Romantic Wedding: urban art, a river and ruins

Ducks and reflected grafitti, River Panke, Wedding, Berlin

The red-brick ruins of what appears to be an old factory are reflected in the tranquil waters of the tiny Panke River, and it's momentarily tempting to imagine that this half-hidden, picturesque corner of Berlin's Wedding district is a place that few have found before.

River Panke, Wedding, Berlin, with Wiesenburg in background
Grafitti alongside River Panke, Wedding, Berlin, with view of former Wiesenstrasse Homeless shelter, Wedding, Berlin

But the array of surrounding urban art and graffiti puts paid to such a notion; previous visitors have turned this quiet river-side enclave into an unofficial gallery where large-scale works by well-known names such as ROA jostle for space with more modest creations.

Urban art and grafitti, Wedding

It's one of those multi-layered Berlin locations that resonates both visually and historically.

Despite the rambling ruin's industrial appearance, for example, it was built as a shelter for the homeless: a refuge opened in 1896 with space for 700 men (and, from 1907, a further 400 beds for women).

Known due to its entrance in Wiesenstrasse simply as the 'Wiesenburg', it housed an astonishing 300,000 people annually.

It's also something of a little-known movie star, having featured in films including Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 'Lili Marleen' and Volker Schlöndorff's 'The Tin Drum' (Die Blechtrommel).

Rarely accessible today, it's easier - and more impressive - to contemplate the complex from the riverbank, where Berlin's artists add their own, contemporary presence to its past.

Further facts

Look out for the gateway leading into the garden of 'Panke', one of Wedding's new wave of hip, laid-back bars. And from Panke, explore the crumbling courtyards that lead into Gerichtstraße, where you'll find several other artfully alternative watering holes.

See also:
Wedding's hippest bars
An urban art 'diary'
Plane-dodging in Kurt Schumacher Platz

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Wiesenburg Wedding: Wiesenstraße 55, 13357 Berlin
Section of riverside walk bordered by (and accessible via) Kolberger Straße, Pankstraße and Gerichtstraße.

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