The mention of U2 might evoke images of a certain Irish rock band, but in Berlin it has a much different meaning. The U2 UBahn line (Berlin's underground network) is one of the most frequented in the city.
Running from Pankow in the north to Ruhleben in the south, this 29 station line has major stops at Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz and Zoologischer Garten. The western section includes a portion of the historic Stammstrecke (Berlin's first metro from 1902). Swedish architect, Alfred Grenander, is responsible for many of the ornate designs.
If you travel on the UBahn long enough, a ride on the U2 is inevitable. Here is your guide to make the journey memorable. (Part 2 continues here.)
01 of 05
This station, like many in Berlin, has undergone several identity crisis. Once known as Reichskanzlerplatz, it was re-named Adolf Hitler Platz on April 21, 1933. Hitler's Berlin apartment was located nearby, as was the Hitlerjungen building.
After WWII, the station was again - understandably - in need of a new name. It was named Theodor-Heuss-Platz on December 18th, 1963 after the recently deceased German President Theodor Heuss.
This change of names has led to some amusing confusion as a mistake on Google maps temporarily reverted the station's name to Adolf-Hitler-Platz in January 2014. People were quick to complain, and Google to apologize.
02 of 05
Maybe this station's opening in 1978 explains its bizarre rainforest scene. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, fluorescent greens and yellows liven up the lower level of this two-story station.
03 of 05
This major station in former West Berlin was once the epicenter for seedy dealings. Popularized by cult figure Christiane F's Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo, this station was the hang-out for Berlin's young, drug-addicted and homeless in the 1970s.
Nowadays, you are more likely to run into a family returning from the Berlin Zoo or Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) or the mid-aged and moneyed weighed down with shopping bags from nearby Ku'damm.
And this station does actually have a connection with Irish rock group U2. Their 1991 song "Zoo Station" was inspired by the station during the band's stay in the city while recording Achtung Baby.
04 of 05
Another two level station, this is the site of one of one of the most disastrous accidents in Berlin UBahn history. On September 26, 1908 two trains collided here due to driver error, derailing one car which fell from the viaduct and killed 18 people and injured 21.
In more modern Berlin history, this was also the eastern terminus of the U2 while the Berlin Wall segmented the city. A literal dead-end, service didn't resume until November 13, 1993.
Today's station has been vastly remodeled and offers stellar views of what used to be no man's land.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
This station's oppressive red marble can be seen in a few other sites around the city such as the old DDR radio station. This stone is rumored to be from the interior of Adolf Hitler's Reich Chancellery, formerly located on nearby Voßstraße.
While there is not sufficient proof that the materials were reused from this infamous site (Thuringia marble is quite common), the stories persist. In any case, it is hard to resist brushing your hand against one of the ruddy columns and daydreaming of another time.