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Historic districts in Berlin-Mitte as they last existed in 1920. The limits varied over time. (The districts VI to X and XIX to XXI as well as large parts of the districts V, XI, XIII, XIV, XVI and XVII are outside the district of Mitte)

I Alt-Berlin II Alt-Kölln (Spreeinsel) III Friedrichswerder IV Dorotheenstadt V Friedrichstadt XI Luisenstadt XII Neu-Kölln XIII Stralauer Vorstadt XIV Royal Town XV Spandauer Vorstadt XVI Rosenthaler Vorstadt XVII Oranienburger Vorstadt XVIII Friedrich-Wilhelm-Stadt Sources: Contents: Berlin address book, map base: District Office Mitte von Berlin0000

Berlin and Kölln in the early 13th century. Restoration attempt by Karl Friedrich von Klöden . There are missing z. B. in Kölln the Breite Straße and the area of ​​the later Dominican monastery, in which the oldest dendro finds so far were made.
Kölln marked in yellow, 1688

Alt-Kölln is a historic district in present-day Berlin district of Mitte . It is almost identical to the city of Kölln, which together with Berlin formed the twin city of Berlin-Kölln, the founding origin of today's metropolis Berlin. Mentioned for the first time in 1237, Kölln was an independent city from the 12th century to 1307 and from 1442 to 1710 with close ties to neighboring Berlin. In 1710, Kölln and four other cities formed the Prussian residence city of Berlin. The name was from there Alt-Kölln .



Kölln is an island that is surrounded by two arms of the Spree . Geologically, there are elongated valley sand plateaus of ice age origin in the Warsaw-Berlin glacial valley in the southern part of the island , while the north of the island is characterized by swampy subsoil and was not developed until centuries later.

The most important roads are those in the course of the old long-distance trade route: from southwest to northeast the Gertraudenstrasse and the Breite Strasse / Roßstrasse within the island from southeast to northwest each leading over the Mühlendamm.

Alt-Kölln is connected to Alt-Berlin via four Spree bridges - the Mühlendamm , the Rathausbrücke , the Liebknechtbrücke and the Friedrichsbrücke . The Iron Bridge , the Schloßbrücke , the Schleusenbrücke and the Jungfernbrücke lead to the Friedrichwerder district to the west . There are connections to the Neu-Kölln district to the south via the Old and New Gertrauden Bridge , the Grünstraßen and Roßstraße Bridge and the Inselbrücke .


District in the city center of Berlin from 1727

Alt-Kölln was divided into three quarters from around 1727:

2a  Schlossviertel
2b  market district
2c  Neu-Kölln
City districts in Old Berlin and Old Kölln from 1852 to 1884

At the beginning of the 19th century, the city was divided into seven districts, from then on Neu-Kölln was a separate district:

18  Castle District
19  Brothers Street District
20  Schickler district
21  island district
22  Köllnischer Fischmarkt district
23  Rittergassen district
24  Broad Street District

From 1852, the city districts were reduced to five:

09  Castle District
10  district
11  island district
12  Roßstrasse district
13  Petri-Kirch district

From 1884 to 1920 there were only three nameless, numbered districts. After that there was no longer any administrative division of the Alt-Kölln district, the name of which was itself only informal.

For the northern part of Alt-Kölln the name Museum Island became common at the end of the 1870s . For the southern part of Alt-Kölln the name Fischerkietz was used at times (approx. 1930-1960) . The residential area between Gertraudenstrasse and Spree Canal, completed in 1973, was given the name Fischerinsel , which is now often used as a topographical term. The name Fischerinsel was first used in 1954 in the first drafts for a residential area at this point.


Explanation of the name

Koelln, 1893

Kölln emerged from a market town whose first inhabitants may even have come from the Altreich, from Cologne on the Rhine . One possible interpretation is based on the origin of the name kol- (stake), as it is very common in the Slavic settlement area. The first documentary mention, however, is called colonia juxta Berlin (Kölln near Berlin) , which allows the conclusion that the Kölln near Berlin should be distinguished from Cologne on the Rhine. Since no Slavic finds have been made in Kölln on the Spree so far, it was probably a purely German settlement from the start, called colonia and, derived from it, Cölln , in today's spelling Kölln . With the incorporation of the city of Kölln into the Prussian residence city of Berlin, it became a district and was henceforth called Alt-Kölln .

Brief overview of the story

The Petrikirche was the center of the island, the Kölln town hall was in the Kölln fish market. Since 1445, the castle of the Electors of Brandenburg was located in the central part of the Spree island. There was also a Dominican monastery , a Gertraudenhospital, the Mühlendammbrücke with three mills, patrician houses and other properties.

Today nothing remains of the medieval buildings above ground, some Renaissance houses have been preserved, the facade of the castle is being rebuilt. Today's district is characterized by new buildings from GDR times in the southeast, z. B. the residential area Fischerinsel , and some buildings from earlier decades and fallow land.

Established in the 12th century

There are no written records about the founding of Kölln, but archaeological finds have been made that are dated to around 1150. Around the Petrikirche, 3,102 graves with the remains of 4,105 people have been identified, which can be dated to the second half of the 12th century.

The oldest dendrochronological findings can be dated to around 1170. A wooden beam in the basement of a long-distance merchant in the Breite Straße has a dendro date of "around 1170". The oldest evidence on the site of the later Dominican monastery dates to “1198 (Waldkante)”, at Petrikirchplatz to “1212 ± 10”. The oldest houses in the Breite Straße belonged to wealthy long-distance trade merchants and patricians .

Kölln was a long-distance trading center. The first known mayor Marsilius came from the Rhineland . The patronage of the Petrikirche makes a spiritual founder seem possible.

First documented mention in the 13th century

The oldest mention of Kölln is from 1237. The document dates from February 1238, but contains the text of a contract that was concluded in Brandenburg in October 1237, in the presence of Pastor Symeon de Colonia , to settle the Brandenburg tithe dispute . Symeon was named provost of Berlin four years later and provost of Cölln in 1247 , which indicates the greater importance of both places and an existence of at least several decades.

Development in the 13th to the 16th century

The two places were connected by the Mühlendamm . The mill dam dammed the water, which then drove three mills. The transport of goods from the Elbe and Havel arrived here and on the connection between Frankfurt (Oder) and Magdeburg brought in connection with the settlement rights a trade tariffs. The fact that the first provable Brandenburg state parliament took place in Berlin in 1280 is also evidence of the rapidly growing wealth of the twin cities ; a coin in Berlin was also mentioned for the first time this year .

In 1307, both places merged administratively in a magistrate , in which the Berliners were represented by more votes according to their share of the population. In addition to Mühlendamm, the magistrate built the long bridge , today's Rathausbrücke , on which a joint town hall was built in 1309. The common policy of the twin cities led in 1308 to an initial alliance with other cities in the Mark Brandenburg , including Frankfurt (Oder), Brandenburg an der Havel and Salzwedel , to protect their rights vis-à-vis the sovereign and to ward off external dangers.

Kölln and Berlin finally merged into one town in 1432. The joint city administration of Berlin and Kölln was abolished in 1442 by Elector Friedrich II to enforce his own claims to power. In addition, Kölln was forced to give the elector a place to build a castle. The Berlin City Palace emerged from it and served as the residence of the Electors of Brandenburg from around the end of the 15th century .

From the 17th century to 1945

In the Holy Week of 1615, the confessionally based Berlin tumult took place in Kölln , an uproar against the Elector's Calvinist church policy.

From 1658 to 1683 the Elector Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg had Kölln and Berlin equipped with fortifications based on plans by Johann Gregor Memhardt , which were largely built along the old city ​​wall of Berlin . The city gates were only moved to the outside in a few places. Kölln was no longer on the outer border because the new towns of Friedrichswerder in the west and Neu-Kölln in the south were laid out within the new fortress wall on the other side of the Spree Canal . Parts of the fortress, especially the bastions , can still be seen today in the city's street plan, for example on Hausvogteiplatz .

