Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Farhrad Tour

Farhrad Tour

Today we took a farhrad (bicycle) tour of Berlin. We began in Prenzberg (check?), and we chose to do a four hour look through Berlin, including the wall and the Reichstag, national capital.
The starting point was the Kulturbrauerei. First we went along to the path of the old wall, and we saw preserved sections where monuments have been erected. In some cases people fled the coming closure just minutes from being trapped for 28 years. The DDR sealed buildings instantaneously with hundreds of men working in each bock to move entrances to back yards and seal front entrances with bricks on buildings that fronted the line of separation. Between the east and allied controlled zones. The cutting of the city into pieces killed for many years the vivacity that is re-emerging every day. We see on every corner where people are rebuilding and construction is bringing a re-unification pride from citizens. They also express themselves in the new capitol buildings in the Reichstag. The government here is completely transparent. In fact, the buildings are constructed out of glass and concrete, symbolizing transparent government with strength and stability. There is a building called the Bundesstreife, or Federal strip, that crosses the Spree River, where the wall was routed. The Bundesstreife crosses the river and division like a bandage over a wound, healing and fixing where the land bled. The Reichstag is also free to visit. I saw no police or security the whole time in the capital. People can walk into ANY government building, including the chancellery, the Reichstag itself where the parliament meets and the Bundesstreife where the supreme court meets. There is no cost, so even the poorest can participate actively. There is no security to frustrate and intimidate visitors. Kids are invited to play on the steps of the government, and feel comfortable with everything in the Capital. The re-built centralized, unified capital is also young and fresh. The Reichstag renovation was only finished in 1996, after it was burned in 1933, bombed throughout the war, disused for it's proximity to the wall, and only recently re-adopted as a government center. 


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