Unter den Linden
Unter den Linden is the main boulevard in Berlin, running along an east/west axis from the Brandenburg Gate to the former royal palace at Lustgarten. The name means “Under the Linden Trees”, because of the linden (or lime) trees that border the central strip. There are roadways on either side. The street was originally a bridle path for horses, but since the 1850s has been considered the center of Berlin’s cultural scene. Most of the city’s museums can be found nearby.
Unfortunately many of the original Linden trees were cut down in 1934/35, and the few remaining trees were cut down for firewood in the last days of the war. The trees that are present today were planted in the 1950s. Apparently they struggle because of the air and ground pollution, but the trees are a much beloved part of the city and are carefully tended.
As you can see from our pictures, we didn’t get to actually see the street, or sidewalk, or even the ground at all! There was too much snow! But the trees were still beautiful, and even if we couldn’t sit and relax on the benches, we could still admire the views down to the Brandenburger Tor and Pariser Platz.
There is a brand new U-bahn station called Brandenburger Tor here. In the above picture I am standing near the entrance. It used to be called Unter den Linden, but was changed in 2009 when the new platforms opened. It’s probably better for tourists with the new name, but personally I like the old one.
I’d love to come back and stroll beneath the Linden Trees in the summer. It was hard to get a real feel for the place when it was covered in snow and we were totally freezing. But the Christmas lights were a nice addition, and the grand buildings make it easy to close your eyes and imagine the city back in the 1920s, when it was a cultural hotspot for the arts.