Berlin 3: Café Sibylle & Karl-Marx-Allee

Café Sibylle is a café in the Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin , which opened in 1953 under the name Milchtrinkhalle when the Stalinallee was being redeveloped as an impressively overdone socialist boulevard, with many of the buildings on it dating from the 1950s.

It was renamed Milchbar and in the 1960s became Café Sibylle, named for the leading East German fashion magazine, whose staff often held meetings there. After the reunification of Germany the café closed for a while, reopening around 2000, with a permanent exhibition display of the history  of the area around Karl-Marx-Allee, and reverting to some of the original decor with some original wall paintings which were discovered.

Perhaps because of the weather there were few customers when we visited, although the place is often featured in tourist guides and is worth a visit – and the the cake and coffee/beer was very welcome and reasonably priced.

A part of the café was a museum area with some genuine 1950s East German objects. The business closed briefly in 2018 as it was making a loss and there were aslo apparently problems with contracts, but it was reopened with some pomp a few months later.

Back on Karl-Marx-Allee were some rather less impressive buildings of a temporary nature and some more interesting piping. I did take rather a lot of pictures of the piping, much of which was overhead and brightly coloured, though have spared you by not posting them here. It was I think a temporary feature.

We were nearing the end of the impressively wide street. and could see one of a pair of its more impressive buildings from the Soviet era, though the foreground was rather less so.

Kosmos, along with  Kino International, both built as cinemas in the 1960s, are the only significant building on Karl-Mark-Allee not built in the Soviet Classical (‘Zuckerbäckerstil’) style but as truly modern buildings, designed in 1959 by  Josef Kaiser and Herbert Aust. Used for many years for film premieres, since 2006 it has been a conference and event centre.

We left the Karl-Marx-Allee where it ends at Frankfurter Tur, where there are two towers to form a dramatic gateway to Berlin, dating from 1953-1956 and which are perhaps the most impressive of the soviet style buildings and walked through an area where the architecture was on a more modest scale.

Two rather differently decorated vehicles were parked outside Schmuck-Klinik on Boxhagener Strasse, with Darkstore’s devil promising Clothes, boots, jewelry, CDs.

More from Berlin to follow shortly.

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