The district of Nikolaiviertel is the oldest part of the city, and has conserved all the features and characteristics of a city dating back to 1237. The city history has been engraved on Nikolaiviertel as a truly classical medieval centre although some of the more modern buildings are the results of adaptations made after the Second World War.
It is a very beautiful and special area which contrasts greatly with the rest of the city, but it is exactly this type of diversity that makes Berlin the city it is.
Nikolaivertel is the oldest residential neighbourhood in the city and its medieval streets are pedestrian, without any traffic except for restaurant delivery vehicles.
It is located alongside the River Spree, next to the Red City Hall (Rotes Rathaus), in the centre of Berlin just five minutes from the Television Tower and Alexanderplatz.
Each street provides information boards explaining the history and details of the different buildings throughout Nikolaiviertel; a historical path (1-19) for visitors to follow and explore the neighbourhood.
Some of the oldest and most interesting buildings in Berlin are actually located in this area and are really worth a visit. Many have been converted into museums. Nikolaikirche is the oldest church in the city with natural stone foundations, although it has undergone several alterations over the centuries. The Knoblauchhaus dates back to 1760. The interior of this Baroque building provides a view to upper bourgeoisie lifestyle at that time. The Ephraim-Palais is another of of the 18th century baroque edifices.
Some of the buildings in Nikolaiviertel are also museums. Here are five of these museums that are well worth visiting (web sites are only in German):
- The Nikolaikirche (Saint Nicholas Church) was completely restored in 2010, and walking through the entrance visitors will immediately feel a huge sensation of grandeur from the great nave. The interactive exhibition “From foundations to double spires” relates the history of Berlin and is integrated inside the church. A number of different themes explain the history of the church and the city of Berlin with information on the parish priest “Paul Gerhardt” and his work in the church.
- The Knoblauchhaus is located in the only surviving 18th Century house in Berlin’s centre and belongs to the city museum (Stadtmuseum) offering special events and free entry.
- The Ephraim-Palais is a palace that has been converted into a museum, with three floors of exhibitions covering the history of art and culture in Berlin. The architecture is quite simply amazing!
- Zille Museum houses the art of Heinrich Zille, an observer in Berlin. His works were created in quill and on camera, recreating the atmosphere of Berlin in the XIX century.
- Hanfmuseum (Hemp Museum) reproduces ancient cultivation, including the use of fibres for textiles and medicinal products.
Visitors will find a little of everything in the 50 different shops, including hairdressers, fashion, accessories, crafts, literature and souvenirs.
Here are some of the typical shops to be found in Nikolaiviertel, where there is a real feeling of being in old Berlin.
- Salon Plauener Spitze A shop with all kinds of decorations, curtains, fabrics and classic cold weather clothing. All made in Germany.
- KugelEi: A florist, specialised in the art of egg decoration. For more information go in and find out!
- Exclusive Wohnraumuhren: Offers a whole variety of different watches, wall and decorative clocks.
- Manufakturgalerie: A shop selling Meissen porcelain, paintings, engravings, jewellery and ceramics.
Antiquariat Nikolaus Struck: A shop offering all kinds of antiques, including etchings and maps.
- Mogador: A world of colour, with oriental furniture and a large variety of accessories.
A walk through the narrow streets leads to a great variety of restaurants and taverns that are camouflaged by the buildings. A selection of some to enjoy include:
- Zur Rippe: Known as the ‘guest house’ and offering traditional German cuisine.
- Zur Gerichtslaube: An original restaurant typical of old Berlin.
- GEORGBRÆU brauhaus: Opposite the river Spree, with a great terrace to enjoy a good cold German beer.
- Reinhard‘s: A top quality restaurant in Nikolaiviertel for enjoying German cuisine.
- Steelshark. Japanese restaurant with sushi and other kinds of food.
- China Garden: Traditional and innovative Chinese restaurant.
How to get there
Ver Nikolaiviertel in a bigger map
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