The former Iraqi Embassy in Berlin is a Cold War relic that stands as a reminder of the complex relationship between East Germany and Iraq. The embassy was built in 1974, and it was a symbol of the close ties between the two countries. However, after the reunification of Germany in 1991, the embassy was abandoned. Today, the building is a popular destination for urban explorers, who are drawn to its eerie atmosphere and its fascinating history.
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Berlin: the capital of Germany
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Abandoned Iraqi embassy in Berlin
In a quiet street in the Niederschönhausen district, between office buildings,the embassy, which in the days of the GDR was representative of Iraq in Berlin, quietly spends its days. It was active in the period between 1974 and 1991 and visually it is perceived a very typical architecture of the western part of Berlin.
In 1980, several embassy employees were arrested because of possible attacks to the Iraqi opposition in western Berlin. The embassy was suspected of being a haven for terrorists during the Iraq war, and in 1991 the federal government asked the staff to leave the country immediately. As well as the building, some of the furniture and documents were also abandoned. In the future it is planned to remodel it to open a cultural center.
Since then the facilities have been frequented by locals, tourists, people with the intention of making graffiti, indigents seeking shelter or simply people with a desire to live a small adventure. Currently the building has been emptied although it still retains some details such as showers, sinks, the electrical installation, the kitchen, the heating and a boiler in the basement.
Most of the walls are covered with graffiti but in some of them you can still appreciate the original paper under the paint or tiles of the time. The construction is solid and holds up well over the years, doors and stairs remain in place and don’t look particularly damaged.
The Iraqi embassy is surrounded by a small garden full of trees and has some benches where to relax. In each floor there is a terrace that is as long as the facade and communicates the different rooms, all the windows are protected with wooden plates preventing the passage of light and making it more difficult to get into the embassy.
How to get from the airport to the center of Berlin
Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER) is located less than 25 km from the center of Berlin.
There are 4 different ways to get to the city center. The most comfortable option is to hire a TRANSFER (👉PRICES); although you can also take a taxi or go by public transport, that is, by S-bahn (something like the subway) or by regional train.
The two S-bahn lines to get to the center of Berlin from the airport terminals 1, 2 and 5 are lines S9 and S45. In both cases there are trains leaving every 20 minutes.
To get to the center of Berlin by train, you must take the Airport Express (FEX) or the regional trains RE7 and RB14. All of them stop at Terminal 1 and 2 of the airport. The regional trains stop is just below Terminal 1, and there are 4 scheduled departures every hour.
If your flight departs from Terminal 5, you will have to transfer at the same station to take the S9 or S45 to your terminal (the trip takes about 8 minutes).
You will find more detailed information in this article on how to get from the AIRPORT to the center of BERLIN
Useful stuff for your trip to Germany
Below, you will find some products that will be very useful during your trip to Germany.
In addition, the options that I recommend are committed to the environment/social causes and are vegan.
Carrying a waterproof windbreaker in your suitcase is essential in case temperatures drop, it rains unexpectedly, or to go hiking.
When traveling, it’s important to choose a jacket that is lightweight, takes up little space and that you can use in different situations; that is to say, that transpires, is waterproof and has a hood to protect you properly from bad weather.
3-in-1 hiking shoes
These La Sportiva shoes are designed to run in the mountains, thanks to this you can use them for hiking, go out to run and do tourism ; saving space in your suitcase.
They are made with goretex, which means they protect you from the inclement weather weather (such as rain, ice or cold) and are adherent to the ground. This makes them ideal for traveling due to their versatility.
10l backpack for day trips and trekking
This 10 L backpack 10 is ideal for visitng cities or going hikimg. It has two compartments to organize your stuff properly and internal space for a hydration bag, as well as a side pocket to carry a bottle.
The size is suitable for 1 day trips and to go running, since it allows you to take everything you need with ease. In addition, it covers less of the back and thus avoids being overheated.
Save Money with the Berlin welcome card
To get around Berlin easily, you can opt for the Berlin WelcomeCard (you can buy it at this link) which will allow you unlimited use of public transport (flat rate) and offers discounts of up to 50% in more than 190 museums and Berlin attractions.
If you have small children, you will be happy to know that the card is free for children under 6 years of age. Prices for adults are as follows:
|48h||72h||72h + museum isl.||4 days||5 days||6 days|
|23 €||33 €||55 €||40 €||46 €||49 €|
Tours & activities in Berlin
In Berlin there are many places and activities to enjoy during your stay in the German capital.
