Whey market

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Whey market
Coat of arms of Berlin.svg
Place in Berlin
Whey market
Molkenmarkt with the old town house
on the left in the background
Basic data
place Berlin
District center
Created 13th Century
Confluent streets
Spandauer Strasse ,
Stralauer Strasse ,
Mühlendamm ,
User groups Road traffic
Technical specifications
Square area 9200 m² (rounded)

The Molkenmarkt (former name: Alter Markt ) is the oldest square in Berlin . It is located in the district of Mitte , east of the Nikolaiviertel not far from the Spree , and has only been a heavily frequented traffic junction since the 1960s.

The square is dominated by the old town house with its high tower and its round dome and cut in an east-west direction by the busy Grunerstraße . The peripheral buildings destroyed in the Second World War and the area leveled in post-war history no longer allow it to be experienced as a town square. Originally it was part of the formerly densely built-up old town center of Berlin .

The prehistory of the place is explored through archaeological excavations

Senate resolution on the redesign

On April 19, 2016, the Berlin Senate approved the development plan for the reconstruction of the whey market.

The narrowing and swiveling of Grunerstraße has also started in parallel and should be completed in 2022. The future construction area that will then become free should then be thoroughly examined again for around two years. Overall, the deadlines seem unrealistic, because residential development is also set to begin in 2022. Another detailed schedule of all those involved - the transport, building and cultural administration of the Senate, the housing associations and the private owners concerned - should take place to defuse the conflicts.

From around 2022, according to the Senate resolutions, the historical structure of the Molkenmarktviertel is to be restored.

Excavation work from 2019

Initially, archaeologists carried out excavations on the northern strip of the Mühlendamm from January 14 to July 2019 . The results led to the excavation area being expanded to 25,000 m², which is more than twice the size of the previously designated whey market.

The Senate attaches particular importance to this area of ​​the beginnings of Berlin, because unlike normal underground investigations, which are mostly carried out by external specialist companies, two project teams have been set up for the work directly in the Berlin State Monument Office and an excavation manager from this office, the historian Michael Malliaris , was used. A total of almost 30 people in several shifts are busy sifting through and documenting the underground, including four interns from the Jugendbauhütte Berlin / Brandenburg , 16 temporary employees and two refugees who were assigned to an internship by the Schlesische 27 association . The city administration is financing the excavations in 2020/2021 with a total of 6.7 million euros .

The first surprising results were known as early as February 2020: a slightly charred piece of wood, which was found in a 50 cm thick red-black layer below today's street level, could be determined to the year of fall 1469 with the help of dendrochronology . Most likely, it was already used as building material for a half-timbered house at the site. The red remnants of the material are bricked clay, the black remains are crumbled timber. And under the foundation of the half-timbered house, the clear outlines of a simple wooden house emerged that was about six meters long and 2.50 meters wide. In this layer there were ceramic shards that refer to the 13th century , i.e. directly to the emergence of the first settlement. About 2.50 meters below, the diggers found only ice-age sand, in which, however, small black dots showed, which, according to the findings of archaeologists, are based on human excavation activity.

The excavation field also includes areas between the Rotes Rathaus and Grunerstrasse, the alignment of which is to be changed later. This is exactly where those involved in the excavation project found evidence from the early industrial history of Berlin: the city had one of three electric power plants built right next to the town hall when electricity was to be used on a large scale. For this, all previous buildings had to be demolished around 1888. - However, the system only supplied direct current and therefore had to be shut down in 1919 and then removed in the 1930s. White-tiled walls, floor tiles, rusted iron frames and support parts are documented as finds. In order to dig even deeper, parts of the walls are carefully demolished. The main search is for traces of earlier Jewish life in Berlin, to which the Große Jüdenhof refers.

All sites and finds should be used as far as possible to set up archaeological windows . Candidates for this, according to the excavation manager, are the Palais Blankenfelde on Spandauer Straße, the power station, the Zornsche Apotheke (in which 14-year-old Johann Friedrich Böttger tried to make gold), the royal pawnshop and the very first French church ( Temple de Berlin ) (stand from mid-February 2020).

The State Monuments Office organizes regular guided tours for those interested, who can come every Friday at 2 p.m. on Jüdenstrasse by the old town hall . The tours are free, but may be canceled due to the weather.

Location and development

The following streets start or touch the Molkenmarkt:


Whey market around 1780

Even before Berlin (1244) and Cölln (1237) were mentioned for the first time, this was the place where people haggled and haggled. The market was conveniently located at the northern end of Mühlendamm, the first fortified Spree crossing. The newly opened New Market at St. Mary's Church replaced it at the end of the 13th century from the first place of the most populated main market. Elector Friedrich III. closed the trading market after a short time and then used it for military parades . In the 18th century, several aristocratic palaces were built around the square, of which only the Schwerin palace has survived . In the 1930s, many surrounding buildings had to be demolished because of the widening of the Mühlendamm and the widening of the lock.

