June 03, 2006


I missed being there, watching live the opening ceremonies of the Europe's largest train station, the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. The ceremonies included a live concert and a spectacular laser show which attracted some 500,000 people and the grand opening in the early hours of 27th of May (midnight of 26th) (video clip).

But I was also lucky because on that night hell broke loose as a 16 year old drunken schoolboy went on a knife stabbing frenzy among the spectators and injured 28 people. People were also shocked to learn that one of his first victims was a carrier of AIDS, prompting fears that all who suffered stab wounds and those who treated them can be affected with the tainted blood in the knife. Over 50 people will have to wait six month anxiously to know whether they are infected or not.

However I went there after a couple of days. It has five stories. The 2nd level of underground and the top level have many tracks in four directions. The three levels in between contain shops of all major international brands (from Mcdonalds to Espirit). The train informations are all on multiple digital screens in various places, which look better than many international airports. Only the loudspeakers are in a high volume and needs adjustment. The glass domes are three and a half football fields long. No wonder, it took ten years and billions of Euros to build it. Here are more pictures of the station from Flickr.

People used to know this station as Lehrter Hauptbahnhof (empty main station). Now it has been renamed to Hauptbahnhof. Berlin's Zoological Garden station has lost its importance. I was reminded by my co-rider in an S-bahn that it is a pride of the Berliners.


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