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Even if you don’t live in Berlin, you may have heard of Kurfürstendamm, one of the city’s most famous avenues. Kurfürstendamm (also called Ku’damm by locals) is a main traffic artery in the Berlin district Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf.


It goes from Rathenauplatz in the Grunewald district to Breitscheidplatz with the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in the Charlottenburg district, where it turns into Tauentzienstrasse. Kurfürstendamm is a busy shopping and dining street and considered one of the tourist destinations in the inner-city area of Western Berlin.
Around 1542, the Ku’damm was built as a causeway from Berlin’s City Palace to the Grunewald Hunting Lodge. It was only used as a riding path by the electoral prince Joachim II at the time. The oldest document showing this causeway is the map “Plan géométral de Berlin et des environs des Ingenieurs La Vigne” from 1685. The name Churfürsten Damm appears about 100 years later on a map by Friedrich Wilhelm Carl von Schmettau from 1767 to 1787. On February 5, 1873, Otto von Bismarck wrote a letter to the secret cabinet council Gustav von Wilmowski, in which he first mentions the idea of turning the road into a magnificent boulevard.

100 BiereBismarck’s idea found resonance and plans for a 25-meter paved road were developed. But after raising an objection, Bismarck was able to get a Cabinet Order to set the width of the road to 53 meters on June 2, 1875. That was also the starting signal to construct the Villa Colony Grunewald, another project by Bismarck. After founding the Kurfürstendamm Corporation on December 22, 1882, the expansion of this boulevard and construction of the Villa Colony was started.


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