Districts of Berlin: Lichtenberg

Learn more about the district of Lichtenberg…

The district (Bezirk) of Lichtenberg has a long history primarily as a group of rural villages in East Berlin. Since 2001, it has been comprised of ten localities (Ortsteile) which include the smallest locality of the city, mid-century GDR built housing estates, 19th century tenement houses and charming rural villages. Much of the district has great access to public transport, and it is quickly becoming one of the more popular locations to live as housing prices in the center of the city continue to rise. While the district has a history of far-right activity starting in the 1990’s, the situation has much improved and Lichtenberg is once again a relatively safe area.

For zoo enthusiasts: Friedrichsfelde

How to get there:
  • S Friedrichsfelde Ost: S-Bahn: S5, S7, S75 Tram: 27, 37, M17 Bus: 192, 194
  • Tierpark: U-Bahn: U5 Tram: 27, 37, M17 Bus: 296, N50
Remarkable places: Tierpark Founded in the early 13th century, Friedrichsfelde was originally called Rosenfelde. The name was changed in 1699 to Friedrichsfelde to honor the Prince-Elector Fredrick III of Brandenburg. A village church was built in the late 13th century, but is no longer standing. The old village center with historical buildings and layout can still be found in the area of Alt-Friedrichsfelde in the north east of the locality. In 1695, the Schloss Friedrichsfelde was built and still remains well intact thanks to the preservation efforts of the Tierpark Berlin. As with the other outer localities and districts of Berlin, Friedrichsfelde was incorporated into the city in 1920 with the Greater Berlin Act. Today, Friedrichsfelde is known for its modern high-rises built between the 1960’s and 1990’s and the Tierpark Berlin (one of Berlin’s two zoos) which takes up much of the eastern part of the locality. It is well connected with S-Bahn, U-Bahn, Tram, and Bus lines and has relatively inexpensive rents.

Historically significant Karlshorst

How to get there:
  • S Karlshorst: S-Bahn: S3 Tram: M17, 27, 37, Bus: 296, 396, Train: RB14, RB24, RE7
Remarkable places: Deutsch-Russisches Museum Berlin-Karlshorst, Pfarrkirche "Zur frohen Botschaft" Unlike many of the neighboring localities, Karlshorst has a relatively recent history. It was first mentioned in 1825 as Vorwerk Carl Horst, so named after Carl von Tresckow who owned the manor (Rittersguts) Friedrichsfelde. A horst is a slightly elevated overgrown wetland or woods. The village was actually founded in 1895 when the first housing colony was built along Lehndorffstraße. Over the next several decades the Karlshorst was developed following the basic ideas of the city planner Oscar Gregorovius. After the completion of the Karlshorst station in 1902, the area became a popular villa colony and was soon dubbed the “Dahlem of the East”, referring to the affluent suburb in the southwest of Berlin. Karlshorst was incorporated into Berlin in 1920 with the Greater Berlin Act and became a part of the greater district of Lichtenberg. During the Nazi era, the Pionierschule I (later called the Festungspionierschule) an officer training school for the Wehrmacht was built. It was here that the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht was signed from the 8th to the 9th of May, 1945. In 1949, the building became the headquarters of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany and later the largest headquarters of the KGB outside of the USSR. After the partition of Germany, Karlshorst was the home to many embassies and the residence of many foreign diplomats. Following the reunification of Germany, Karlshorst saw much renovation and infrastructure developments which led to it once again becoming a popular and affluent residential area. Many single-family homes have been built in the area, including the development of the new neighborhood of the Gartenstadt Karlshorst.

Accessible and affordable Lichtenberg

How to get there:
  • Frankfurter Allee: S-Bahn: S8, S9, S41, S42, S85 U-Bahn: U5 Tram: M13 Bus: N5, 16
  • Lichtenberg: S-Bahn: S5, S7, S75 U-Bahn: U5 Tram 21, 37, Bus 108, 240, 256, 296, N50, N94, Train: RB12, RB24, RB25, RB26 and long-distance trains
Remarkable places: Gedenkstätte der Sozialisten, Rathaus Lichtenberg, Landschaftspark Herzberge

