Sundials in
Berlin and around

Sundials in Mitte

For the 750th anniversary of Berlin the formerly German Democratic Republic rebuild the historical Nicolai quarter in Berlin-Mitte, partly with plate buildings. Within this quarter there is also a kind of historic sundial:

The Nicolai quarter from outside Nicolai church from St.George
Sundial seen from St.Nicolai Sundial in the Nicolai quarter

Sundial in the Nicolai quarter, Berlin-Mitte, Fall 1997

The first photo shows the Nicolai quarter from outside on the street near the Littenstr., of which someone - but not the author! - had corrected the name plate. ;-) The building left is the Nicolai church and the building right the Red city hall.

The second photo shows the church and the quarter seen from the St. Georg monument at the Spree bank. Theoretically the sundial is visible at this photo, but only at the larger JPEG one can get an idea of where the sundial is. The photo shows also that for some times of the day the Nicolai church is casting its shadow onto the sundial.

The third photo shows the sundial as seen from the Nicolai church. The perspective is somewhat special in that way that it is showing the tower of the red city hall and the television tower in a line in the background.

At the fourth photo one can see the sundial in full size. Within the historical city core of Berlin around St. Nicolai there was no building with a sundial according to postcard views of the first quarter of the 20th century. - The four GIFs above are referencing to greater JPEGs (a 40-68kB) of the same pictures. The photographies were done with a Pentax MZ-5 with 28-70mm- and 70-200mm auto focus zoom objective.

St. Nicolai was mentioned 1264 for the first time, but it could had existed already in 1223. 1878 the building was renovated and got the second peak of the 83 meter twin tower. The tower and the roof of St. Nicolai were destroyed in 1944 by an air attack. 1980 after excavations and tidying up the reerection started in 1981 and was finished in 1982 with the replacement of the new twin tower.

photos made with Pentax MZ-5 (44kB)

Sundial in the Waisenstr., Berlin-Mitte, Spring 2000

One year before the fall of the wall this sundial within the (former) district Berlin Mitte was installed (within the former East-Berlin, capital of the former GDR). As the clock near the shorter end of the Sonnenallee it is a massive metal work in a modernistic style. The sundial is mounted at a slim building from the 18th or 19th century, nowadays occupied by the theological faculty of the Humboldt University.

The special thing about this sundial is that it has two scales, one showing the local time in roman numbers (claiming to show MET) and one showing the local time plus one in arabic numbers (claiming to show MEST). The image above is referencing to a close-up view (104kB) where the engraving "Meine Zeit steht in deinen Händen" (my time stands in your hands) is readable.

One of a few, if not the only one sundial which is spottable out of the city train is the sundial at the Charite in Mitte. But nevertheless it is difficult to read the time from it if you're in the train. Driving by only takes some seconds and the about 2x2 meter sized dial is about one or two hundred meter away and in a bad angle. It is integrated into the gable of a recently (in the mid 90ies) renovated adminstration building within the southern part of the Charite campus:

photos made with Minox 35ML (60kB) / Olympus E-100RS

Sundial at the Charite as seen from the city train, Berlin-Mitte, Summer 2001

Another restriction is that the time is only displayed at the early day drive-by, because the dial is nearly facing east and with this it is a morning and noon sundial. The picture above is one of the better results of many tries to take a picture of the sundial in mid July. A photo two months later from within the campus was done at 12:49 MEST, but the shown time was somewhat exactly 11:30. This is a hint that the clock resp. the golden gnonom of it is not that accurately adjusted, because the real difference to the actual time had to be 8 to 14 minutes heading the "summertime" and not adding to the "summertime".

The picture above was WFS Picture of the Week 44/2001 and its referencing to the already mentioned close-up view (216kB).

To the jd --