The Ku’Damm


This picture was taken from the bus.

The Kurfürstendamm, located in the former West  Sector of Berlin, is one of the most famous avenues in Germany. Full of shops and restaurants, the street reminded both Alex and I of the Champs-Élysées in Paris, only it was not quite as wide.  Known to the locals as the Ku’Damm, the street takes its name from the Kurfürsten (Electors) of Brandenburg.

Decorated with lights, the trees sparkle in the snow.

The Ku’Damm was originally built as a corduroy road, which means it was built with logs placed perpendicularly to the direction of travel over a swampy area. (Wikipedia claims that this is a major improvement over a muddy road, but is a hazard to horses.)  The Ku’Damm passes through the rich neighborhood of Charlottenburg, and many of the mansions that flank the street date from the turn of the century.

Looking down the Ku'Damm.

In the 1920s the area around the Ku’Damm was known as the “New West” and was a centre of art and nightlife. That all ended in 1933, and the street suffered greatly from air raids during the war and the Battle of Berlin.  After the war, when Berlin was separated into sectors of influence, the Ku’Damm once again became a focal point of the city.  Since Unter den Linden was in the Eastern sector, many people came to consider the Ku’Damm as the centre of the city.   This made it the natural gathering place for many student demonstrations and protests.  Since reunification, the Ku’Damm has lost some of its glamour, as a lot of money has been poured into the former East.  But the street is still home to many upscale shops and designer stores, and is definitely the place to go if you have Euros burning a hole in your pocket.

A restaurant decorated for the season.

We decided not to walk down the Ku’Damm because it was so cold. Instead we took Bus No. 100 from one end to the other, and then transferred back to the S-Bahn. It was a nice, if quick, way to see the street.  My only complaint is the parking in the center of the street: it seems really unnecessary!  The streetscape would be so much nicer with a nice strip of green down the middle.




Posted on 03/01/2011, in travel, Travel to Europe and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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