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Capoeira Dancing at the Carnival of Cultures in Berlin 2011

Capoeira Dancing at the Carnival of the Cultures, Berlin

Capoeira Dancing at the Carnival of the Cultures, Berlin

The carnival of cultures takes places every year in June in Berlin. Many nationalities participate in this carnival – people from Afrika, Asia and lots of people from Brazil, South America. You can hear a lot of Samba music, and you can see capoeiristas performing.

As you can see in the photo above people form a big circle, and in the middle of this circle (which is called “roda” by the capoeiristas, two people move. Capoeira is a mixture of martial art, artistic movements and dance. It is said that it was once developed and practised by African slaves in Brazil who were forbidden to carry any weapons.

Wherever capoeira is shown today it is practised without actually hitting the other person. It looks very elegant, almost like a kind of ballet dancing.

The Buddy Bears of Berlin

One of Berlin's Buddy Bears

One of the Buddy Bears of Berlin

In 2001 the fibreglass life-size sculpture of the Buddy Bear was created, and artists painted approximately 350 bears in various colours. These sculptures now populate the city of Berlin, serving as decorative elements. They stand in front of public buildings, hotels and other private premises.

This one here is ten minutes away from where I live – and I didn’t know that he was standing in that street until I passed him on my way to my local bank. Another bear – one painted in brown colour – stands directly in front of the house next to mine and has been bought by a dentist (the name of the dentist is written on the base on which the bear stands).

I actually like the blue and cheerful colour of this one better!

The Jewish Museum in Berlin

The Jewish Museum in Berlin

The Jewish Museum in Berlin. May 2011, Ulla Hennig

First the facts as they are given on Wikipedia:

“The Jewish Museum Berlin (Jüdisches Museum Berlin), in Berlin, Germany, covers two millennia of German Jewish history. It consists of two buildings. One is the old Kollegienhaus, a former courthouse, built in the 18th century. The other, a new addition specifically built for the museum, designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind. This was one of the first buildings in Berlin designed after German reunification. The museum opened to the public in 2001.”

The museum is only 10 minutes away from where I live in Kreuzberg, Berlin. It presents one big permanent exhibition and always smaller, temporary ones. At the moment there is an exhibition about Radical Jewish culture.

Blossoms again!

Tree in blossoms

Tree in blossoms. Photo: Ulla Hennig

What a beautiful sight! Unfortunately we are just having a period of rather nasty and cold weather, but the weather forecast is announcing rising temperatures and sunshine for the coming weekend. 

We had some April days which reminded me very strongly of Summer – above 20 degrees Celsius. The long Easter Weekend was gorgeous, and even the weekend after that provided a blue sky and sunshine all over, although with a strong wind. 

So there’s no reason to be grumpy because of the weather, it has beeen good to us here in Berlin.

Ephraim Palais in the Nikolai Quarter

Ephraim Palais

The Ephraim Palais in the Nikolai Quarter. Photo: Ulla Hennig

The Ephraim Palais is one of the best known buildings in the Nikolai Quarter. It was built in 1766 for Veitel-Heine Ephraim, the financier of King Frederick II of Prussia. Today it serves as a museum focussing on art and culture history.

The Nikolai Quarter in Berlin

Nikolai Quarter in Berlin

The Nikolai Quarter in Berlin. Photo: Ulla Hennig

I had been offline for some days. One of my cousins from the South of Germany stayed in my flat from Thursday afternoon until Monday morning, and it was wonderful to show her my home town and spend the time with her.

Apart from writing e-mails and creating photo books with the computer she doesn’t share my fascination for the internet, and as I did not want to spend our precious time me hacking away at the keyboard and she being left alone I decided to stay away from my dear notebook.

We had gorgeous weather on the weekend, and the photo above is one of the results of strolling through the city. The so-called Nikolai Quarter is the oldest part of the town. To put it precisely, it was the oldest part of the town, because it was destroyed during the bomb raids on Berlin. In order to celebrate the 750th birthday of Berlin the German Democratic Republic decided to re-build it.

So the Nikolai Quarter looks like a town in the middle Ages, but it is not. There are many cosy restaurants and cafés there, and we enjoyed to sit outside and drink a typical Berlin beverage – the so-called “Weiße mit Schuss” (a certain brand of beer with syrup in it).

In the middle of the photo you can see the “Berliner Dom” (Berlin Dome), a huge round cathedral. This cathedral was the church of the Prussian Kings.

City Art

grafitti

Mural paintings. Photo: Ulla Hennig

In Berlin there are quite a lot of people who spray on walls, cars, subway trains. Of course it is not legal, and often the result cannot be considered as something art-like.

On the other hand there are some street artists among those young kids. Just a few houses away there is a place where they can spray without having to fear the law. Every two weeks or so a piece of the wall is being painted over with white color, and then everyone can come and have a try.

Some of the results could be taken out of a comic strip or a manga – some of them are more abstract and sometimes remind me of the ornaments in a mosque. I think it is a wonderful thing that young kids who probably hate their art lessons at school can express themselves freely at this place.

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