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A Small Berlin Street with a Big Name

Wilmersdorf’s Rüdesheimer Strasse selected as one of Europe's 12 most beautiful streets.

May 04th, 2015
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Alice White – When Berlin’s European reporters for "The New York Times" were asked to pick their personal favourite and significant street in the city, Rüdesheimer Strasse was a definite. Rüdesheimer Strasse is not located in a particularly hip neighbourhood. It is rather part of the affluent residential district of Wilmersdorf. Around the area, there are a number of attractive streets, squares and buildings that were left untouched by the bombing raids which destroyed most of Berlin during World War II, said to be the most appealing asset of Rüdesheimer Strasse.

Rüdesheimer Strasse, tucked away in one of Wilmersdorf’s quieter corners has now become an internationally recognized favorite. This tidy shopping street leads directly to Rüdesheimer Platz, which dates from the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II, when the German capital was undergoing a rapid westward expansion into farms and woodlands.

Then-urban developer, Georg Haberland named the square and area after towns in Germany’s wine-producing Rheingau region. To build it, he hired the German architect Paul Jatzow, known for his English country-style aesthetic. Many of these buildings from the beginning of the 20th century are still preserved. Tidy rows of three- and four-story earth-toned apartment buildings with manicured front lawns, carved stone porticoes, red-tile roofs, gables and mock half-timbered facades can still be admired by passers-by.

Several are located around Rüdesheimer Platz, the square where the Siegfried fountain flows, peacefully surrounded by a flower garden and ancient trees. The 1911 fountain and a triumvirate of statues that hark back to German myth overlook the park: Siegfried, the dragon-slaying hero of the epic poem “The Nibelungenlied”; and the allegorical figures Father Rhine and Mother Mosel, symbols of the main rivers that flow through the country’s southern wine-producing region.

For the best part of the year, Rüdesheimer Platz is a quiet urban residential quarter, however between May and September the annual Rheingau Wine Festival moves in and creates a glorious atmosphere. Wine producers from across southern Germany and Austria sell their Rieslings and Spätburgunders from a wooden hut in the square from the afternoon until late evening. On some weekends there is live music and an outdoor market.

Everyone can bring his own picnic while tasting wines from the Rheingau, a wine-producing region in south Germany. That's also where the small town of Rüdesheim is located.

The festival is an attraction for many Berliners in the western part of the city. And now, thanks to "The New York Times," tourists from all over the world will be tempted to drop by. 

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