Neptunbrunnen in Berlin

Neptune Fountain in Berlin

Berlin is a beautiful city. It is world renowned for its history and eccentricity, its dark past and colors. It’s hard to describe Berlin to someone who has never been to this important city because what you will see in this place needs to be experienced, or rather personally and visually perceived. Photographs doesn’t even do justice. But anyway, I am trying to document every memory that I had from my Berlin visits and this post is another story.

What catches your eyes from a place?

I love marveling through sculptures and statues and relocating here in Germany really paved way for me to see these wonderful works of art. I have high respect for artists who did Sculptures, and I admire the craft and creativity behind every piece, be it out of stone, bronze or ice and other material. Take for example the eye-catching “Bittersweet Marriage Carousel “, in Nürnberg , Trains to Life, Trains to Death, or the unique Cannons with Lion-heads , these are actually some of my favourites, not to mention that aside from their interesting story behind it that is worth telling, they are also built with a reason.

From our last visit to Berlin last Easter, I discovered another beautiful fountain with lots of statues in it and it didn’t only made me admire, it made me linger and stay a bit more longer.It is hard to focus when I keep on running after my daughter who keep on climbing the statues. The first time we saw it, the fountain was empty, but on the next day, there was water in it became more interesting. Also, it was busy and crowded. So many tourists, and everyone wants to photograph it.It was actually hard and I can’t get a good angle to photograph the whole fountain but I did try my best. One thing I love to to do while visiting a different place is to really get into details and not just the top sights to see.

Anyway, Neptunbrunnen or Neptun Fountain is so explicit beautiful. It has so many details it that it really invites me to linger some more. The facial expression and the allegory of the statues really made me think what does it mean. Common in many fountains, it has a great combination of two elements– statues (figures) and water, they have a great “flow” together. The sound of music beside art can never be beaten. The “Neptunbrunnen“(or Neptune Fountain) is located in Alexanderplatz, in the large square where the “Fernsehen Turm“(Television Tower) , St.Mary’s Church (Marienkirche) and the old Red Town Hall ( or Rathaus) is also located . The location is really a plus. Locals called it Forckenbecken which I don’t know why .

Stay a bit longer and linger in Neptune’s Fountain

We discover it by chance because our hotel was located just nearby Alexanderplatz and Nikolaiviertel but during our first visit, it was cloudy, windy and grey so I didn’t enjoy it much. Early spring in Berlin can be chilly and and grey so its also very good to schedule the time of your visit.

Tiny little details of Neptunbrunnen in Berlin

Neptun Fountain in Berlin was built in 1891 and was designed by Reinhold Begas but it was Architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel who suggested the construction of it as a gift to Emperor Wilhelm II of Berlin.If you know the Roman Gods then i’m sure you are quite familiar with the name Neptune, or Neptuno, the God of fresh waters in Roman religion.He is the counterpart of the Greek God “Poseidon“. In Greek mythology, Neptune was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto. These three brothers ruled over the realms of Heaven, the earthly world, and the Underworld.

Neptune Fountain , Berlin

This fountain is quite large that it took me two visits to fully see every detail. If you got a kid then don’t try to tell them to get off from it because you will not succeed. They will climb over it.Many times. All over again.It has sharp edges especially the horns of the animals so I cannot leave my daughter alone poking through the statues.

There are so many figures and interesting details that can be seen in this fountain like crocodiles, goat, fishes,octopus, giant turtles and odd looking little boys. With Neptune in the center, it’s surrounded with four women symbolizing the four main rivers in Prussia – the Elbe ( figure with fruits and ears of corn), the Rhine ( figure with the fishnet and grapes ), the Vistula ( figure with wooden blocks that symbolizes forests) and the Oder ( figure with goats and animal skins) . The Vistula is now in Poland where it forms the border between Germany and Poland. Its a good thing that it was not completely destroyed. It survived wars and renovations.

If you’re planning to visit Berlin and this is your thing then make sure to visit and take a closer look at this fountain and I’m sure you’ll not regret it.
The Neptun Fountain is located in the Mitte district, right on Alexanderplatz. The Berlin TV Tower is also in the same square with a height of 368 M and is the main landmark so when you spot the tower then you are headed on the right direction.If you want to see the Berlin panorama then you can go up the tower on a tour. If you walk a few meters you are at the World Time clock as well.Berlin has so many facets and I am hoping I have all the time to write every single detail that fascinated me. I am also happy that through this Blog, I could be able to share with you my thoughts about this place.

Address : Rathausstrasse 1, 10178 Berlin within the vicinity of TV Tower

Connections : S+U Alexanderplatz station ( S5,S7,S75,U5,U8,U2) By Bus : 100,200,248, (S+U Alexanderplatz station), N5,N65 (U Alexanderplatz station) By Tram : M2,M4,M5,M6 ( S+U Alexanderplatz Station)

Until then and stay tuned for more interesting sights in my Berlin trip! Tschüss!

The diameter is 18 m (59 ft), the height is 10 m (33 ft).[citation needed]

There was another well-known Neptunbrunnen in Breslau (nicknamed “Gabeljürge” or “Georgie Fork” by the locals), but it was destroyed during World War II and the city was later transferred to Poland

Berlin secrets : Trains to life ,Trains to death

trains to life-trains to death berlin 2
Kindertransport | Frank Meisler

One station, two destination

October 3 is the German Unification Day or the Tag der Deutschen Einheit , the day that commemorates the unification of East and West Germany. In line of this holiday, I wanted to write something about  Berlin and how it reminds me of a fascinating, and yet sad “secret”I have found from our last trip in Berlin. The story itself is not a secret, it’s not on the top 10 tourist destination in Berlin, but rather, a must-see for anyone who wants to deviate from stereotype Berlin, or dvelve unto something different.

