Entry: European Heritage Days Thursday, September 18, 2008

Red flag
During the European Heritage Days, 13th-14th of September, you can go on free guided tours to some interesting buildings in Berlin.

I went to check out the Alte Königstadt brewery and also the public bath house on Baerwaldstraße.

The Alte Königstadt brewery is right here in my neighbourhood. There are in fact a dozen or so former breweries within this area. That's because it is located on a hill, and the breweries needed decent cellars for the beer.


This is the building from which you can enter the beer cellars.

Down into the cellars

The old beer cellars are nowadays used as a parking garage and for some video installations.
The complex was built in the mid-19th century, and the guide described the fascinating technology they used for cooling the facilities back when you still had to rely on ice, which was "harvested" during the winters.

Ever since the brewery was shut down around the time of the German reunification, stalactites have been forming in the cellars. All of the complex is now in use for other things, like offices, shops, galleries and studios.

Bear wood street bath house

The Baerwaldbad is a public bath house in Kreuzberg. It was built around 1900, when the city realised that public bathing facilities might be a good idea. Before that, there had been public baths in the river, but they had gotten a bad reputation by this time.
There are several public bath houses in Berlin from this era. A couple of them are still in use, like the Baerwaldbad (currently under renovation, but open to swimmers), and also the public bath house in Neukölln, which is said to be really beautiful.

Anyway, the street where this bath house was built was named after some guy called Baerwald, but in the design of the bath house they still liked the idea of the "bear woods".


The exhaust pipe from the bath's heating system.

Thumb up!

A still unrenovated part of the bath house. Here there used to be facilities with bathtubs in separate booths.

Stadtbad Baerwaldstraße

The old pool from 1901. The changing booths are being renovated at the moment. The other one of the two pools in the bath house is Bauhaus style, since that part of the baths was rebuilt after being destroyed during the war.

Read more about the renovation at xenobau-baerwaldbad.de (in German and Turkish). The project is not only about renovating the bath house, but also about intercultural education. It's an "integrated qualification project", where young unemployed people from the neighbourhood are renovating the building and participating in workshops about prejudice, communication and roots. Working with the renovation of a local old structure helps build a stronger identification with your neighbourhood. It's a really interesting project!

Some more photos from this day!


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