Karl-Marx-Allee is a grandiose socialist boulevard built by the GDR (East German government) between 1952 and 1964. The street runs through the heart of Friedrichshain and includes many restaurants, cafes and shops.
Originally named Große Frankfurter Straße, the street was completely destroyed by allied bombings during World War II. After the war, it was decided that the street would be rebuilt with a development of five-story buildings with plenty of greenery between them. A year later, two of the new residential buildings were finished (Near Weberwiese U-Bahn) and plans for the boulevard changed rather dramatically. There would no longer be low-rise apartments, but large eight-story wedding-cake style buildings, a style that was particularly popular in the Soviet Union. The apartment buildings lining the street would be luxurious, spacious and beautifully designed. Fast growing poplar trees were planted in front the two (western style) buildings in an effort to hide them and work started on their new vision: Stalinallee.
Stalinallee was to be a monumental boulevard with luxurious apartments, shops, a hotel and a cinema. It was built to be a model for the whole GDR, and was immediately popular with both Berliners and tourists alike. People would often visit to shop and visit the trendy cafés. Those living on Stalinallee would often be envied by others due to the relative luxuriousness of the apartments. In 1961, following De-Stalinization efforts, the boulevard was renamed to Karl-Marx-Allee and the famous 15-foot bronze monument to Stalin was unceremoniously removed. Once the Berlin wall was erected, residents came here to find goods they couldn’t find elsewhere. The boulevard was a shopper’s paradise in an otherwise economically deficient country.
A four part tour of Karl-Marx-Allee
We’ve walked the famous Karl-Marx-Allee from Alexanderplatz to just past Frankfurter Tor to give you a sense of what it’s like on this grand boulevard. While Karl-Marx-Allee technically ends at Frankfurter Tor, the buildings of Stalinallee maintain their classic look until a bit further down to Niederbarnimstraße which is where we end our walk.
Along this walk, there are dozens of information signs placed on the sidewalks that can tell you a bit more about the area you are in. They are very informative and in both English and German if you enjoy learning about the history of the street.
Address: Karl Marx Allee 4, 10178 Berlin (Start of tour)
How to get there
Take the Bus, S-Bahn, U-bahn or Tram to Alexanderplatz and walk (2-3 minutes).
Within 10 minutes walk