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About this City Journal

40 years of the GDR

Entries in this City Journal


Riverfront district

The dark blue waters of the River Havel flow through Gleitzen, separating the historic city from the newer industrialized and housing areas of the northern bank.


The beautifully restored 'Strombrücke', spans the river Havel.


The commute between the riverbanks.


The newer buildings around the rebuilt riverfront district, comprise of many institutes of learning and city administration, along with commercial and apartment complexes.



The city's newer standard of living contrasts with the old one, over the cross river rail line.



Marking the historic western edge of the old city center is Westwandstraße, one of four main Avenues that ring the city's badly damaged medieval core. The area is home to Gleitzen's new administrative buildings, along with the city's largest university.


Heading west down Karlsstraße.


A wing of the city's large Polytechnic university, an important seat of learning for the region.


The new 'Gleitzen Stadthalle' was completed in 1969 and became the city's seat of administration, replacing the extensively damaged city hall in the heart of the old city center.


Westwandstraße is today home to some of the city's most recent construction.


The distinctive new architecture that continues to rise to the west.


Östlichen zentrum

Stretching to the east of Engelsstraße is the 'Östlichen Zentrum' district, a traditionally lively area of the city, that today is a combination of modern office and retail buildings, alongside carefully restored historical buildings and reconstructed tenements.


Modern shopping and office complexes.



The restored19th century facade of the 'Stadttheater', today nestled amongst more recent development.


Characteristic of the district, are the areas of post-war reconstructed tenements.


A view looking east down one of the districts main streets.



The wide boulevard of Engelsstraße (formerly Herzogstaße), runs north-south through the city's historic heart and plays a major part in the modern life of the city.


One of the city's main intersections where Engelsstraße meets Karlsstraße, linking the various districts of the city.


A view from one of the city's main hotels across to the Gleitzen central Bahnhof.


Historic restored buildings along Engelsstraße, mark one of the city's most picturesque thoroughfares with the pedestrian mall to the right giving a taste of old Gleitzen.


The Gleitzischkirche and reconstructed customs house (now a museum), mark the start of the city's southern districts. With the edge of the Stadtgärten to the right.



Defeat and destruction: By the end of 1945 the defeated Third Reich lay in ruins, with the eastern German city of Gleitzen along with much of the country reduced to rubble. The city which lay directly in the path of the advancing soviet army, experienced heavy bombing and artillery bombardment during the last months of the war, with the desperate fighting laying waste to much of its historic architecture and industry. What hadn't been completely destroyed would require painstaking reconstruction.


One of the city's main thoroughfares in ruins.

Post-war period: After the Second World War, Gleitzen became part of the newly formed German Democratic Republic, with the new government left with the task of post-war reconstruction. The rebuilt city rose from the ashes in a mix of old and new, with a number of historic and religious buildings being restored to their former glory, although the city leaders chose to reconstruct large areas of the city in a "socialist modern" style, partly for economic reasons and to meet pressing housing shortages.


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