Excavations Shed Light on History of Cölln

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What is today's sprawling metropolis of Berlin was once a virtually uninhabited, sandy area surrounded by bogs and impenetrable forests. Nevertheless, a margrave and a Slavic nobleman once crossed swords over this unattractive, rather uninviting patch of land.

There were few roads, but that didn't deter those tireless souls who settled in the region sandwiched between Teltow and Barnim more than 800 years ago.

German historian Wolfgang Fritze once said that it is "hard to imagine that the seemingly fanciful plan to build a town in a heavily disputed and sparsely populated border region could ever succeed."

And, yet, two towns arose there -- one named Berlin, the other Cölln -- separated by the River Spree, though connected by a bridge -- the Mühlendamm -- which stands to this day....

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