Photo courtesy of Circus Hotel website
The Circus Hotel is number one on Tripadvisor for Berlin, and we certainly agree that it’s a great place to stay. Very central, in the East side of the city, and right next door to an U-bahn station, the location couldn’t be better. It’s also owned independently so has a lot more character than your average chain hotel. The partners started out with a hostel in the late 90s, added this hotel in 2008 and last year opened an apartment block for longer stays or larger groups, so business appears to be flourishing. The room above is not ours, but it’s almost exactly the same – everything is bright, modern and clean, including the staff! They are young, friendly, helpful and knowledgeable and speak excellent English when my school German runs out (quite quickly). The organic breakfast buffet (8 Euros extra) is excellent, there’s a lovely courtyard suitable for the drinking of beer, see below, and we also had dinner on “Gin and jazz” night – it’s not often we choose to eat in a hotel restaurant.
So after that paean of praise, on to the wider area. Scheunenviertel means “Barn Quarter”, as it was where the animals were kept when the area was outside the city limits. Since the fall of the Wall, it has become a bustling area of studios, galleries and cafes, but you are never far from a tragic part of history because it used to be a centre of Jewish life with all that implies. The hotel building itself belonged to a family called Fabisch (now the name of its restaurant) who were forced to sell their clothing store during the Nazi regime. Some family members emigrated, but others were deported and murdered in Theriesenstadt. There are constant reminders of these times:
Koppenplatz Memorial to the Jews of the neighbourhood who were deported to the concentration camps.
New Synagogue – we visited the interesting (and sad) exhibitions inside on a previous visit to Berlin.
Monument by the Jewish cemetery – this was the collection point for the Jewish population before being taken to the camps.
However, there are also plenty of more cheerful sights, especially if you keep your eyes upwards.
Very elaborate (former) Post Office building.
One of the courtyards in the Hackescher Markt. The Barras it isn’t!
I think this translates as “Craft Union”, but it’s now galleries.
This pretty facade was above shop fronts.
One of the few remaining squats in the centre of Berlin. I think I prefer where we are staying!