Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Friday, 26 October 2012

Berlin's Festival of Light

Britta Huegel

Dear YOU,
you remember that, coming home from our holidays, I complained about the missing roller blinds in front of the window - and NO, they are still not there (we do have curtains, of course - I am not like the Dutch Puritans - even of today! - who believe that their life is so sinless that it should not be open to God alone but to everybody else marching along their (curtainless) windows, house-owners murmuring defiantly "I have nothing to hide."
I have - but that's what curtains are doing. And these days - to be precise: the last 12 nights - I had every reason to enjoy what I see in all its splendour: for this time Berlin has again its  Festival of Light. The blue rays I see every night from my balcony remind me of Metropolis. The Dome is covered with milles fleurs. A very coulourful Brandenburger Tor, and, and, and...
But do you know what I like most? The 'Eiermannsche Turm', beside the ruin of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, that was destroyed in World War II , melted down by bombs to only 68m height instead of 113m. When the architect Egon Eiermann 1957 made a proposal for a new church - without the ruin! - Berlin's citizens protested vehemently - with good results: the ruin remained, and West of it Eiermann placed the octagonal church and Foyer, East the hexagonal belltower - both with the characteristic honeycomb facade with coloured glass bricks, each a unique specimen made in Chartres. They inaugurated the church on 17.12.1961 (4 month after the building of the Berlin Wall).
Ha, and a good housewife might shudder: this year they cleaned those beautiful windows for the very first time!!! It was worth it:

Britta Huegel

And, very special: you can see this 'Light Festival' every evening in the year.
We only have to cross a few streets!

With sparkling  regards
Yours                                  Britta


17 comments:

  1. Hello Britta:
    How wonderful all of this sounds. We should certainly dispense with curtains at the windows if it were not that we have so much to hide!!!

    Eiermann's new church, built alongside the ruins of the old, is not dissimilar in concept to that of the new Coventry Cathedral constructed around the same time in the post war years.

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    1. Dear Jane and Lance,
      I looked Coventry's pictures up (can you imagine that I never saw it in real life? But I will) - and see as you said the same interesting idea to keep a memorial against war with a beautiful modern design.

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  2. How beautiful! I had not heard of this festival of light, it does sound wonderful. I admit to liking it when people do not have blinda and when out walking in the evenings I can have a peek inside their homes and see how they chose to decorate their lives. x

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    1. Dear Minerva,
      it is so cosy to see the light in windows passing by. In Hamburg you swooshed by with the underground U3 (in that part of course above a bridge) and saw little films. (Very short scenes).

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  3. My curtains remain closed at night during winter, it keeps the heat in. Your posts are always enlightening, Britta.

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  4. Oh, Britta. First, you had me laughing out loud over my coffee and hot cereal with your digs at the Dutch Puritans (nicely done.) But then, I found myself sobering at the wonder of how the ruins have evolved into a sparkling display -- really impressed by the decision after the outcry not to fully restore. I'm so glad you included the pictures. I wouldn't have expected so much blue and I am just oddly glad for it. It strikes the right note inside me. I really, really wish I was there.

    Love across the miles,
    me.

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    1. Dear Suze,
      I would enjoy to 'swim' with you in this deep, soul-satisfying blue too! At the moment they are 'restoring' the ruin - so one only sees a daft wrapping in form of s skyscraper - very annoying. One scene on the blue glass was created by Marc Chagall.

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  5. Oh those Dutch puritans must have interesting lives!
    I love seeing the lights of Melbourne from my kitchen window in winter. In summer they are mostly blocked when the deciduous trees regain their leaves.
    The lights of Berlin are stunning, something I would love to see x

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    1. Dear Penny,
      interesting because one had to become very inventing? :-)
      To look at a big town like Melbourne from above is oh so lovely! If you ever come to Berlin it is worth to have a look at that church (well, and the many wonderful shops on the Ku-Damm around)

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  6. Out here we only see the light from the moon and stars - unless an animal goes by and trips the motion-sensed light. I enjoy visiting the city and seeing the endless light show, but I am always happy to come home to where nights are truly dark.

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    1. Dear Pondside,
      to be able to see the sparkling stars at night is so wonderful and making one humble. In Hamburg we never could see the sky at night - to much light - but as I remarked to Sapphire: though we live in the very middle of Berlin I can often see the stars from our balcony!

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  7. That's remarkable! Reminds me of a post by wanderer down-under, about a festival of lights there that was quite remarkable. You can see it here, if of interest: http://iamaliminalbeing.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/germans-project.html

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    1. Dear Sue,
      thank you for that link! I love light design (in Hildesheim you can study that), and in Hamburg a designer dipped whole buildings into blue light (for a while).

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  8. Love the sparkling city lights, but I guess I'm a country mouse at heart. I adore seeing the stars twinkling in the night sky. Still, it's nice to see how the city mice enjoy life. Like you, though, I prefer not to see their private lives on display through their naked windows.

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    1. Dear Walk2write,
      the decision what one wants to be, a country or a city mouse, is very difficult, isn't it? To breathe in all the beauties of nature versus the hustle of a city. I love both. Always a compromise. But nowadays remediable through short trips.

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  9. How beautiful. Whole buildings becoming beaming works of art! Splendor, indeed. How lucky for you to be in the city. :)

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  10. Dear Jayne,
    I love that idea too - so splendid (and making one look at things in a different light :-)

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