Panorama of the Week: Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

Potsdamer Platz. If you look into the past beyond all that new glass and steel, you’ll find an eventful story — a place where a time lapse sequence over the last 100 years would almost defy reason.

In the early 20th century, Potsdamer Platz featured one of the busiest intersections in all of Europe and served as a hub for Berlin nightlife. But as in much of the city, World War II took its toll and Potsdamer Platz emerged in a pile of rubble. Not long after, the Berlin Wall was run right through the middle. The few remaining buildings were eventually demolished and this once busy intersection became a desolate no man’s land between East and West until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

During our earliest visits to Berlin in 2002, Potsdamer Platz was a full-on construction site. Its skyful of cranes and building skeletons — best captured from Brandenburg Gate — slowly filled in with finished skyscrapers on each of our subsequent visits, and the place took shape.

The Sony Center below, a sort of indoor tent with a rooftop that looks like one part parachute and another part amusement ride is another turn of the page in a story that is Berlin, that is Potsdamer Platz.

360-Degree Panorama: Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

panorama directions

Enjoy this?

Then sign up for more travel wisdom & inspiration from 8+ years of traveling the world.


  1. Nicole says

    Holy cow, that is amazing! Somewhere I have a panorama-sized poster of Potsdammer Platz just after the wall fell. I bought it in Berlin in 1991, during my first trip to Europe. I cannot believe that’s the same place. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sutapa Chattopadhyay says

    Holy Cow!! Potsdamer Platz was under construction when my son went there, the summer of 2004. Amazing and a beautiful panorama!!

    Berlin is on my bucket list too. Would love to go there next summer….wow!! I read Dan’s essay on bicycling in Berlin and I was so jealous. I think that one was written in 2010. Still, I am jealous!

  3. says

    @Nicole: You couldn’t make up all that has happened to and in Potsdamer Platz in the last 100 years. I still am amazed by the changes each time we visit.

    @Sutapa: I don’t know when exactly the cranes and big construction finally moved out of Potsdamer Platz, but I know it wasn’t too long ago. The area has changed so much over the last decade.

    Although Dan’s piece on bicycling in Berlin is from last year, it’s still as relevant as ever. One of the first things we did when we knew we’d be in Berlin for several months this year was buy used bicycles. We love it. Hope you can experience it for yourself soon as well!

    @Jordan & Henry: Thanks, glad you enjoyed this!

  4. says

    Wow, that photo brings back a lot of memories of when we were last in Berlin. I think it was around 2002, like you said in your post. Cranes everywhere but the Sony Centre was just about there. Would love to go back one day.

  5. says

    @Julia: It’s wild to consider the transformation Berlin has undergone in such a short period of time. Thanks for reaffirming this. I’m glad it’s not just us and our Berlin nostalgia. Back in 2002, it really was a skyline of cranes.

  6. says

    @Andy: It seems there’s no place that’s made the transformation like Berlin has. And Potsdamer Platz is a certainly a microcosm of that transformation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *