Ackerstr. Market Hall
|The only large cinema in Berlin, dating from the twenties, has been showing its films in the foyer since 1992, due to the dilapidated state of the main studio.
In light of cinema closures during the nineties, it is a miracle that after almost ten years of makeshift viewings and a huge refurbishment project, the cinema with its large viewing hall and smaller studio was reopened in May 2001, albeit with only one third of the seats.
The Babylon cinema was erected between 1927-1929 where, twenty years previously, the Scheunenviertel had been torn down. This legendary quarter, which, from the mid-eighteenth century was a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood, was torn down to make way for building developments around the Bülowplatz. Hans Poelzig built his cinema in the heart of this new development. With 1200 seats, it was considered one of the best cinemas with a viewing balcony in Berlin.
Poelzig was an architect and cinema enthusiast. As well as designing two other cinemas, he also created elaborate film sets for Paul Wegener’s film The Golem: How He Came into the World. With this film the cinema celebrated the reopening in 2001.
Local firms, regional politicians and the administrative body for the preservation of historic buildings all campaigned for the preservation of the cinema and the entire urban planning layout of what is today Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. The cinema scene and the cityscape will greatly benefit from this decision which, in this part of Mitte district, has proven to be a thoughtful contrast to the over-polished and soulless town planning of the rest of the area.