Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Originally a cattle market, it was named in honour of a visit of the Russian Tsar Alexander I to Berlin on 25 October 1805. It gained a prominent role in the late 19th century with the construction of the station of the same name and a nearby public market, becoming a major commercial centre. Its heyday was in the 1920s, when together with Potsdamer Platz it was at the heart of Berlin's nightlife, inspiring the 1929 novel Berlin Alexanderplatz.
The Alexanderplatz has been subject to redevelopment several times in its history, most recently during the 1960s, when it was enlarged as part of the German Democratic Republic's redevelopment of the city centre. It is surrounded by several notable structures including the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), the second tallest structure in Europe, the Forum Hotel Berlin and the World Time Clock, a continually rotating installation that shows the time throughout the globe.
Following German reunification the Alexanderplatz has undergone a gradual process of change with many of the surrounding buildings being renovated. Despite the construction of a tram line and the addition of some greenery it has retained its socialist character, including the much-graffitied Fountain of Friendship between Peoples (Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft). In 1993 plans for a major redevelopment including the construction of several skyscrapers were published, but due to a lack of demand it is unlikely these will be constructed. However, beginning with the reconstruction of the department store Kaufhof in 2004, some buildings will be redesigned and new structures build on the square's south-eastern side.
Many historic buildings are located in the area around Alexanderplatz. The traditional seat of city government, the Rotes Rathaus, or Red City Hall, is located nearby, as is the East German parliament building, the Palast der Republik.
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