To the Southwest of the Rotes Rathaus is the dense network of street of the Nikolaiviertel, a district in Berlin completely razed overnight on June 16, 1944. The area was rebuilt by the GDR authorities in the early 1980s as an attempt to re-create some of the old heart of Berlin on the site of the cities medieval core. Aside from one or two original buildings, the Nikolaiviertel consists of both exact replicas of historic buildings and of stylised building not based on any building in particular, but with a feeling of ‘old Berlin’. “Sometimes it doesn’t quite come off, and in places the use of typical East German Plattenbau construction techniques, with prefabricated pillars and gables, isn’t too convincing, but all in all the Nikolaiviertel represents a radical and welcome architectural departure from the usual East German response of levelling an area and building enormous concrete edifices” (Williams 2011:76).
Around the back of the gothic Nikolaikirche (a thirteenth-century church) along Propstatrasse is a row of mostly pastel-facade town houses that are four/ five/ six stories high that are particularly convincing that they are real however, these houses are fakes dating back only as far as the beginning of the 1980s. These houses despite being fake look very similar to the original Knoblauch-Haus on Postrasse located also in Nikolaiviertel.
Overall the Nikolaiviertel district is vastly different to any other district in Berlin this is because the district has a very sterile feeling to it due to it being a constructed living history museum of Old Berlin, of which only attracts tourists.
By Rebecca Holland
Williams, C. (2011) The Rough Guide to Berlin