Only in Berlin by Duncan J.D. Smith

142 48 Bridge of Unity, Bridge of Spies District VI (Steglitz-Zehlendorf), the Glienicke Bridge (Glienicker Brücke) RE1, RE7 Wannsee or S1, S7 Wannsee, then Bus 118 Glienicker Brücke The Glienicke Bridge (Glienicker Brücke), which crosses the Havel on the border between Berlin and Potsdam, seems a quiet and almost inconsequential place today. Appearances, however, can be deceptive since the bridge is one of Germany’s most storied. By the mid-17 th century the growth of Berlin-Cölln, the capital of the March of Brandenburg, had been checked by a series of plagues and famines, as well as the ravages of the Thirty Years War (1618– 1648). The population had fallen to just 6000 and Potsdam was viewed as little more than a remote island a day’s coach journey away, and then accessible only across a wooden bridge. Things started to change with the accession of Frederick William, the Great Elector (1640–1688), whose linking of the Spree and Oder rivers turned Berlin into the hub of Brandenburg trade. In 1660 Frederick William selected Potsdam as his secondary residence (after Berlin) with a daily coach link between the two royal capitals inaugurated in 1754. The introduction in 1838 of a rail link between Berlin and Potsdam prompted the construction of a new, sturdier bridge, which was under- taken in 1831–1834 to a design by the architect Carl Frederick Schinkel (1781–1841). The stone bridge had a wooden section that could be raised to allow steamers to pass along what had now become a busy waterway. However, as the volume of traffic using the bridge increased so in 1904 a competition was held to design a new steel suspension bridge, which opened on 16 th November 1907 (a graceful colonnade from the original stone bridge still stands on the Potsdam side of the river). After being damaged in late April 1945 the bridge was reopened in December 1949, shortly after the foundation of the German Demo- cratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany, whose borders ran across it: as such it was named the Brücke der Einheit (‘Bridge of Unity’). From now on the bridge was primarily used by the Allies as a link between their Berlin zones of occupation and the military liaison missions in Potsdam (residents of Berlin and Potsdam preferred to use the S-Bahn). District VI