Alexanderplatz is one of Berlin's most popular gathering points for natives of the German capital and tourists alike. Today, it boasts shopping complexes, food vendors, and a central access point to many forms of public transport.
The public square at Alexanderplatz dates back to the 13th century where a Chapel of Reconciliation stood around 1230. Later in the 13th century, it became a bustling area where people entered Berlin through the Oderberger Tor. By the 1700s, the area housed cattle markets and wool markets and had become an important zone for traders and farmers.
During its time as a marketplace, the square also saw use as an area for military parades and exercises from the Prussian army. On 25th October 1805, Russian Emperor Alexander I visited Berlin and the Prussian king Frederick William III named the area in his honour. Before this, it was Konig Thors Platz.
The late 19th century saw Alexanderplatz become more like we know it today. Trains came through a station created in 1882 and a central market hall opened in 1886. By the 1920s, it had become a hive for Berlin’s exciting nightlife.
During the war, the area around the square sustained heavy damage. Underground bunkers used by the Nazis meant the Allied offensive was particularly strong and many bombs fell on this part of the German capital.
After World War Two, only the Berolinahaus and Alexanderhaus stood surrounded by rubble. Both buildings opened in 1932. During the separation of Berlin in the 1960s, new buildings in the Soviet Plattenbau style sprang up. The World Clock and TV Tower came in 1969. The following year saw the completion of the Fountain of Internal Friendship.
Not much of the old square remains but it is still one of the most visited areas in Berlin and a great place from which to explore the rest of the city.