauty lies in the ever changing waves of the sea.

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<a href="" target="_self">Kate</a>