Welcome to Mauerpark – a land of glistening trinkets and home to a karaoke bear pit.
Bare with me here when I say this but there is more to Berlin than the ampelmann, hard-hitting parties and the learnings of European history cemented throughout the city. Seek and you shall find the best way to capture the sun, feel a part of the community and collect odd trinkets at Berlin’s biggest flea market Mauerpark.
Mauerpark Flea Market
Located in the Prenzlauer Berg-District, this linear public park stretches almost endlessly with local market stalls and private independent stalls dotting the park every Sunday. It is popular with both Berliners and tourists alike with its treasure trove of goods on offer ranging from retro furniture, old vinyl’s, local art, handmade designs, quirky trinkets, antiques and vintage shopping. If you are like me, you would salivate at the number of vintage clothes that can be found here – I managed to score a retro Adidas jacket and red leather high-top Converse shoes for under €20 each – sweet!
If you get tiresome from all the hunting and walking around – I mean, there is a lot to see – there are small pop up bars with retro furnishings and street food vendors selling local German favourites (currywurst anyone?) ready to perk up your energy levels. Ser Guht!
A brief history
Despite its bright presence on the Berlin scene, it the park itself has a dark past. Its’ name translates to ‘Wall Park’ and it is a world away from its unsettling past as a former section of the Cold War-era ‘Death Strip’ – the space between the walls of East and West Berlin that watchtowers, guard dogs, and even trip-wire-activated machine guns occupied. There is a small fragment of the Berlin Wall that still stands and is made available to local street artists to splash artistic flair.
Bear Pit Karaoke
This park is not only popular with locals but also with people choosing to spend a lazy Sunday picnicking or by getting into the community spirit with a local favourite pastime – community karaoke.
Once the clock strikes 3 pm, the mic is turned on and the music is cranked up. If you ever dreamed of singing in front of a crowd (despite how good or bad your voice may be), head over to the stone amphitheatre nearby for a show like no other with The Bear Pit Karaoke Show. This ever so popular Berlin institution encourages people of all ages and varying talents unleash their Inner Diva or Rock God to the world.
What started out in 2009 has blossomed into an event that attracts thousands every weekend shoulder to shoulder into the outdoor theatre and watching belt out their song. Organizer and founder of The Bear Pit Karaoke Show, Joe Hatchiban, injects humour to host this massive sing-a-long show every Sunday with the aid of battery powered speakers to pluck volunteers from the crowd to take over the microphone. What is best about this community event is seeing the great enthusiasm in The Bearpit (the crowd) with every performance being capped off with a huge round of applause.
I highly recommend making an afternoon of it and getting in early to grab yourself a seat. Kick back with a beer, cider, Club Mate – whatever you fancy – to reel in the lively and positive atmosphere of this unique event.
Mauerpark, Bernauer Straße 63 10435 Berlin zum Stadplan Open: Every Sunday 9 am – 6 pm
Image credit: Hailee Bryne