Hip Kreuzberg, stretching from the West Berlin side of the border crossing at Checkpoint Charlie all the way to the banks of the Spree next to Friedrichshain, is home base for much of Berlin’s famed nightclub scene and a great place to get a feel for young Berlin. A large Turkish population shares the residential streets with a variegated assortment of political radicals and bohemians of all nationalities. In the minds of most Berliners, it is split into two even smaller sections: Kreuzberg 61 is a little more upscale, and contains a variety of small and elegant shops and restaurants, while Kreuzberg 36 has stayed grittier, as exemplified by the garbage-strewn, drug-infested, but much-beloved Görlitzer Park. Oranienstrasse, the spine of life in the Kreuzberg 36 district, has mellowed from hard core to funky since reunification. When Kreuzberg literally had its back against the Wall, West German social outcasts, punks, and the radical left made this old working-class street their territory. Since the 1970s the population has also been largely Turkish, and many of yesterday's outsiders have turned into successful owners of shops and cafés. The most vibrant stretch is between Skalitzer Strasse and Oranienplatz. Use Bus M29 or the Görlitzer Bahnhof or Kottbusser Tor U-bahn stations to reach it.
Not everyone has the courage to explore these macabre destinations. Do you?More