Potsdamer Platz is an important public square and traffic intersection in the centre of Berlin, Germany, lying about 1 km south of the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. It is named after the city of Potsdam, some 25 km to the south west, and marks the point where the old road from Potsdam passed through the city wall of Berlin at the Potsdam Gate.
After developing within the space of little over a century from an intersection of rural thoroughfares into the most bustling traffic intersection in Europe, it was totally laid waste during World War II and then left desolate during the Cold War era when the Berlin Wall bisected its former location. Since German reunification, Potsdamer Platz has been the site of major redevelopment projects.
To bring together the disjointed city, a large-scale project was initiated after the German reunification to fill in the empty space with large, impressive and modern buildings, housing corporate headquarters, commercial and entertainment venues and upscale apartments. Today, the Potsdamer Platz is a major draw for tourists and a lively hub of Berlin.
Immediately west off Potsdamer Platz begins the Kulturforum, an ensemble of buildings housing cultural institutions built on the outskirts of the former West Berlin, as most of the seats of former cultural institutions of Berlin remained in the East. The buildgins of the Kulturforum represent the various bold styles of architecture of the 1950s and 1960s. The Kulturforum is characterized by its innovative modernist architecture; several buildings are distinguished by the organic designs of Hans Scharoun, and the Neue Nationalgalerie was designed by Mies van der Rohe.