In West Berlin, near Bahnhof Zoo, is the famous Kaiser Wihelm Memorial Church, a partially restored bombed out ruin that today stands as a reminder of the horrors of war. In the eastern part of the city lies another ruin of a much older church that today remains largely forgotten. Just across a busy six lane thoroughfare from Alexanderplatz lies a leafy oasis, a quiet spot away from the crush of the city.
Construction on the original Franciscan Abbey began in 1250 and it was a fine example of early Gothic style until it was destroyed by Allied bombing on 3 April 1945. Today the ruin stands as another reminder of the war that left the city devastated. The space now stands as an open art exhibition space in a garden-like atmosphere. In summer theatre productions are also performed.
Nearby, you can also find two more reminders of Berlin’s history. The first, directly behind the church is the original Berlin Wall, which surrounded the old cities of Berlin and Cölln. Nearby, in a quiet stretch of residential housing, is Berlin’s oldest restaurant Zur Letzten Instanz. The restaurant dates to 1561, though the current building is a post-war reconstruction. The interior is also quaintly period, though I’d stick to the Biergarten outside.
I can’t vouch for Zur Letzten Instanz’s menu personally. It tends towards typically Berlin cuisine. You’ll probably find delicacies like Eisbein, often translated as pig knuckle, and once eloquently described to me by a friend as a fatty, pink, meaty marshmallow.
Franziskaner Klosterkirche | Art & culture, Theaters, Restaurants
Gardens open until April 4th 2014