Berlin is Changing Fast, Unbelievably Fast

Just after few months, I moved to Berlin, I can clearly feel it: buildings under construction, cranes rising everywhere in the city sky, workers on frantic work from 6 in the morning, regardless of the temperatures.

It’s a city in constant evolution, Berlin, and new realities grow up not only in the urban horizon of the ones who were born here but also the ones who, like me, still don’t know this city that well and find it difficult to build up a topographic map of it. But in which way is Berlin changing? What does it leave behind and what direction is it going in? As an Italian, used to never-ending public works and the persistence of everything that is ancient or just old, this change astounds me and leaves me astonished. Waiting for the new Berlin to finally be established so I can get used to it.

I have lived in Eldenaer Strasse for a year and a half. When I moved here my windows faced the wide space of the Zentralvieh- und Schlachthof’s Rinderstaelle; Beautiful brick constructions from the late 1800s, which at that time were abandoned but could still impress a historical identity to the surroundings. Nowadays, these constructions are mostly demolished, soon to be replaced by a housing which will only keep the façade. The old Rinderaukzionshalle – at 212m long and 72m wide, one of the largest iron constructions in the city – has become a commercial space for cycling and outdoor sports. With its dark covering, it stands to face the Storkower Strasse S-Bahn station and is now the parking lot for the larger shops around it. Next, to the Rinderaukzionshalle there is a large green space, the Blakensteinpark, dotted by only a few trees. Surrounded by houses, mostly semi-detached, and with the exception of the shopping centres and the bare green land, holds no meeting places.

The Zentralvieh- und Schlachthof has been open since 1881 as a city slaughterhouse and later enlarged with cowsheds and places for refrigeration and trade; it also included the Zentralvieh- und Schlachthof station for the cattle and slaughtered flesh transportation. Between the first and the second world wars, the area began to decline; first being used only privately, then after the devastation of the second world war, the Zentralvieh- und Schlachthof became the Red Army’s Kriegsbeutelager, storing the Russians' war spoils. Only in 1958 was the area returned to its original function as VEB Fleischkombinat Berlin, but it took until 1991 when as the Moabit Grossmarkt it completely re-acquired these functions.

I’m not from Berlin and of course, my connection with this city cannot be compared to the ones of who in this city was born. Nevertheless, as I walk in these gloomy renewed streets I feel I have been deprived of a piece of my identity without receiving any as compensation.

By Diana Gurdulù Pacelli
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