Upload & Sell: On
Thanks, Karl, for the interesting information. I went across Checkpoint Charlie a few times during the early 70's and so I saw first hand how dreadful life under the Communists was. I kid you not - the best way I can describe the sensation of crossing was that the sun shone differently on the other side - literally just a few yards away. Everything was grey and in those days many of the old, bombed-out buildings from the war years were still standing with large trees growing out the tops of tall, abandoned buildings. It was utterly creepy. Given the fact that the Communists wanted to make E Berlin a showcase makes it that much worse since I can only imagine the degradation of cities that weren't so intended. Anyway, on this trip I was pleasantly surprised to see the fantastic recovery E Berlin has made. I even took a terrific photo of the old Checkpoint Charlie which, as I'm sure you know, is now a huge tourist attraction. I was up very early and managed to catch it before any of the massive crowds arrived.
Have a great New Year!
All best wishes,
Thanks for your comments Strad. The East German government wanted to make E.-Berlin a showcase city, so working on the Berlin Cathedral would seem to be a high priority, since it was in the tourist area. I think their buildings were structurally sound, note the TV tower and some office buildings in Berlin-Mitte, built in the Soviet era, which are still in use. But they did do things on the cheap where possible. The federal legislature, across from the cathedral, was torn down after unification because of asbestos, and a lot of the postwar apartments also appear to have been removed. They had been thrown up after W.W. II to alleviate a serious housing shortage and little attention was paid to aesthetics or details. Many historic buildings and infrastructure away from the tourist areas, however, were neglected, probably because of funding shortages. Since unification, the Federal Republic of Germany has invested huge amounts of money to correct this longstanding problem, and most of the land between the two walls surrounding the former West-Berlin has become prime real estate with impressive architectural contributions. I think, in this case, it is more about money than ideology.
I am not a big fan of the Communist era, by the way, but the really big problems were mostly invisible to the casual tourist.