I leave you a list with the tours and activities you can do around Berlin, to get to know this city in more depth. Options also include free tours to help keep your travel budget from skyrocketing.
Where to stay in Berlin
The city of Berlin changes quite a bit depending on the area you visit. I would separate it into two zones depending on your preferences and the type of tourism you like.
EXPENSIVE ZONE AND LESS ALTERNATIVE
Broadly speaking, the area of Stadtmitte, Kurfürstendamm and Charlottenburg is more arranged and expensive (American part during the GDR). Here you can do a quieter and more usual type of tourism, focusing on the monuments, the opera, museums, shopping, etc…
YOUNG people + UNDERGROUND
If you are more into the alternative style and focused on young people, I recommend the neighborhoods of Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg and Neukölln. Here there are many curious and more alternative bars, concerts in basements, parks to have a barbecue, nightclubs that are open 3 days 24 hours, festivals, etc…
Is Germany safe for travelers?
Germany is a safe country to travel, and there are no risk areas where tourists are not recommended to go. If you are a victim of robbery or accident, you should call the police at 110.
Although it is a safe country, crimes also occur; so remember to follow these recommendations and hire a travel insurance
- If you’re being robbed, don’t try to fight back physically.
- Ve con cuidado al salir de noche, y mantente en lugares donde haya gente.
- It’s best to be cautious at night, so stick to well-populated areas.
- Keep your valuables close to your body and out of sight to avoid being a target for thieves (your camera, phone,..).
- And finally, don’t carry your backpack on your back where it’s easy for someone to snatch it; carry it in front of you or use a belt bag or cross-body bag instead.
Eating vegan in Germany
Traditional German food is not exactly characterized by the scarcity of products of animal origin. Luckily, in this country you will find restaurants restaurants that offer many different cuisines and you will not be short of options when you go out to eat.
In general, it will not be difficult for you to find vegan food since most restaurants have vegan and vegetarian dishes on their menus and, in addition, there are also many restaurants that are entirely vegan.
If you want to cook to save a little, organic supermarkets are where you will find more options that fit your needs. And there are even german cities where you will find 100% vegan supermarkets!
Two practical tips for your stay:
- Before going on a tour that includes a meal, always mention that you are vegan or vegetarian, so that they can adapt the food.
- The quality of fruit and vegetables in German supermarkets is not the best. If you have a Turkish market or supermarket nearby, it’s better that you buy there the fruits and vegetables, nuts, hummus, muhammara, etc…
What to visit in Berlin
Besides the museums and the East Side Gallery, there are more great places to visit in Berlin. Below you will find a list of the touristic landmarks, but also some places that are out of the ordinary, so you can enjoy a mix between the popular and alternative side of Berlin.
Carnival of SUBCULTURES (PUNKS IN BERLIN)
The Carnival of Subcultures is a very cool street party that I highly recommend. Every year the inhabitants of a squatted building in the center of Berlin called Köpi organize the underground version of the main carnival.
The vibe is punk and they also organize concerts and, in addition, there’s a war of tuned bicycles (some even spit fire). Later, the party continues inside the building, which becomes a club.
If you are visiting Berlin and want to rest or eat something, you can bring a sandwich or buy a take-away meal and go to Görlitzerpark in Kreuzberg.
If you like alternative places, Görlitzerpark has also peculiar bar that is full of graffiti. In front of the bar, there is an amphitheater, and if you are like you will find people playing music.
If you are traveling with children there is a farm-café with goats, donkeys, rabbits, chickens, geese, ducks and sheep with the aim that the little ones come into contact with animals and plants
Abandoned children’s hospital
This abandoned children’s hospital was opened in 1911, and it was the first and the largest hospital for newborns and children in all of Prussia .
However, ten years later, in January 1997, the hospital was closed permanently.
Since then it has been abandoned and deteriorating due to several fires that took place and damages occured over time. But it has achieved another type of charm: the one from graffiti and adventure.
If you like abandoned places, in Berlin there is also an Iraqi Embassy.
La Fête de la Musique
On June 21, la Fête de la Musique takes place. Street concerts are organized throughout the city and anyone who wants to play is allowed to improvise on the street or in the parks.
The festival takes place during the day but there’s also a lot going on at night. It is a great time to go out dancing, or enjoy and learn about music from other countries, since Berlin is a multicultural city where people of different origins live.