Europa Center, Berlin Once the crown jewel of West Berlin’s retail establishments, Europa Center now stands as a reminder of post-war 1960s West-Germany. One Man’s Dream Often dubbed the largest and most daring enterprise in all of post-war Germany, the Europa Center was the dream of Karl Heinz Pepper. This loyal Berliner built his shopping center in 1963 and, at that time, it was one of the most modern “malls” in Europe. With room for 100 stores as well as offices, restaurants, and pubs, Europa Center became a popular gathering place for locals and a novel new attraction for visitors. Pepper’s decision to build Europa Center came a day or two after the Berlin Wall was erected. For his project, he chose a section of the city that was described as “an ugly conglomerate of tents, stalls and barracks” in the center of the city. Plans for the center were devised by Professor Helmut Hentrich with artistic assistance offered by the architect of the then-new Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church, Professor Egon Eiermann. Pepper’s dream opened on April 2, 1965. It stood 123.5 meters (405 feet) high, was fully air-conditioned, and boasted its own ice skating rink, a la New York’s Rockefeller Center. Europa Center’s crowning glory was and remains the Mercedes star that sits atop the building. It measures 10 meters (32 feet) in diameter and rotates once every minute. It can be clearly seen from many areas of Berlin. Europa Center Today Though many newer and glitzier malls have sprung up in the city since Europa Center was built, locals still have a soft spot for this Berlin first. Still home to dozens of shops, restaurants, clubs, and cinemas, tons of tourists still stop here to do a little souvenir shopping and to grab a pint at the Irish pub, located in the basement.turkeyarena.com The ice skating rink has been replaced by the Tiffany Café and the Lotus Fountain. The once popular Observation Deck is currently closed but plans to re-open. Visitors, however, can head to the Heliport attraction on the roof, where they can take a 7-minute simulated flight to view the sights of Berlin.