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Sophienstraße, Berlin

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In 1987, both East and West Berlin undertook extensive projects to pep up the city for its 750th anniversary celebrations. Besides the reconstruction of the nearby Nikolaiviertel , the restauration of the historic area around Sophienstraße was one of East Berlin's more ambitious projects. Turning into the narrow Sophienstraße, visitors are immediately taken back in time to the small-town atmosphere of 18th century Berlin. There is little here to remind you of the frenetic comings-and-goings of today's capital city. Ancient street lamps and rows of town houses line the street, while a touch of gothic splendour is provided by the baroque Sophienkirche. The constrast to nearby Hackescher Markt , one of the liveliest and "hippest" parts of Eastern Berlin, could hardly be greater.