Welcome to a guide to one of the most interesting attractions in Berlin, Germany – the polygon in Lichtenberg! This hidden gem offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the rich history and architecture of the city. Let’s dive into the details and discover what makes this polygon so special.
The History of the Polygon
The polygon in Lichtenberg, also known as the Stasi-Bau, is a monumental building complex that was constructed during the Cold War era. It served as the headquarters of the Ministry for State Security (Stasi), the secret police of East Germany. The polygon was completed in 1969 and remained in operation until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Designed by architect Peter Erler, the polygon was a highly secretive and secured facility. It housed various departments and units responsible for surveillance, espionage, and political repression. The building’s impressive size and imposing architecture reflect the authority and power of the Stasi within East Germany.
Architecture and Design
The polygon’s architecture is a prime example of brutalist design, characterized by its raw concrete façade and imposing presence. The complex spreads across 52,000 square meters and consists of several interconnected buildings, creating a maze-like structure that was purposefully designed to discourage any unauthorized access.
Inside the polygon, you’ll find a series of multi-story interconnected courtyards, concrete staircases, and vast office spaces. The labyrinthine layout of the building reflects the complex and secretive nature of the Stasi’s operations. Exploring the polygon is like stepping into a time capsule that preserves the atmosphere of the Cold War era.
Points of Interest
1. Inner Courtyards: The polygon features several inner courtyards which served as outdoor spaces for employees. These courtyards are surrounded by the concrete walls of the complex, creating a sense of isolation and secrecy.
2. Observation Deck: At the top of the polygon, there is an observation deck that offers a panoramic view of Berlin. It provides visitors with a unique vantage point to see the city from the perspective of the Stasi officers who once stood watch over East Berlin.
3. Museum and Exhibitions: A section of the polygon has been transformed into a museum dedicated to the history of the Stasi and the impact it had on East Germany. The museum showcases artifacts, documents, and interactive exhibits that shed light on the inner workings of the secret police.
Visiting the Polygon
To visit the polygon in Lichtenberg, guided tours are available that provide insight into the building’s history and significance. These tours offer visitors a chance to explore the various sections of the complex, including the museum, observation deck, and several preserved offices.
It is important to note that access to certain areas of the polygon may be restricted due to ongoing preservation efforts. Additionally, photography restrictions may apply in certain parts of the building.
Tips for a Successful Visit
1. Plan Ahead: Due to its popularity, it is advisable to book your tour in advance to secure a spot. Visit the official website or contact the visitor center for more information on availability and tour schedules.
2. Wear Comfortable Shoes: Exploring the polygon involves walking through its extensive corridors and staircases. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes to fully enjoy the experience.
3. Take Your Time: The polygon is a vast complex with many hidden corners and details waiting to be discovered. Take your time to explore each area and immerse yourself in the history that surrounds you.
The polygon in Lichtenberg offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and explore the dark history of East Germany. Whether you are interested in architecture, history, or simply curious about Cold War-era secrets, this complex is a must-visit destination in Berlin.
So plan your visit, book a guided tour, and get ready to delve into the fascinating world of the polygon in Lichtenberg. It’s an experience you won’t forget!
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