At the beginning of the 19th century, the Alexanderplatz was one of the busiest squares in Berlin. Alexanderplatz was named after a visit by Russian Emperior Tzar Alexander I. Originally it was called the Ochsenmarkt or (Ox market). The locals simply call this large square ‘Alex’.

Most of the buildings on the square shared similar destiny as other Berlin monuments, they were destroyed by bombing in WWII. As the center of East-Berlin, the square was used as a showcase of socialist architecture – some plain bulky buildings and the Fernsehturm (huge television tower).


In 1969 two more monuments were added to the square, the Weltzeituhr (World Time Clock) by Erich John and the Fountain of International Friendship. Weltzeituhr is a continually rotating installation that shows the time throughout the globe. Personally, I find it quite cute though visually might not be stood out anymore in our era. In fact, it looks a bit lost in the mid of the distraction of reconstruction of a tram line…

The Fountain of International Friendship

Alexanderplatz has gone through several reconstruction. In the 1990s, in order to improve its uninteresting socialist architectures, the city of Berlin commissioned an architectural competition which was won by Hans Kohlhoff (also one of the architects of the modern Potsdamer Platz).


At present, the first phase of reconstruction of the department store Kaufhof is done, whereas the biggest underground railway station of Berlin is still work in progress and the construction of two new skyscrapers may not be happening in near future.

“Ever since I know ‘Alex’, this station has never stop contruction…” Alex said.