A HID­DEN GEM IN THE HEART OF BER­LIN

Hayo - - Hot Spot - WORDS BY TRACY STE­FANUCCI PHOTOGRAPHY BY UWE VON LOH

WITH ITS HIGH-STREET FASH­ION AND OVER­PRICED COF­FEE SHOPS, it’s hard to imag­ine that the in­tensely gen­tri­fied Mitte neigh­bor­hood was once oc­cu­pied by rad­i­cals, an­ar­chists and artists that flooded into the aban­doned area of former East Ber­lin in the early 1990s af­ter the fall of the Ber­lin Wall. Haus Sch­warzen­berg, an arts and cul­ture haven spread through­out one of the only re­main­ing pre­war build­ings in the area, is a hid­den gem that gives a rare hint of this vi­brant his­tory.

If you can lo­cate its dis­creet en­try­way off of Rosen­thaler Straße and pass through its dimly lit cor­ri­dor, you will find your­self in a court­yard that is cov­ered in an over­whelm­ing col­lage of street art by famous and emerg­ing artists from around the world. Ev­ery sur­face is alive with ever-chang­ing and brightly colored im­ages and text in spray paint, wheat paste and stick­ers.

Be­yond its street art–cov­ered walls one can browse artists’ books in the Neu­roti­tan book­shop or take in ex­hi­bi­tions in its gallery, see an in­die film in Kino Cen­tral art house cin­ema, watch live mu­sic in Eschschlo­raque night­club or ex­plore the Dead Chick­ens’ Mon­sterk­abi­nett mu­seum, filled with mov­ing ro­bots, mon­sters and crea­tures artist Hannes Heiner cre­ated out of scav­enged ma­te­ri­als. For a more his­tor­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence, there’s also the Otto Weidt Work­shop for the Blind Mu­seum, a pre­served broom fac­tory that Weidt used to em­ploy and hide many blind and deaf Jewish peo­ple who came un­der threat of the Nazis, and a mu­seum ded­i­cated to the life of Anne Frank.

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