The history behind the Platz is the “Platz vor dem Potsdamer Tor” which is a five cornered crossroads in front of Potsdamer Tor. This is one of Berlin’s 14 city gates. In 1838 they opened a railway station. Since the train stopped right outside of the city wall Potsdamer Platz turned into a huge cargo trans-shipment point and is one of the busiest squares in Europe.
The real boom happened around 1871 after the German Empire formed. Restaurants and big building were brought into the area. This was a period of economic growth and wealth. The old was always being renovated and made new again. This melting pot was the center for different culture and people.
Potsdamer Platz was almost completely destroyed during World War 2. After the war it became the “border triangle” where the Soviet, British, and American sectors would meet, along with a booming black market. Once local officials started to rebuild Potsdamer Platz, improvements were quickly destroyed during the people’s uprising on the 17th of June in 1953.
Later this place of ruins because a large sector of the death strip during the life of the Berlin Wall. Once reunification happened, it was decided to once more rebuild there, and the Potsdamer Platz became the largest urban construction site in the 1990s.
However, if you set foot in this area today, you have no clue of the history that transpired here. Potsdamer Platz sits just outside of the center of the city, and contains many shopping stores, a movie theatre, and major transfer station more much of the cities public transportation systems. In my experience heading over to the Sony Center where much of these stores are located, is one of the more pleasant shopping experiences you can have. The movie theatre within the Sony Center also contains some of the major titles that are popular currently being shown in the movie community. While I wasn’t able to personally experience this cinema, the CineStar boasts nine screening rooms (one of them being an IMAX theatre) and is able to seat up to 2300 combined, screening 1000 movies each year.
Additionally, if you don’t find what you are looking for there in the Sony Center, you can skip over to the Mall of Berlin just a block away. I was able to purchase a pair of Birkenstocks (a popular brand in Germany and the US) and several items in various other stores, and later on enjoy some pretty decent food court food. Overall, this area has a rich history and is a good example of the way that Germans repurposed a space to better reflect the kind of image they were trying to project to the rest of the world.
— Brendan Krekeler and Anamarie Augustyn