A Photographic Journey Through Rixdorf in Neukölln
Oh, Rixdorf, you beauty! A place so hipster, even the pigeons wear plaid shirts and sport well-groomed beards. But, let’s not pigeon-hole (pun intended) this historic and vibrant part of Neukölln, Berlin. This is a place where the old and new, the traditional and modern, the common and unique, dance together in a mesmerizing waltz of culture, history, art, and innovation. So, buckle up, dear reader, as we embark on a rollercoaster ride through Rixdorf.
Rixdorf, in Neukölln, is a place that’s been around the block a few times. Literally! It has seen the rise and fall of empires, the changing face of Berlin, and has managed to keep its charm intact. And that’s no small feat! It’s like the Keith Richards of neighborhoods – it’s seen it all, done it all, and still rocks!
Our journey begins at Richardplatz, the heart and soul of Rixdorf. This square, with its cobblestone streets and quaint houses, is like stepping into a time machine. You half expect a horse-drawn carriage to pass by. But then you see a man walking his dog, both sporting matching neon Mohawks, and you’re instantly reminded you’re in Berlin. The juxtaposition is both jarring and amusing. I mean, where else can you see a punk rocker picking up dog poop under the shadow of a 600-year-old blacksmith’s shop?
Speaking of which, the Alte Schmiede (Old Smithy) is a must-see. This building, dating back to 1624, is the oldest in Neukölln. Now, that’s old. How old, you ask? Well, when this building was constructed, the Mayflower was still a blueprint, Shakespeare had just finished writing “The Tempest,” and Galileo was on trial for saying the earth revolved around the sun. Yes, THAT old!
The Old Smithy is now a museum, showcasing the tools and techniques of the trade. And yes, the anvil is still there. It’s the only place in Berlin where you can say “I like to forge iron” and not be met with strange looks. Just don’t try to recreate that scene from “Ghost” with the pottery wheel. It’s a smithy, not a pottery class, people!
Moving on, we come across the Comenius-Garten, a hidden gem that doubles as an oasis of tranquility amidst the urban hustle. Named after the philosopher and educator Jan Amos Comenius, this garden is a visual representation of his teachings. It’s like the Garden of Eden, but with fewer naked people and more philosophical musings. The garden is divided into various sections, each symbolizing a different stage of human life. It’s the perfect place to contemplate the meaning of life, ponder your existence, or just enjoy a sandwich.
From there, we make a pit stop at the local tavern, the famous Becherei. This isn’t your average watering hole. Oh no! This tavern is a testament to Rixdorf’s Bohemian roots, serving traditional Czech beer in ceramic mugs. It’s as authentic as it gets. The atmosphere is so authentic; you can almost hear the sound of polka music in the background. And their goulash, oh, their goulash! It’s a culinary masterpiece that gives you a taste of Bohemia, one spoonful at a time.
Next, we make our way to the Dorfkirche Rixdorf. This village church, with its old-world charm, is like a postcard from the past. The church, with its red-brick façade and green copper spire, is a sight to behold. The church’s bell, affectionately known as “Dicke Marie” (Fat Mary), has been ringing out over Rixdorf for over 300 years. That’s a lot of ding-dongs!
As the sun sets, we find ourselves at the Richardplatz Christmas market. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill Christmas market. It’s a traditional Bohemian Christmas market, complete with handmade crafts, mulled wine, and a live nativity scene. It’s like stepping into a Christmas card. And the best part? No plastic Santas in sight!
Our journey ends at the Rixdorfer Strohballenrollen, an annual hay-bale rolling competition. Yes, you read that right. Hay. Bale. Rolling. This tradition, dating back to 1850, involves teams competing to see who can roll a hay bale the fastest. It’s like the Olympics, but with more straw and fewer steroids.
Rixdorf, with its quirky charm and unique blend of the old and new, is a testament to Berlin’s spirit. It’s a place that’s constantly evolving, yet deeply rooted in its history. It’s where you can sip a Pilsner in a 400-year-old tavern, watch a hay-bale rolling competition, and still be home in time for dinner. It’s not just a place; it’s a state of mind.
So, next time you find yourself in Berlin, take a detour and explore the wonders of Rixdorf. Trust me; it’s worth every cobblestone. And remember, in Rixdorf, you don’t need a map. You just need an open mind, a sense of adventure, and a sturdy pair of walking shoes. Happy exploring, folks!
Q: What exactly is Rixdorf in Neukölln?
A: Rixdorf is a charming and picturesque neighborhood nestled within the borough of Neukölln in the vibrant city of Berlin. Its history dates back to the 14th century when it was a Bohemian village outside Berlin. Today, Rixdorf maintains its unique charm with cobblestone streets, quaint shops, and traditional buildings. It’s an artistic enclave, harboring a rich cultural mix of people and a dynamic array of cafes, bars, and galleries. It’s like a peaceful oasis in the midst of the bustling city of Berlin. The district is also renowned for its Christmas Market, the “Alt-Rixdorfer Weihnachtsmarkt,” which is one of the most traditional in Berlin.
Q: What are the key highlights to photograph in Rixdorf?
A: When it comes to photography in Rixdorf, the options are endless. One of the most iconic landmarks is the Richardplatz, the historical center of Rixdorf, with its charming old-world architecture and horse-drawn carriage rides. The 15th century Bethlehem Church is another must-photograph, with its gothic architecture and beautiful stained glass windows. The Comenius Garden, a hidden gem in Rixdorf, is a photographer’s dream with its lush greenery, beautiful flowers, and winding pathways. The Bohemian village ambiance is also evident in the traditional Bohemian houses on Kirchgasse, which are perfect for capturing the essence of the neighborhood.
Q: How can one best capture the essence of Rixdorf?
A: To truly capture the heart and soul of Rixdorf, one has to delve beyond the surface. Photograph the locals as they go about their daily lives, the children playing in the narrow streets, the old men playing chess in the park, the vibrant street art that adorns the walls, and the eclectic mix of old and new architecture. Visit during different times of the day to capture the changing light and mood. A sunrise shot of Richardplatz can be magical, while the nightlife in the local bars and cafes offers a completely different perspective.
Q: Any tips for taking photos in Rixdorf?
A: Definitely! Firstly, don’t rush. Rixdorf is a place to explore slowly, with surprises around every corner. Take time to chat with the locals – they might guide you to hidden spots that aren’t on the tourist map. Secondly, play with angles and perspectives. Try shooting from low down or finding a high vantage point for a unique view. Lastly, be respectful. This is a living, breathing neighborhood, not just a tourist destination. Always ask permission if you want to photograph people or private property.
Q: Can you tell me a joke related to photography?
A: Of course, I can! Here goes: Why can’t you trust a photographer? Because they can always make things look better than they seem! Just remember, in photography and in Rixdorf, it’s all about the right perspective!