Temple of kitsch

Need a break from Berlin? You don't need to go far for a small escape. Case in point: just at the end of the S1 and 8 lines, in Hohen Neuendorf, is Himmelspagode – a Chinese pagoda out in Brandenburg. Grab our May issue for more.

Image for Temple of kitsch

Yet to attempt a trip up north, almost all the way to the end of S-Bahn lines 1 and 8, past Frohnau into former Ossi country? There, in the small town of Hohen Neuendorf, a surprise of ginormous dimensions awaits the Berlin visitor: a Chinese pagoda! Commissioned for €6.5 million by elusive investor Wengui Liang Ye in 2002, Himmelspagode is a true-to-scale replica of Beijing’s 1421 Temple of Heaven. But, with all three floors kitted out bottom-to-top with glossy Chinese furniture, marble columns and gold-plated lattice and wall trimmings, the Brandenburg version is a veritable temple of kitsch – as well as a not-so-traditional restaurant. Head to the Chinese mini-cosmos on a weekend and you’ll find it packed with mostly elderly Biodeutsche digging into mountains of fried noodles, as well as sushi and even tiramisu from the popular all-you-can-eat buff et (12-21:30, €21.90). If you order à la carte, you can choose from Chinese staples like baozi (four for €6), spring rolls (€6.50 a piece) or their three-course Peking Duck menu for two (€28 per person) as well as some Thai curries (around €16). The food will come on a little silver trolley pushed by a waiter of Asian descent wearing classical Chinese attire. Once you feel stuff ed like a dumpling, take another moment to admire the gold-glittering chandelier spiralling all the way down the 30m-high building and the koi fi sh populated fountain placed below. Beware: stepping back into the less glamorous reality of East German subrurality might feel like a shock.

Himmelspagode Oranienburger Straße 3, Hohen Neuendorf, Mon-Sun 11:30-23