Lost in Berlin

Secret Berlin: hidden fragments of stone sculptures, including a beautiful imperial eagle

It's become almost a cliché to state that in Berlin, it pays to keep your eyes constantly peeled for the secret, secluded or hidden. Nevertheless, it's absolutely true.

Whether you end up chancing upon stunning interiors, or crumbling historic shop signs; or happen upon street art or tucked-away courtyards, there's always something new, it seems, to discover.

A case in point are these beautiful fragments of carved stonework and sculpture, abandoned, for no apparent reason, in separate locations in the city.

The first is half-concealed in a patch of scrubland near the Märkisches Ufer in Berlin's Mitte (below). Presumably a remnant - or perhaps several pieces - of some long-lost building, it's impossible to work out exactly how, or why, the decorative masonry found its way to its current location.

Fragments of a former building discovered in the undergrowth, Berlin
Beautiful detail on abandoned stone carving, Berlin

The next stash of fragments is far more substantial, including several almost life-size figures and a truly resplendent imperial eagle.

Dumped by a roadside in Kreuzberg with little to protect them from intruders or trophy-hunters, their origin, again, remains a mystery.

Secret lapipdary, Berlin - a carved ston eagle
Fragments of a full-sized station abandoned by a roadway, Berlin

With a devastatingly high proportion of the old city of Berlin ravaged by bombing, the existence of many such architectural fragments comes as no surprise. Most, however, have long since been dispersed, or incorporated into new buildings and reconfigured urban settings. But these particular relics seem to have been simply forgotten: ghosts in the undergrowth, gathering moss.

Berlin's hidden secrets: a majestic stone eagle, abandoned in undergrowth beside a road

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