Berlin Neighbourhood Profile: Rixdorf
A borough of Berlin, Neukölln is a diverse, vibrant and trendy district covering 44 square kilometres. Yet, surprisingly, all but hidden away in its centre is the historic village of Rixdorf. Here, visitors can discover a wonderful mix of old and new.
Living in history
The Neukölln coat of arms features a Maltese cross, a reference to the dominance of The Order of Saint John in the fourteenth century. Four hundred years later, in the 1700s, the zone expanded. During this period, the Bohemian village of Neukölln had a Constitution of its own. However, at the turn of the nineteenth century, independence ended as it became part of Greater Berlin. In the late 1960s, construction of high-rise accommodation commenced at Gropiusstadt, a neighbourhood to the southeast. Nowadays, the area to the south also boasts a fair share of detached houses set on neat, modern estates. In Neukölln itself, you'll find an ample choice of spacious apartments, often in impressive or historic buildings. This bustling neighbourhood has evolved to become quite gentrified. Its several cafés, bars and cultural venues are popular with families, students and young people. Of course, the urban buzz and creative focus of Neukölln tend to attract artists, some of whom have unusual to eccentric styles. Plenty of studios line the Landwehr Canal, Hermannstrasse and Sonnenallee.
A hidden village
In the heart of the district, take a turn off of Karl-Marx-Allee and you'll find yourself suddenly in a sleepy, rural village. Cobblestone streets, sleepy restaurants, and a large playground with cheerful youngsters contrast the hustle and bustle of the surrounding area. In Rixdorf you'll find boutique bookstores and a quiet vegan cafe that serves an amazing brunch, a bakery where people line up down by the dozens for a slice of cheesecake, and adorable quaint houses.
A stroll around Richardplatz reveals surprising and exciting contrasts. In this delightful area, you will find sedate, hidden cobbled courtyards just off the square. Then there's the ancient church and a local blacksmith next to a half-timbered barn. Past the attractively designed houses on winding streets, you'll come to a contemporary art gallery housed in a characteristic but disused bricked brewery building. Every December, a memorable Christmas market takes place here, which is visted by people from all over Berlin who stroll through the quaint alleys and browse locally-made fares.
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