Bernau bei Berlin (English Bernau near Berlin) is a German city in the Barnim district. The city is located about 10 km (6.25 miles) northeast of Berlin.
Archaeological excavations of Mesolithic prove the fact that this place has been inhabited since about 8800 BCE. The city was mentioned first in 1232. The true reasons of the foundation are not known. Concerning a legend Albert I of Brandenburg has permitted the city to be founded in 1140 because of the good beer which has been offered to him. It is true that beer has been brewed with the water of the river Panke. Therefore it was forbidden by law to pollute this river with waste and excrements before the days the brewing took place.
Bernau had its boom years before the Thirty Years' War. Large parts of the defensive wall with town gate and wet moats are relics of that time. These helped Bernau defend itself successfully against attackers, e.g. the Hussites in 1432. After times with pest and war Bernau was poor and bleak. Frederick I of Prussia settled 25 Huguenotic families (craftsmen, farmers, traders and scientists) in 1699.
In 1842 a railway line was opened. One of the first electrical suburban railway lines in the world has been opened in 1924. This line of the Berlin S-Bahn connected Bernau with station Stettiner Bahnhof (today Berlin Nordbahnhof) in Berlin. The Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (ADGB) (General German Confederation of Trade Unions) opened its school in 1930. The Waldsiedlung (engl. residential area in the wood) is a district of the city where the political leaders of the GDR lived isolated from the people.
The museum of local history has two locations. One is the town gate with the former prison Hungerturm (engl. Tower of Hunger). It is one of formerly three town gates, that were part of the defensive wall. Today armours and instruments of torture of the Middle Ages are shown there. Common furniture of several epochs and utensils of the executioner are exhibited in the Henkerhaus (engl. executioner's house) to demonstrate the life in the small town.
In 2005 the Wolf Kahlen Museum opened. Media art from 40 years is shown.