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Feature: Tacheles Weathers the Storm

Tourists in Berlin should visit this authentic and historically abused artists commune, whose uncertain future is leading to social discontent…


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I used to live in Mitte, across the street from the gallery/art squat ‘Tacheles(Yiddish for ‘honest’). After work I’d watch amateur movies of grainy footballers and robots projected onto the graffiti strewn wall opposite the old, Gothic artists commune, from my seat on a disused bus or an oversized letter A. A peaceful serenity swept over me during these times, in a sense of isolation from the disparate voices; in a sense of connection to the chaotic kalidescopic landscape. A sandy beach and a couple of bottles of Augustiner at my feet, all the while I was lulled into a trance-like state by techno blasting from the red cocktail bar behind me. Only in Berlin.



The history of Tacheles is a vibrant as the chaotic patchwork of gaudy graffiti adorning every wall of the 5 storey art gallery/cinema/bar/music venue/socialist merchandise store Built in 1908, it was originally used as a showroom by General Electric in the late 20s, then later as an early television Broadcast centre. During WW2 the building was taken over by the SS and used by the Nazis for administrative purposes, and to house French prisoners.  Having miraculously survived a world war and numerous demolition attempts throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s, an artists collective known as Künstlerinitativ Tacheles took over the building, and a collection of creative squatters embarken on a post-war/post-wall project to turn the building into the inspirational housing and art complex you can see today.

I was so sad to hear about further attempts by the building’s investors to evict Tacheles’ artists at the end of this year. As the ironically named Fundus scratch around for enough capital to buy out the collective so that they can build a 5 star business hotel complex on the land, the proprietor of the Tacheles bar/restaurant Cafe Zapata is prepared to fight Fundus tooth and nail with his ‘Tacheles 2020’ initiative. Though end-of year prospects for the collective look pretty grim, the artists are prepared to weather the storm and hopefully, to live to fight another day.


“This Austrian city is breathtakingly beautiful. The view across the Alps from the top of Festung Hohensalzburg (pictured) is simply spectacular. You can visit Mozart’s birthplace, explore the luxurious, gold-studded interior and armoury of Hohensalzburg Fortress, and sample the delicious Austrian chocolate!” Emily Watt



“Who would have thought Regensburg would be home to its very own reconstruction of the Parthenon? This incredible temple was built in 1807 by Ludvig I, Crown prince of Bavaria during the Napoleonic occupation of Germany. The temple contains an array of busts, paying homage to great German figures throughout history.” Luke


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Edited by Marisa Deale


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