Berlin has already celebrated its birthday twice now, in 1937 and 1987 – many Berliners still have personal memories of the anniversary celebrations during Berlin’s division. 775 Years of Berlin: It may not be a round number, but this is still a special birthday. For the first time, the whole city can look back at its history, free from constraining ideologies. The Berlin of 2012 is a re-united, international and culturally diverse European metropolis. And that is what is going to be celebrated!
The first documented mention of Berlin was in 1237. Even then, Berlin was working its magic on merchants, craftsman, adventurers, job seekers and refugees, eventually drawing them all into its sphere. Reason enough to look back at Berlin's history of migration in the middle of its anniversary year and at a city whose diversity and vitality over the centuries has been based on the inspiration provided by immigrants and cultural exchanges. Kulturprojekte Berlin developed an overall concept to express the city's unique history and colourful diversity. Key events included two large open-air-projects as well as a fire and theatre spectacle during the closing ceremony of the "Anniversary Celebration".
TRACES OF THE MIDDLE AGES
Although destroyes during the war and then completely rebuilt, traces of its medieval core can still be found throughout the modern metropolis: the originally preserved western tower of the 800-year old St. Nicholas Church, the ruins of the Franciscan abbey church, including abundant and recently excavated evidence of medieval trading activities. The open-air exhibition "Traces of the Middle Ages", with its eight exhibition towers, took visitors to the historical centre on an archaeological journey back in time by employing extraordinary methods to turn Medieval Berlin into en ectual place. Accompanied by numerous guided tours, presentations, and an audio-visual programme, the exhibition really struck a nerve with visitors, regardless of age or prior knowledge, by allowing the general public to experience the history of Berlin.
CITY OF DIVERSITY
The huge Berlin City map in ratio 1:775 on Schlossplatz was an absolute must-see for visitors (approx. 2500 visitors daily). For the first time, migration history was presented here as the city's history, with the retelling of authentic personal stories and countless facts highlighting an impressive 800 years of immigration to Berlin. The tremendous influence of immigrants on Berlin could be seen during a playful stroll over the map. Shameful periods of exclusions, persecutions, deportations and expulsions were also documented. Hundreds of visitors made use of the opportunity to add their own stories, which, in turn, continued to keep other visitors spellbound.&nb
28th OCTOBER 1237 - ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
As the anniversary year drew to a close, the Schlossplatz was transformed into a amazing sea of flickering lights by the world-famous French fire poets of the Companie Carabosse, Flaming sculptures and countless blazing clay pots lit up the night sky as some 100,000 visitors strolled around the historic Schlossplatz. At the same time, the street theatre group Titanick was taking visitors to a world of magic and wonder between the Neptune Fountain and TV tower. The anniversary year ended on 28 October with an official ceremony held at Berlin's oldest parish church, the 800-year old St. Nicholas Church, and a celebration at the Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall).