A city like Berlin that has changed more than its fair share over the last 250 years has to learn to repurpose its spaces. The RAW Gelände is just such a case of successful repurposing.

When it opened in the 1860s, it was the Service Yard of the Royal Railways. After 2 name changes and several change of owners, it is today a place of alternate culture in Berlin with restaurants, bars, clubs, sports facilities, art studios and lots and lots of impressive graffiti.

RAW Gelande Building
RAW Gelande Graffiti

The area operates with the moto “provision of high quality culture in a low-threshold acceptable way”. And this is very clear when you walk onto the premises and see buildings in all stages of disrepair.

Do not this appearance fool you though. This place is thriving today due to the patronage of the alternative community of Berlin as well as tourists from all over the world. Some of the facilities feature of the top 10 lists of things to do and places to visit in Berlin.

Amidst the delightful graffiti and bold colours, there is a monument to Franz Stenzer and Ernst Thälmann, communists who lost their lives under the Nazi regime, a relic of the time when the yard came under Soviet East Berlin.

RAW Gelande Graffiti

As you walk through the complex late on a holiday night, you will be assaulted by the smell of contraband drugs and the muted sound of loud music from many of its buildings.

For those of you who aren’t creatures of the night, there is an antique furniture store, art galeries with regular exhibitions and events as well as opportunities for participation in skating, rock climbing, etc.