Path of visonairies of the world

The PATH OF VISIONARIES, with emphasis on the values and cultures of the European community, is growing into a global project, the PATH OF THE VISIONARIES OF THE WORLD, a sign of international understanding and the diversity of mutually inspiring cultures. 121 countries have already contributed to the project.

In this context, the Director General of UNESCO, Mrs. Irina Bukowa, also visited the office of the supporting association KUNSTWELT e.V. and the planned location of the PFAD DER VISIONÄRE in the pedestrian zone of Berlin's Friedrichstraße and campaigned for a concrete contribution from UNESCO to the project. Thus, a PLAQUE OF NATIONS is dedicated to UNESCO.

Various locations are being examined for the expansion of the project in Berlin. We present a location proposal here on the website: Friedrichstraße from the historic Südtor (Hallesches Tor) where the PFAD DER VISIONÄRE will be on display from May 22, to the historic North Gate, the Oranienburger Tor. Each street block shows a cultural region of the world designated according to the UN list (see plan drawing below).

Here is something about the history of Berlin's famous Friedrichstraße.

Th history of Berlin s famous Friedrichstraße

After the 30-year war, Elector Friedrich Wilhelm I built the baroque fortress Dorotheenstadt in 1674. Friedrichstraße became the most important connecting street between Dorotheenstadt and the other districts of Berlin. In the course of this, the intersection Unter den Linden/Friedrichstraße became one of the most important intersections and a reflection of the heyday of the Prussian state.

In order to increase tax revenues, the "soldier king" Friedrich Wilhelm I ordered the development of Friedrichstraße to be accelerated. His son "Frederick the Great" ordered the construction of representative street fronts and financed show facades of town houses. The Friedrichstadt was further expanded to North and South.
Northern customs border became the Oranienburger Tor, southern customs border the Hallesche Tor. While the trades settled here, in the middle part of Friedrichstraße it was the royal officials.

In addition, there were three urban highlights: the Karree – the later Pariser Platz, the Oktogon – the later Leipziger Platz and, based on the model of the "Piazza del Poppolo", the rondell at hallesches Tor. In 1815, after the wars of liberation, it was given the name Belle-Alliance-Platz and in 1947 the name Mehringplatz. In 1843, the Peace Column was erected on it by Cantian and C. D. Rauch.

After the extension of friedrichstadt and construction of the roundabout, Friedrichstraße was the most important north-south axis of Berlin and the only main line of the royal residence city, which was bordered by 2 city gates. When King Louis XIV expelled the Huguenots from France in 1685, the Elector offered "a safe and free retreat to all our lands and provincies", giving them money and passports. They inspired trade and industry, integrated themselves into court under Frederick the Great and shaped Prussian virtues for more than a century.

After 1840, as a result of the population explosion, living conditions deteriorated to such an extent that the bourgeoisie rebelled against the arbitrariness of the authorities. Demands for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, amnesty for politically persecuted persons, political equality without regard to assets, status or denomination were voiced in the people's assemblies. However, King Frederick William IV had his subjects shot at on Friedrichstraße and thus ended the referendum of the March Revolution.

In the Wilhelminian period, Friedrichstraße, together with Leipziger Straße and Unter den Linden, became the heart of Berlin. It became the legendary shopping street. Banks and insurance companies came, and the "Zeitungsviertel" was built in the southern part of Friedrichstraße. Around 1900, 36 political newspapers were published there every day.

In 1882, Friedrichstraße station was inaugurated as a magnificent architectural complex. It became the elixir of life on Friedrichstraße, the central hub with amusements, hotels, cafes, night bathing establishments, varieties and concerts, bars, restaurants and cinemas.

With the Wiener Cafe, the coffee house tradition found its way into the Kaisergalerie, Cafe Burger and Cafe Kranzler. Many Tingeltangel restaurants were built, and the beauties of the night could be found on the sidewalks. In the Apollo Theater and the Metropoltheater the revues experienced their heyday until the 20s. The Komische Oper, the Admiralspalast and the Schauspielhaus – later the Friedrichstadtpalast – became the epitome of the light muse.

When the Emperor abdicated at the end of 1918 and Karl Liebknecht proclaimed the "Räterepublik" (the German Soviet Republic), life in Friedrichstraße proceeded in the usual way despite the imposition of the state of siege.

At the end of the 20s, 70% of all Berlin film manufacturing companies settled in Friedrichstraße, among them the German branch of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Produktion. In 1936, cinemas showed films from all over the world at Friedrichstraße 36. Among them, the "Scala" as the second oldest cinema in Berlin. (In 2002/2003, KUNSTWELT e.V. BERLIN invited international artists to deal with the urban space of Friedrichstraße as part of the exhibition "KunstWinter-Berlin" organized by the association).

In the 30s, the Nazi movement began with the expulsion of the Jews. They had settled in Friedrichstraße as doctors, lawyers, civil servants and traders and accounted for 10% of the population. Among them is the wine and delicatessen Kempinski & Co.

The Second World War tore deep aisles into Friedrichstraße. Since 1949, the GDR functionaries celebrated themselves in Friedrichstraße. The Admiralspalast became the political stage of Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel. Friedrichstraße station became a transit station and with the "Tränenpalast" – where East Berliners said goodbye to their visit to the West – the epitome of the division of Berlin and Germany.

In the course of the workers' uprising in the GDR on 17 June 1953, Soviet and American tanks faced each other in a threatening backdrop at the former Allied sector border (Checkpoint Charlie) on Friedrichstraße. Since then, Checkpoint Charlie has become the border crossing between two world systems and, with the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the epitome of the Cold War.

After the Mehringplatz in the western part of the 70s was rebuilt by Hans Scharoun and Werner Düttmann as a residential and business quarter, the eastern part planned a sophisticated prefabricated shopping street in the 80s.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the barely completed buildings were replaced by department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Quartier 206 in the course of the construction boom.

Today, Friedrichstraße has long since returned to the heart of the capital and is one of the most important shopping streets. The southern Friedrichstadt has once again grown into a media and cultural centre.

In the spirit of its eventful history, Friedrichstraße in Berlin receives a cosmopolitan, unifying idea through the PATH OF VISIONARIES and the commitment of the participating states.