After the end of the Second World War , the East Berlin city ​​administration decided to redesign the city ​​center to make it suitable for cars and, after the construction of the Mühlendamm Bridge and the construction of residential buildings in Leipziger Strasse, had the Grunerstrasse above it expanded to eight lanes, which provided a fast east-west connection between Alexanderplatz and Potsdamer Platz made possible. This means that around 80 percent of the previous square area has become a pure traffic area, through which around 72,000 vehicles make their way every day.

The Ephraim-Palais was rebuilt in 1985 not far from the old location in the Nikolaiviertel, as was the Gasthaus Zur Rippe . A place known throughout Berlin was the nearby Große Jüdenhof .


Whey Market, 1902
Demolition of the northern perimeter development, 1936

The Molkenmarkt had numerous historical names: Olde Markt (Op den Olden Markt) (13th century to 1685), Mulkenmarkt (1685–1728), Königsmarkt (1737 to around 1750; after a monument to King Friedrich I designed by Andreas Schlüter) . Was erected), Königsplatz (1728–1737). The name Molkenmarkt has been official since around 1750.

The origin of the name is, on the one hand, the Mühlenhofmeierei , which sold its dairy products here. On the other hand, it is believed that the name was derived from Mollen ( Low German for 'mills') on Mühlendamm.

Buildings (selection)

At the end of the Second World War, the entire inner city of Berlin and with it the Molkenmarkt and its surroundings were badly damaged. Some buildings were rebuilt or repaired such as number 1 and number 2. In the 17th century, the buildings belonged to the then Brandenburg elector. The noble Blankenfelde family (since the 13th century), the Chancellor Lampert Distelmeyer and the builder Rochus zu Lynar lived here . Later there was the city ​​bailiff , the police headquarters and the city prison at this point . In 1934 the bailiwick was broken up and a new mint was built.

Baroque palace Schwerin

The Prussian envoy Otto von Schwerin bought Molkenmarkt number 3 and had it made up as a residence for his family. The building has been preserved and is protected as a Palais Schwerin architectural monument. The entrance to the Krögel was next to house number 3 . The old town house and a building of the municipal fire society (built in 1932) in the area have also been preserved. The Franco-German Youth Office has had its headquarters in number 1 since 2000 .

Dismantling based on the history

The inner city plan and the Klosterviertel development plan based on it provide for the dismantling of Grunerstraße , pivoting it twice towards the Rotes Rathaus and building the square and the surrounding area in a form based on the original square geometry. Instead of the previous streets with a maximum of two to three lanes in each direction, however, four to six-lane streets with a tram are to be laid out on a separate, green track ( grass track ).

In contrast to the original development, significantly higher eaves heights are planned, but in a rather loose block development. The square in front of the old town house would then be built on again. The quarter was abandoned by the National Socialists for the construction of a Gauforum and was also kept free during the GDR era for reasons of representation. This conception is controversial because of its traffic-related changes and because of the separation of the town house from the square as a previously space-dominating building.

See also

Web links

Commons : Molkenmarkt (Berlin-Mitte)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b c Horst Ulrich, Uwe Prell, Ernst Luuk: Molkenmarkt. In: Berlin Handbook. The lexicon of the federal capital. FAB-Verlag, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-927551-27-9 , p. 828.
  2. ^ Isabell Jürgens: Repairs to the heart of Berlin - Grunerstrasse is relocated. Berliner Morgenpost, April 19, 2019, accessed on November 29, 2019 .
  3. Conversion of the whey market begins ; in Berliner Zeitung from January 14, 2019; accessed on January 14, 2019.
  4. a b c Major archaeological project. 800 years of the city are hidden under the whey market ; in Berliner Zeitung , January 7, 2019 (online edition); accessed on January 14, 2019.
  5. Mühlendamm - the power center of yore and a view of the treasure trove . In: Berliner Zeitung , March 25, 2019, p. 12.
  6. a b c d Maritta Tkalec: Excavations in Berlin-Mitte: Consider legacies when planning In: Berliner Zeitung , January 20, 2020 (online edition) and In the beginning stood the wooden hut , p. 10 (print edition).
  7. Olde Market . In: Luise.
  8. a b Horst Rathunde: The whey market. Where to come by… . In: BZ am Abend , August 1, 1981.
  9. Mulkenmarkt . In: Luise.
  10. Königsmarkt . In: Luise.
  11. Königsplatz . In: Luise.
  12. ^ Whey market at Luise's
  13. ^ Homepage of the Franco-German Youth Office ( Memento from December 4, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  14. Planning for the Molkenmarkt, status: 2009 of the Senate Department for Urban Development.
  15. Really beautiful GDR architecture . In: Berliner Zeitung , August 7, 2008; Criticism by ex-Senator Thomas Flierl (Die Linke).

Coordinates: 52 ° 31 ′ 0 ″  N , 13 ° 24 ′ 36 ″  E