Oh-Berlin caught up with Lucia Jay Von Seldeneck author of a book highlighting 111 places to see in Berlin. In her book native Berliner Lucia has shared her secret, hidden and personal favourite places to visit in Berlin. We talked to her about the book, some of the places listed and what advice she would give a visitor to Berlin.
Lucia: Well I was working for the amateur theatre in Neukölln as press and public relations. We also assist new authors publishing books so I was at the annual big book fair in Frankfurt. In the course of presenting our new plays we were told ´oh you do not have a 111 for Berlin´. There are books for Cologne, Munich and other German cities. It was really luck and being in the right place. I knew a photographer we sent them some examples for the book which they liked and then we went from there. Just coincidence really.
OB: What advice would you give a visitor coming to Berlin?
Lucia: Keep your eyes open. I think this is a message of the book. What we set out to encourage was for people to seek out and find their own special places in Berlin. Also we don´t just have places in Mitte, Kreuzberg and Neukölln but also in Marzahn, Spandua and lesser well known areas of Berlin. This was a big challenge for us for example going to Marzahn which we did not know anything about and having to explore to find our favourite places. Through this exploration we would find new things or places we liked.
Lucia: Well, Berlin is like lots of different villages and so we were at this quiet place in Heelersdorf, Brandenburg which initially we thought what are we going to find here? And then they took us to the roof of a church where they had discovered a kind of grave memorial for dead children – an old eighteenth century tradition. Essentially the burial ritual was to celebrate children getting married (in the afterlife) and so not being alone. It was in many churches in Brandenburg but today this is the last example and not many people are aware of this tradition. It was unexpected to find this. It was in a little church, very odd and very hidden.
Lucia: I don´t have a favourite. It´s like if you ask a mother what´s her favourite child. They are all interesting or special in different ways. In the book there are places like the abandoned Iraq embassy which is fascinating as you can see the place as it was left with papers on the floor and documents. Or the secret park on Orieanburger Straße which has a very small entrance but it really is a special place, peaceful and harmonious. It is very protected because not many people know about it.
OB: Are there any plans to translate the book into English?
Lucia: The publisher likes the idea of a translation and is thinking about it.
Find your own special Berlin places
We would thoroughly recommend Lucia´s book for exploring parts of Berlin not in your typical guidebook. Please note that some of the places listed in the book may not be accessible to the public because of building or restrictions since publication. Although the book is in German, given online translators, you should be able find places that interest you and seek them out and hopefully be inspired to find your own personal special places. Berlin is a city which seems to have an infinite number of avenues to go down, always opening up new places, new stories, and new experiences.
Have you got a special, secret or favourite part of the city? We would love to hear from you.
About the author
Lucia Jay Von Seldeneck worked as a journalist for a number of years before she wrote 111 Orte in Berlin die man gesehen haben muss. She currently deals with press for the Heimathafen Neukölln theatre. Her follow up book 111 Orte in Berlin die Geschichte erzählen (translated as 111 places in Berlin to tell the story) will be out later this year.