The cities of Berlin, Kölln, Friedrichswerder , Dorotheenstadt and Friedrichstadt were united in 1710 to form the royal capital and residence of Berlin . The fortress walls now increasingly stood in the way of urban development, so that from 1734 they were razed so that Berlin and its suburbs could grow together. The whole city was surrounded by the excise wall, the course of which is still evident today by the names of streets and squares, especially after former city gates.

In 1920, Alt-Kölln was incorporated into the newly formed administrative district of Berlin-Mitte. At the end of the Second World War , over 30 percent of the buildings were destroyed, 10 percent remained undamaged, while the rest were considered rebuildable.


In the 1950s, some important buildings were rebuilt or repaired, such as the Ribbeck House in Breiten Straße or the Raabediele in Sperlingsgasse .

Between 1964 and 1967, Friedrichsgracht , Sperlingsgasse , Scharrenstrasse and Brüderstrasse were rebuilt with prefabricated apartment houses , according to plans by Heinz Graffunder's office , with little consideration for the historic site. The Ministry of Construction on the corner of Breiten Strasse and Scharrenstrasse followed in 1967–1968.

In the southern part of Alt-Kölln, between Gertraudenstraße and Spree Canal, a new residential area called Fischerinsel was planned from the 1950s onwards . In preparation for the new building, the last houses that had survived the war were demolished. In the last years of his life, the Berlin painter Otto Nagel documented his farewell to the Fischerkietz in a pastel series after he had unsuccessfully called in 1955 to “protect and protect the Fischerkietz from further destruction”.

Between 1969 and 1973, the high-rise residential area Fischerinsel was built with a complex of buildings for service businesses, a department store and a multi-purpose restaurant called Ahornblatt.

Since 1990

The demolition of the maple leaf in 2000 in favor of the construction of a row of buildings in conventional construction, the Fischerinsel Passage , was extremely controversial, since with it an outstanding example of modern GDR architecture disappeared. The new development interprets the historical city plan in accordance with the downtown plan, but does not adhere to an earlier building line.

The inner city plan also provides for development between the former Fischerstraße and the former Roßstraße, today Fischerinsel. The housing association Berlin-Mitte (WBM) is planning an "only" eight-story residential building there, after high-rise plans met with fierce resistance and were rejected.

In preparation, extensive archaeological excavations took place in 2015/2016 on behalf of the Berlin Monument Protection Office . Well-preserved, longer stone walls and a latrine from the 14th century were found .

Population development

In the Middle Ages, Kölln had around 1,400 inhabitants. As a Berlin district, Kölln encompassed the entire Spree island and reached its highest population in 1871 with 16,554 inhabitants. In 1910 the population was 6,895.



The Museum Island is part of the historic Alt-Kölln district.

With the Humboldt Forum , Alt-Kölln receives an outstanding cultural institution.


Since 1920, the Berlin City Library , today part of the Central and State Library Berlin Foundation , has been located at Breiten Strasse 30–36. It is a supraregional communication and educational location.

Other cultural institutions

The Kreativhaus , Fischerinsel 3 is a cultural and meeting place with social and cultural offers for children, youth, adults and senior citizens.

Historic buildings

There are 28 individual monuments in old Berlin and beyond that there are also garden monuments, ground monuments, monument ensembles and overall facilities.

There is an overview of important, no longer existing buildings on the pages of the individual quarters of Alt-Kölln, the Schloßviertel and Marktviertel .

