Swan Hill

Am Schwanenberg
“Schwanenberg” or Swan Hill is a mound of alluvial soil (sandy and mineral-rich) and sweeping dunes. Swans, just one of many types of waterfowl to inhabit the area surrounding the River Spree and Rummelsburg Lake, likely used the hill as a place of rest, which was separated from the town of Stralau by a moat, the “Priest’s Moat.”


In 1878 and 1879, the founder of the Märkisches Museum, Ernst Friedel, the innkeeper Julius Tübbecke, the district representative, pharmacist, and chemist Robert Stöcklein, and the teacher Dr. Liebe organized digs around the peninsula in an effort to learn more about the pre-modern period. They found tools, fragments of glass or pottery, bones, antlers, and horns, but also pile settlements – a sign that buildings once stood here. Beginning in the 7th century, Slavs from the East and the Southeast immigrated here, living off the fish they caught from the surrounding waters. The excavators suspected that this may have been the site of a Slavic fortification intended to secure the nearby ford. Near the town church, these local historians also found remnants of an urn – that is, fragments from an old burial site.

More than 100 years later in 1996/97, traces of a small settlement, likely a farm of some sort from the 13th or 14th century, were found in the course of archaeological digs by the Berlin office for historical preservation (Landesdenkmalamt) at Tunnelstraße.

Between Kirchplatz (the church square) and Swan Hill was the great lawn for public festivities, where the Stralau Fish Haul was celebrated each year on 24 August with an array of tents and plenty of cheer. At Tunnelstraße 20–24 stood the Schwanenberg Inn with a dancehall, a garden at the water’s edge, and its own dock. That things could turn political at this locale at the tip of the island (and elsewhere in Stralau) is illustrated in an ad from 1932: The SAP, a leftist socialist party, celebrated its summer festival at the Schwanenberg Inn, and the “Rote Raketen” (red rockets), a popular agitprop group, took the stage. Today it is simply a peaceful plot of greenery.

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