Essential Architecture-  Berlin

Karl-Marx Allee formerly Stalin Allee


Hartmann, Henselmann, Hopp, Leucht, Paulick and Souradny


Berlin Friedrichshain and Mitte








Outdoor space roadway/housing
  Tower at Frankfurter Tor
The Karl-Marx-Allee is a monumental socialist boulevard built by the young GDR between 1952 and 1960 in Berlin Friedrichshain and Mitte. Today the boulevard is named after the political philosopher and social theorist Karl Marx.

The boulevard was named Stalinallee between 1949 and 1961 (previously Große Frankfurter Straße), and was a flagship building project of East Germany's reconstruction programme after World War II. It was designed by the architects Hartmann, Henselmann, Hopp, Leucht, Paulick and Souradny to contain spacious and luxurious apartments for plain workers, as well as shops, restaurants, cafés, a tourist hotel and an enormous cinema (the International).

The avenue, which is 89m wide and nearly 2km long, is lined with monumental eight-storey buildings designed in the so-called wedding-cake style, the socialist classicism of the Soviet Union. The buildings differ in the revetments of the facades which contain often equally, traditional Berlin motifs by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Most of the buildings are covered by architectural ceramics. Landmarks of the Karl-Marx-Allee are the two domed towers on Frankfurter Tor.

On June 17, 1953 the Stalinallee became the focus of a worker uprising which endangered the young state's existence. Builders and construction workers demonstrated against the communist government, leading to a national uprising. The rebellion was quashed with Soviet tanks and troops, resulting in the loss of at least 125 lives.

Later the street was used for East Germany's annual May Day parade, featuring thousands of goose-stepping soldiers along with tanks and other military vehicles to showcase the power and the glory of the communist government.

Since German reunification most of the buildings, including the two towers, have been restored.