As an increasing number of immigrants flock to Western Europe in search of better wages and qualities of life, they are bringing a flood of their cultural habits with them. For Berlin, a city long characterized by its thoroughly German appeal, this element of change adds to the city in a fascinating way, in which Berliners and foreigners alike all seem to be embracing.
Perhaps one of the biggest contributions to the Berlin landscape has been the massive wave of Turkish immigrants that started in the 1970s. Many of these Turkish citizens reside in the neighborhood just south of Mitte known as ‘Kreuzberg’. Here, you’ll find the array of Turkish shops and restaurants is a refreshing departure from the typical European vibe of the majority of the city.
You may also notice that in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg, you’ll find many people buzzing around with a hot wrapped sandwich of sorts in their hand. The smell of donor kebabs pervades, as it’s become the number one choice of fast food for Germans on the run, according to recent polls. That means the infamous German sausage has even lost its rank to this spicy roasted lamb and meat wrapped in pita bread and doused in savory spices. With a price at less than 5 euros and the flavor to match, it’s no wonder the donor-eating trend has taken off like wild fire.
Although integration of these immigrant groups into German society has been slow coming, there is no denying the growing presence of Turks and other Eastern Europeans throughout the city of Berlin. The benefit of having large numbers of immigrants has opened up the perspective of many Berliners and provided a direct means of interacting and finding the common elements in their cultures. Eating Spicy meat is certainly one of them.
As Berlin continues to grow in it’s cultural scope and international reputation as a world-class city, more and more people will continue to find their home there. Having just hosted the World Cup in 2006, Berlin attracted fans from every country, enabling for a fluid exchange of ideas and cultures that will continue to define Berlin for years to come.