Founded during the settlement of the Barnim in 1230, but was first mentioned during a land dispute over the boundary between the villages of Stralau and Rosenfelde in 1288. Lichtenberg was purchased by the city of Berlin and was administered by the city, but there weren’t strong ties between the two until the late 18th century when wealthy families, officers, and politicians moved to the area and built mansions and villas. Despite this, Lichtenberg remained an undeveloped, rural village into the 19th century. This changed rapidly following a fire in 1833 which destroyed much of the village and later in the century the area developed into a strong economic area which continued through World War II. With its affordable rents, closeness to trendy Friedrichshain, and decent public transport options, Lichtenberg is quickly becoming a popular choice for those seeking an urban residence without the negatives of the gentrified inner-city. The large parkland “Landschaftspark Herzeberge” makes up most of the eastern part of the locality, and the expansive Vietnamese shopping center the Dong Xuan Center is a perennial favorite for Berliners shopping for Asian ingredients. The southern part of the locality is well connected with S-Bahn and U-Bahn, but the northern parts are accessed only with bus and tram which tend to have longer wait times than in the city center.

Remote Falkenberg

How to get there:
  • Tierheim Berlin: Bus: 197, N97
  • S Ahrensfelde: S-Bahn: S7, Bus: 197, 390, 901, N97 Train: RB25
  • Falkenberg: Tram: M4, M17 Bus: 197, 294
Remarkable places: Gutsarbeiterhaus, Katholische Kirche Sankt Konrad von Parzham, Gehrensee, Tierheim Berlin

As a small farming estate founded in the 13th century, Falkenberg had a quiet history until it was purchased by Marie-Elizabeth von Humboldt, the mother of Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt, in 1791. During her time as the landowner of the area, she commissioned the Berlin architect Paul Ludwig Simon to remodel the village church in an Egyptian style which was popular following Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt. Following her death, Falkenberg was inherited by her son Ferdinand von Holwede and later he sold it to a member of the aristocratic family von Alvensleben. In 1920, it was incorporated into the city of Berlin with the Greater Berlin Act, and only saw minor developments in the 1930’s and 1940’s which included the construction of the local Catholic Church. On April 21st, 1945, the village church (Dorfkirche Falkenberg) was blown up by the Waffen SS to prevent the advancing Red Army from using the steeple as a strategic location. Unlike many of other areas in East Berlin, Falkenberg was not rapidly developed with large housing estates. It remains today a sparsely developed area, the majority of the locality comprised of fields, aside from the southern and eastern borders. The northeastern part of the locality borders on the neighboring state of Brandenburg. Due to its distance from the city center, the rental prices are low. It is served by the bus lines 197 and N97, and the S-Bahn station S Ahrensfelde which is in the neighboring locality of Marzahn.

Small and rural Malchow

How to get there:
  • Malchow/Dorfstraße: Bus: 154, 259
Remarkable places: Malchower See, Malchower Aue The area of Malchow has a long history of settlement with archaeological evidence found which suggests there have been people living in the area since around 5000 BC. It was settled by Germans farmers around 1230 and first mentioned in a deed as Malchowe in 1344. During the 17th century, Malchow was developed with a forge, windmill, orphanage, and the village church was renovated. It was privately owned until 1882, when it was purchased by the city of Berlin to be used as sewage treatment area. In the late 1920’s it received a bus connection to Weißensee and in the 1930’s a couple of residential settlements were built. Malchow is a small, rural locality, mainly developed along the road Dorfstraße in the west. Much of the district is comprised of fields and farmland with small garden allotments (Kleingartenanlage) to the north. It is the least populated locality of Berlin with less than 500 inhabitants. Public transport is limited to the bus lines 154 and 259 along Dorfstraße, but the S-Bahn station S Wartenberg is nearby in neighboring locality Neu-Hohenschönhausen.

Quiet Wartenberg

How to get there:
  • Dorfstr./Lindenberger Str.: Bus: 256, 893, N56
Remarkable places: Landschaftspark Wartenberger Feldmark As with much of the surrounding area, Wartenberg was developed as a farming estate during the 13th century. The village church (Dorfkirche Wartenberg) was completed around this same time. Until 1448, the area was privately owned by several families of Berlin and Cölln, but was later owned by Frederick II of Brandenburg, the Iron. In 1882, the estate was purchased by the city of Berlin for use as a sewage farm. On April 21st, 1945, the village church, along with the churches in neighboring Falkenberg and Malchow, was destroyed to prevent the advancing Red Army from gaining a tactical advantage. With single-family homes, small garden allotments (Kleingartenanlage), and limited apartment buildings, Wartenberg is a green, rural locality. To the south it borders Neu-Hohenschönhausen with its large GDR built high-rise estates. It is one of the least expensive areas to live in Berlin, but it has limited recreational options.

