- The Nikolaiviertel not only lies in the very heart of Berlin, it is the place where it all began. The first mention of Berlin in documents from 1251 referred to two settlements—Berlin and Cölln—situated opposite each other on the banks of the River Spree. The settlement known as "Berlin" grew up around the market (now Molkenmarkt in the Nikolaiviertel) and the Nikolaikirche, named after Saint Nicholas, patron saint of merchants and fishermen. Destroyed during the War, many of the historic buildings were reconstructed for Berlin's 750th anniversary celebrations in 1987. Many are faithful reconstructions of the original buildings, while others are cheap concrete replicas—a sign that the East German government was slowly running out of cash. The baroque Knoblauchhaus and Ephraimpalais are classic examples of this sort of compromise—partly old and partly new.
- © wcities.com 2013