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Downtown the world famous spa resort of Baden-Baden

Sunday, June 26, 2016

In the Heart of Europe

Today we are on the Gendarmenmarkt (Gendarmes Market from " Gens des armes"), in the center of Berlin and Berlin is situated in the middle of Europe.It's considered one of the most beautiful markets. It started as market for fresh country wares where soldiers also paraded their horses, musicians played and tight rope walkers showed off their skills.
The first building that was erected was a church for Huguenots in 1705 by Friedrich I. Three years later, opposite the square the German Church was built. For good measure so that the arts weren't given short shrift, in between a French comedy theater was built. Thus faith, spirituality and physical well being were all looked after.
Around the market place, homes are being built as well as cafes and restaurants where journalists and literati met. The theater burnt down and was rebuilt in 1841 by the famous German architect Schinkel. After falling to ruins during the Second World War, it's now standing in its full glory again.
This part of Berlin fell into Russian hands and belonged to the GDR where the Alexander-Ensemble sang their melancholic Russian melodies until the wall fell.It's only in short walking distance of the building of the former Nazi central command.
When the wall came down, Leonard Bernstein directed Beethoven's 9th here, or the Ode to Joy. He modified the words of the German text from "Freude schoener Goetterfunken"  to "Freiheit schoener Goetterfunken", ie.Freedom to Joy.
And of course, the before mentioned biggest chocolatery is just around the corner.
The wall came down at the end of 1989. The city and country have been unified since then and Berlin has become the German capital again. Friends of my generation, however, still call it "the East" and don't even like "going to the East"...although it is a resplendent part of town with so much to see (Humboldt University, German Dome etc...)

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