• LOCATION 11 | Templars, Bunkers and Prussian Glory: A Walking Tour of West Kreuzberg

    The Vineyard

    Okay, now stop here for a moment.

    This lush green hedge has another story to tell: it's a vineyard.

    It's admittedly small but respectfully ancient: wine has been produced on this site since the Middle Ages!

    The Templars from Tempelhof saw the sandy slope and grabbed the opportunity. They did the same in today's Schöneberg and Neukölln. It wasn't until the 18th century that extreme winters killed all the plants.

    The grapevines returned in the 1990s, and bottles of Kreuz-Neroburger can be obtained in exchange for a donation at the local town hall.

    [1,5 SECOND PAUSE]

    Now turn left and walk back up the street. As you walk, I'll tell you a little story about Zuse and his next computer, the Z4.

    Zuse's original Z3 was destroyed by a bomb which hit the house where it was built. To save his next machine from the same fate, he arranged to get it out of Berlin.

    By 1944 Berlin was experiencing regular air-raids, so Zuse had to act fast. It verged on a miracle but he managed to get a shipping permit. Then he and his helpers brought the crates holding the machine to the station, and began loading them onto a train.

    But they were stopped by military guards.

    Zuse presented all necessary papers and hoped for the best. In vain. The guards wouldn't budge. A loud word-exchange followed, and a passing high-rank Nazi officer stopped and demanded an explanation. Zuse produced his official permit again and told the man he was allowed to put that machine on the train.

    The officer quickly skimmed the document and his face went white. He returned the papers to Zuse, screamed at the soldiers to load the crates asap and, having saluted, quickly left the platform. Zuse's computer reached Göttingen a couple of days later.

    But what actually happened at Görlitz Railway Station back in Berlin? Well, Konrad Zuse never called his own machines anything like Zuse 3 or Z4 – he called them Versuchsprojekt, meaning test project. And that's what he put in the papers, using an abbreviation.

    But the officer assumed that the letter V referred to a super-secret Nazi rocket-missiles project carried by German engineers at the Baltic Sea in Pennemünde. V1 and V2 were meant to wipe London or even New York off the face of the earth.

    V4 sounded highly explosive, and the officer didn't want to get in the line of fire.

    Continue walking straight.

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Templars, Bunkers and Prussian Glory: A Walking Tour of West Kreuzberg