A Walk Among Countries

It is expected from a capital city to host numerous embassies. What may not be expected, however, is the beautiful architecture of these diplomatic spaces. Found clustered between the west end of the Tiergarten and Potsdamer Platz, are 20 embassies. All within walking distance, this small sample of Berlin’s embassies emphasise the best architecture from their respective countries.

The stunning Nordic Embassy on Rauchstraße is hard to miss. Designed by the Finnish-Austrian architects, Berger and Parkkinen, the exterior is open and friendly, with its eye-catching 230m long green belt and exposing glass. To unite the five Nordic embassies of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, is the public Felleshus, Danish for “house for everybody”. Found at the entrance of the building, it boasts a wonderful canteen and café, as well as hosting regular events and exhibitions.

Facing this spectacular building is the Syrian Embassy. Shuttered windows and a constant police presence, it is a total contrast to the openness of the Nordic structure. That being said, it is an elegantly designed building, with a curved balcony and graceful wall panels. Contrasting this unassuming style is the magnificent United Arab Emirates Embassy. A fantastic example of Arabic and Islamic architecture, it features arched windows, star patterned walls and streaks of gold, making it an arresting sight on Hiroshimastraße.

On the same street lies the rosy pink Italian Embassy. Built from designs made in 1938, the façade is influenced by the Renaissance period, with six impressive columns dominating the front porch. Its style differs from the neighbouring architecture of the South African Embassy, the first to be built after the end of the Apartheid in 1997. A prototype of the country’s architecture, it beautifully blends modernity with tradition. Almost all of the materials used originate from South Africa, including the warm and welcoming sandy façade.

Further down is the Austrian Embassy, constructed by countryman Hans Hollein. Divided into three parts, the most striking section is the curved wall dominating the corner of Tiergartenstraße and Stauffenbergstraße, resembling green fish scales. Not as large, but equally as impressive, is the nearby Egyptian Embassy. Designed by Egyptian architects, this grand building is clad in shiny brown marble, with elegant depictions of papyrus plants and lotus flowers. The images represent the two Ancient Egyptian capitals of Upper and Lower Egypt, respectively.

As well as being remarkable structures, these embassies also stand as international symbols of friendship and unity.

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