Residential Alt-Hohenschönhausen

How to get there:
  • Hauptstraße/Rhinstraße: Tram 27, M5 Bus: 256, 294, N56
Remarkable places: Sportforum Hohenschönhausen

Initially a small farming village, Alt-Hohenschönhausen developed similarly to its neighbors. In the 15th century, it became the property of the powerful Röbel family who built a manor in the area it became an affluent holding. During the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), the village was looted and suffered greatly from the famine and plague that followed. The Röbel family sold the village in the mid-18th century, and farmlands were developed for the cultivation of fruits and wheat. In the late-19th century, the population began to increase as Berlin residents moved to the outskirts of the city and it was at this time that multi-story tenement houses were built. Following World War II, the area was occupied by Soviet forces who built a prison camp, Special Camp No. 3, which was known for its terrible conditions. Following the closing of this camp, a prison was built in the area which was primarily used by the East German state security service, to house those who tried to defect to the west and political prisoners. Since 1994, the prison has been opened as a memorial. Alt-Hohenschönhausen is a large suburban locality, with a mix of single-family homes, small garden allotments, prefab high-rises, modern apartment buildings, and industrial areas. During the 1970’s parts of the locality were developed by the East German government as socialist housing projects. It is also home of a large sports hall (Sportforum Hohenschönhausen) which is the largest German Olympic training area. It is one of the cheaper rental areas of the suburbs of Berlin, and is more urban that many of the surrounding localities which give it greater shopping possibilities.

Inexpensive and Modern high-rises: Neu-Hohenschönhausen

How to get there:
  • S Berlin-Hohenschönhausen: S-Bahn: S75 Tram M4, M17 Bus: X54, 154, 197, 256, 893, N56 Train: RB12, RB24
Remarkable places: Falkenberger Krugwiesen, Wustrower Park

Neu-Hohenschönhausen is a modern locality purpose-built starting in the 1970’s as social housing for up to 25,000 people. This resulted in the housing estates Hohenschönhausen I and Hohenschönhausen II. Due to the popularity of these flats, the development plans for the area expanded and similar buildings were built through the 1980’s. It is a quiet residential locality made up of prefab high-rises (Plattenbauten). There are not many shopping or entertainment options in Neu-Hohenschönhausen, and the prices of the flats are some of the lowest in the city. It is also well connected with both S-Bahn and tram which go directly to the inner-city.

Convenient Fennpfuhl

How to get there:
  • S Storkower Straße: S-Bahn S8, S9, S41, S42, S85 Bus: 156, 240
  • Roederplatz: Tram M8
Remarkable places: Fennpfuhl Park, Lederkontor Fabrik.

In the mid 1900’s, there was a great need for social housing in East Berlin and so large prefab high-rise housing estates were planned throughout the city. The area that became known as Fennpfuhl was initially planned out in the 1960’s, and construction was done from 1972 until 1986. A whole community was planned and built including a registry office and a center including shops, a swimming pool, sports hall, and department store. After the reunification of Germany, the houses were almost entirely renovated. Although perhaps not the most architecturally beautiful of localities, Fennpfuhl’s great advantage is its close distance to the trendy district of Friedrichshain. This makes its rents more competitive than other localities in the district of Lichtenberg. It is well connected with trams and the southern part of the locality borders the S-Bahn Ring line stop at Storkower Straße.

Up-and-coming Rummelsburg

How to get there:
  • S Rummelsburg: S-Bahn S3 Tram 21 Bus 194, 240, N94
  • S Nöldnerplatz: S-Bahn S5, S7, S75 Bus 194, 240, 396, N94
Remarkable places: Museum des bezirks Lichtenberg, Erlöserkirche

Rummelsburg has a later history than most of the surrounding area, having only been founded in the 17th century. It was initially the location of a brickyard built along the Rummelsburger Lake, and soon it also developed into a dairy farm. In the late 19th century, Rummelsburg saw further development with the building of an orphanage and a church (Erlöserkirche) along with tenement houses. The area rapidly grew in size during this time period due to the industrial development of Berlin, and by 1910 more than 50,000 people lived in the locality. Following World War II, it became a residential part of East Berlin. Rummelsburg has long been a popular residential area, and it is becoming increasingly so as its neighboring district of Friedrichshain becomes more popular and expensive. It is a heavily settled, urban community, but there is still a good amount of green space. Rental prices are higher than other areas of the district, but it is well connected to public transport and is close to the trendy Friedrichshain. To the south of the S-Bahn tracks and along the Rummelsburger See is primarily industrial areas although there have been some new residential developments built there.