Known for its high-rise blocs and uniformity, Lichtenberg is famed as an ode to Soviet Brutalist architecture. Londoners may think of the Trellick Tower or Barbican as a towering mass of concrete, but it’s nothing compared to the area of Hohenschönhausen, which is home to outlandishly big, awe-inspiring East German housing projects. But Lichtenberg also boats beautiful parks, authentic international eateries and lower rents than its more gentrified neighbours, so it’s no surprise that it’s becoming a popular area for investors. Residents in the area both old and new are enthusiastic to encourage positive change – they support the restoration of neglected buildings and promote the arrival of new bars, restaurants and businesses. The district is also home to the renowned central Asian wholesale market Dong Xuan, which is a microcosm of its small and respected Vietnamese community.
Most newcomers in Berlin may also be unaware that though just minutes from the vibrant, busy corners of Kreuzberg, Lichtenberg has its own pockets of natural beauty – the Landscape park and Tierpark to name a few. With luscious greenery stretching over 400 acres, Tierpark happens to be the largest zoological garden in Berlin, and is located directly behind the modern apartments we currently have on the market. Head north in the district and you’ll discover two lakes and Orankesee beach – a popular swimming destination during the hot Berlin summer. But there’s also some night time hubs dotted around. Sisyphos is part nightclub, part circus, with a large outdoor area for plenty of seating for those who want to relax and enjoy the entertainment. It only opens its doors every two weeks, giving it a festival vibe.
Along with the brutalist architecture comes a wealth of East German history – for example, Tierpark U-Bahnhof was the only new station that the GDR ever built, and its 70s design is still preserved today. There’s also a walking route that loops around the entire park vicinity, passing both blocs and greenery, with information boards along the way displaying snippets of history about the local area. In short, it’s a place where the more you wander, the more you can discover.
The Schul- und Leistungssportzentrum Berlin is the most successful out of Berlin’s three top sports schools and also ranks highly in Germany. It’s located in Hohenschönhausen.
There are also various state European schools in Berlin, where children learn two languages from the first year. They learn German alongside English, French, Spanish etc. Charles-Dickens-Grundschule in Westend and Quentin-Blake-Grundschule in Dahlem are German-English schools, and both about a 40 min drive from Tierpark. International schools include the International School Berlin, just a 30 min drive away in Steglitz.
Nearest airports: Tegel and Schoenefeld, with train links to both in under an hour
City centre: 16 mins by U-Bahn to Alexanderplatz