Sons and daughters from Alt-Kölln

See also


(Sorted chronologically)
  • Ernst Fidicin : The founding of Berlin. Berlin 1840 (strictly accurate to the source, criticizes Klöden as being too speculative).
  • Wolfgang H. Fritze : founding city Berlin. The beginnings of Berlin-Kölln as a research problem, edited, edited and supplemented by an addendum by Winfried Schich . Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, Potsdam 2000, ISBN 3-932981-33-2 .
  • Hansjürgen Vahldiek: How did the Cölln Spree Island come about? In: Kurt Winkler (ed.): Yearbook City Museum Berlin Foundation . Dedicated to Reiner Güntzer (=  City Museum Foundation Yearbook . Year 2003). tape IX . Henschel Verlag, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-89487-492-9 , pp. 81-96 .
  • Association for the history of Berlin (ed.): Project Alt-Cölln. In: Communications of the Association for the History of Berlin , 105th year, issue 2, Berlin 2009 ( PDF ).

Web links

Commons : Cölln  - collection of images, videos and audio files
  • Coelln coins in the interactive catalog of the Münzkabinett of the State Museums in Berlin

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Herbert Schwenke: Lexicon of Berlin Urban Development , p. 56.
  2. CEGeppert: Chronicle of Berlin from the development of the city to the present day , Berlin 1840
  3. Berlin address book 1852
  4. ^ Berlin address book 1866
  5. Berlin address book 1920
  6. | Designed by Fischerinsel in 1954
  7. ^ Wolfgang Ribbe: Geschichte Berlins, Volume 1, Berlin 1988, p. 146
  8. Helmut Engel, Jörg Haspel, Wolfgang Ribbe (eds.): Geschichtswerkatt Spree-Insel , Berlin 1998, p. 74
  9. ^ Excavations between 2007 and 2010 by the Stadtmuseum Berlin. The average life expectancy of women was 30–40 years, that of men 40–50 years. The child mortality rate was 30%. The men were on average 1.70 m tall, the women 1.60 m. The tallest man was 1.90 m tall, the smallest 1.54 m tall. For women, the extreme dimensions were 1.84 and 1.44 m. 19% of the skeletons showed signs of infection. Cf. Claudia Maria Melisch: Giant opportunity - extensive series of skeletons from large cemeteries . In: Archeology in Germany 2/2017, p. 32 f.
  10. a b B. Stöver: History of Berlin . Verlag CH Beck, 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-60067-8 .
  11. a b City Foundation and Early Urban Development . Luisenstadt educational association
  12. The medieval trading town .
  13. Roland Bauer et al. : Berlin - Illustrated Chronicle until 1870 . Dietz, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-320-00831-5 , pp. 28 f .
  14. ^ The electoral residence city .
  15. Information on the building damage on a damage map from the Senate (select “Building damage 1945” under “Historical maps”), on the inventory of monuments around 1955 from Hans Müther: Berlins Bautradition. Small introduction . Das Neue Berlin, Berlin 1956, pp. 85-108
  16. For the pastel series see Otto Nagel: On the exhibitions (February and April 1966). Oil paintings and drawings from four and a half decades and Berlin paintings 1933-1965 in the Berlin-Charlottenburg gallery. Shop gallery, Berlin-Charlottenburg, undated (probably 1966)
  17. Otto Nagel: Berliner Bilder , Henschel, Berlin 1955, p. 9
  18. ^ Ulrich Paul: Construction project in Berlin-Mitte. Angry protests against the planned high-rise building on Fischerinsel. In: Berliner Zeitung , September 28, 2015, accessed on September 4, 2017.
  19. ↑ Tilted skyscraper? WBM signals willingness to compromise In: Berliner Woche , August 18, 2017. The construction plans were created after a Europe-wide architecture competition. The eight-storey block development is based on the third-placed design by Blauraum Architekten.
  20. Uwe Aulich: Where wine barrels were once stored . In: Berliner Zeitung , December 27, 2016, p. 9.
  21. ^ Friedrich Leyden: Development of the population in the historical districts of old Berlin. In: Greater Berlin. Geography of the cosmopolitan city. Hirt, Breslau 1933, p. 206.

Coordinates: 52 ° 31 '  N , 13 ° 24'  E