Courtly romance: a Gothic Revival gem
To describe Pankstrasse in the Berlin district of Wedding as spectacularly unspectacular is probably putting it politely. This 4-lane highway lined with dreary apartment blocks, multi-storey car parks and bland chain stores it isn't exactly easy on the eye.
But the unexpected sight of Wedding's Amtsgericht - or district courthouse - changes things considerably.
Like many of Berlin's municipal buildings, it's a grand historic set-piece, an architectural affirmation of civic authority.
Constructed between 1901 and 1906 in Gothic Revival style, its particularly palatial appearance is no coincidence - the design was influenced by the Albrecht Castle in Meissen, one of Germany's finest late Gothic monuments.
The richly carved main entrance is especially ornate, surmounted by a 3.2 metre-high allegorical representation of Justice.
This symbolic figure was symbolically vandalised in the late 1980s, and eventually replaced by a copy. In any case, it's said that the original was itself more or less a replica, closely based on a figure located in a penal institution in Tegel.
In 1933 the National Socialists added a prominent 'Reichsadler' eagle to the main portal, which remains in place although the garlanded swastika it clutched in its talons has, of course, long since been removed.
All in all, an unexpected sight in an area of Berlin that's generally lacking in architectural eye-candy. But in this case we're talking a fairytale Wedding indeed.
Amstgericht Wedding: Brunnenplatz 1, 13357 Berlin