rbb-series: "Mysterious Places"

Author & Director:
Eva Roeger

Commissioning Editor:
Jens Stubenrauch


Daniel Ast

astfilm productions | for RBB

Old-Berlin, that is the area between Alexanderplatz, the city palace and Spittelmarkt. But where once the medieval city with crouching houses, narrow streets, half-timbered houses and cobblestones, with churches and monasteries could be found, today wide streets, parking garages and GDR architecture determine the urban landscape. The old core is overbuilt, demolished, bombed, blown up. Nearly all is disappeared, a lost identity of a city.

Only a few traces indicate that Berlin's core is already 800 years old. The city has no founding myth. What is hardly known, however, is that Berlin has been a success story from the very beginning. Today, the new city palace building or the avenue Unter den Linden give the impression of being the historical center of the German capital, but Berlin is much older than the tourist showpieces.

With the construction of the so called Red City Hall in the mid-19th century, Old-Berlin began to become more and more invisible. Historic substance disappeared, and visions of a center without an old city emerged again and again on the drawing boards. When the metropolis of Great-Berlin came into being exactly one hundred years ago, the narrow streets of the Old Town were still lively places. Large-scale demolition began under the National Socialists, the war massively destroyed the city, and GDR urban planning erased the old city layout.

Today, Old Berlin is overbuilt, the last evidence and traces - a case for urban researchers and archaeologists. The search begins under the asphalt. Surprising things come to light: the foundation pillars of the medieval city hall or 4000 skeletons next to the street between Alexanderplatz and Potsdamer Platz. Meanwhile, 25000 square meters around Molkenmarkt and along Grunerstrasse are being investigated. In the collections of the Märkisches Museum and the archives of Berlin lie relics, fragments, documents: thousands of puzzle pieces of history that the old core of Berlin can no longer tell itself.

In the documentary, historians, archaeologists, urban planners and contemporary witnesses have their say. A mysterious history of Old-Berlin, excitingly told.