Personally,whenever I am in a new place, I try to discover some off-beaten tracks or beyond the usual-touristy spots, at least if I have the chance.Sometimes, what appears to look  ordinary, plain, and insignificant held quite a mystery, a profound story behind it. But only the keen eyes sees it.

Last time when we were in Berlin, we don’t have an itinerary. We want to make it spontaneous and explore it like a local. Surprisingly,  I don’t feel like a tourist anymore. I felt like I can blend more easily , since I finally got a hold of  my German  and I can understand what’s going on around me. I find it easy now to navigate and read the signs which happened to be all in German, not like a year ago that I basically don’t have an idea what does it mean.I got to ask my friend Google translate for a help!

Trains to life trains to death 2
Berlin’s secrets : Trains to Life, Trains to Death

One of the Berlin secrets that I discovered is found just outside  the busy station of –Friedrichstraße–the known entertainment center in Berlin. It’s located in the Mitte of Berlin and adjacent to the street that crosses the Spree river.  It’s an important station in Berlin because of many reasons. First, this station was the station used during the Nazi regime to transport the Jews to many deportation camps, or to worst, to their death camps. In the same location can be found is the “Tränenpalast” or the Palace of Tears where East Germans said goodbye to family and friends going back to West Germany. From 1962 to 1989 it was the border crossing for travellers by S-bahn, U-bahn and train between East and West Germany.It is a place of tears, and woeful goodbyes!

Secondly, for all visitors in Berlin, this station is known to  tourists to famous destinations such as Unter den Linden, Brandenburg, and the Reichstag or the Deutscher Parliament.During the cold war, Friedrichstraße station belongs to East Germany and the major border crossing between the East and the West.

train des lebens-berlin
One Station , Two destinations

While waiting for my cousins, we get on to Friedrichstraße  and kill our time. I didn’t expect to find some fascinating discovery—The monument of “The Trains to Life, Trains to Death” built by  Israeli Architect and Sculptor Frank Meisler in November 2008. Meisler himself travelled with a 1939  children’s transport from Berlin-Friedrichstraße to England called “Kindertransport” ( Refugee Children’s Movement ). Imagine, out of 1.6 million children murdered during Holocaust, only approx. 10,000 of them had a luck to escape and saved their lives through the help of Great Britain. The children traveled in a sealed trains, sometimes children carried babies as well.After arriving in Great Britain, they were transferred to Foster homes or reception camps and most of them never see their parents again.

 

berlin statue train des lebens
Kindertransport monument by Frank Meisler, Berlin,Germany

It’s  easy to miss this memorial monument especially when you don’t pay attention to details around you. It bears inscriptions both in English and Deutsch and mentions “In gratitude to the people of Great Britain” .When we are out from the station, I was trying to look around to look for landmarks but what I notice is a plain wall with this inscription in the information panels ( Stiftung Denkmal) –” Züge in das Leben, Züge in den Tod ” ( Trains to Life, Trains to Death), upon reading this, I was really struck, moved and my mind fixated on the inscription and was trying to read the rest for me to understand what’s the story behind it. This time, I happened not to look at the Bronze sculpture yet. There was a lady sitting on the side of it, she probably waiting for someone. I noticed that few people were photographing in front of us and I was telling my daughter to clear the spot. I found the story of the Kindertransport very intriguing, it is not your ordinary memorial. This memorial is for children. It’s hard to accept the fact that innocent little children were victims of the horrific Holocaust. Whether you are a parent or not, this piece of story is disturbing.

Then my daughter walked on the other side and decided to climb the statues. It consists of 2 groups, with seven figures of children. On their coats they wear yellow stars. The bronze colored statues , a boy and a girl facing the Spree river symbolise the lucky ones who escaped and were transported to Great Britain. The greyish-bronze group had another destination–they represent the unlucky ones who were transported to the Death camps in the East. What caught my attention was the empty suitcase with a broken doll inside it. The doll has is abandoned and there was a withering violet flower lying beside it. My daughter was saying “Mama, die Puppen ist schon kaputt!” was is passiert?!  ( the doll is already broken, Mama! what happened?!)

berlin 4
Empty suitcase

I couldn’t find words to explain to my daughter…it is hard to explain.

This is probably the most disturbing memorial, and yet the most moving monument that I have ever seen in my whole life. It really touches you,provokes you, unless you are immune to human feelings. I am not born yet on this dark times in Germany but reading about the stories and seeing all the memorial sites for all the victims of Holocaust made me appreciate life even better, and understand it. Never again, it should never happen again.

My visit to Berlin is not only filled with photographs, or busy tourist spots, it was also full of valuable lessons. This is one of the Berlin secrets that is worth to explore and find. Frank Meisler remind us with this monument that life may lead you  in different destinations, some path leading us to life,the route to safety, or sadly some path leads to death.

This experience encouraged me to see the other “Kindertransport”works of Frank Meisler–one in his hometown in Danzig, Poland, “Kindertransport the Arrival” in Liverpool Station in London and the “Channel of Life “at the hook of  Holland , in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

How’s your travelogues lately? Have you discovered anything sort of “secret” ?

Have you heard about the Stolpersteine or stumbling stones?

If you happen to visit Berlin, make sure you drop by in Friedrichstraße Station, you’ll not regret the experience. If you’re interested about Kindertransport story, here’s an interesting read about it.You’ll find as well some of the famous Jews children who told their stories about their experience.