Karl-Marx-Allee is a spectacular, well appointed, spacious boulevard. It was created in its present form in the 1950s by the then communist East German government (GDR). It was named after the famous Russian communist philosopher Karl Marx in 1961 before which it had been called Stalinallee. The avenue was heralded as a showpiece of the Socialist era.
It is nearly two kilometers long and approximately 90 meters wide. Placed at each end of the avenue at Frankfurter Tor and Strausberger Platz are double tower monuments. At the eastern end, the Frankfurter Tor dual monuments have striking domes. These buildings form the entrance to Berlin's city center. At the western end, the towers were built in what is termed a 'wedding cake' style. The outer walls are covered in white ceramic tiles.
The avenue has multiple uses. It contains establishments such as shops, cafes, restaurant and hotels. These buildings are generally eight to nine stories high with upmarket living apartments built on the top of the businesses. The apartments were originally meant to house the workers. Most of the buildings have square angular exteriors and have been constructed in the popular, socialist neo-classical style often used by the GDR in the early post war years.
Many of the buildings have undergone extensive renovations since unification. The massive International Theatre still stands and operates as a cinema. It is a beautiful, elegant building with rich interior design features including crystal chandeliers and opulent seating.
Due to its dimensions and street appeal, the avenue was used during the communist era to showcase the military might of the country at the May Day parades. The street was certainly wide enough to accommodate the large military machines.
Karl-Mar-Allee gives the visitor an opportunity to see some of the GDR's best architectural works.
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