On our first night in Berlin we decided to visit the heart of the city. One of the places we like the most was the Brandenburg Gate. The driver was so nice!! He took a few pictures and became one of us, the truth that the people there are very friendly. I recommend that if you can, take a limousine tour around the city.
This memorial is moving and deeply saddening. It conveys a feeling that is hard to explain. When you visit, please remember what this place is and be respectful. I saw tourists running around, climbing on the concrete slabs. The security guard had to address some of these tourists so they would stop.
The Berlin Wall was one of the most surprising and fun parts of my trip there. My impression of the wall, and Berlin in general, was from spy movies. You know, a grim, grey area lines by trench-coated guards and razorwire. But, today, the Berlin Wall is basically a massive mural that injects a shot of color into the heart of the city. You can find lots of people just hanging out, painting, admiring the wall, or lounging in the grass. The best part of the Wall is called the East Side Gallery and it’s pretty easy to find. Checkpoint Charlie is nearby as well and makes for a pretty cool visit for history buffs and right down the road is the Holocaust Museum.
The television tower (Fernsehturm) is the tallest building around Berlin, and from which you can enjoy the best views of the city on a clear day. The tower, which became operational in 1969, was one of the symbols of East Germany overlooking the capitalist West Berlin, and was a sign of the greatness of technological innovation in the country. The viewing deck is located more than 200 meters above the ground, but the antenna goes up to 368 m. You can ascend in an elevator for 10 euros, a trip that takes 40 seconds. There is a rotating restaurant at the top, but to be honest it's a bit pricey for what it is.
The triumphal column at the end of Tiergarten park is great and can be seen along the entire Grosser Stern Avenue. Although not very large it fits perfectly with the area's spirit: wide avenues, magnificent parks and major buildings, we are on the occidenal side of Berlin! This column was originally in front of the Reichstag but was moved to its current location by the Nazi government in 1938. Interestingly, and unknown to many, is that it can be accessed inside, the views from the observation deck at the top of the column are magnificent.
The history of Germany has called my attention for years. It's incredible that a country that was totally destroyed, is now up and really a powerhouse. The Berlin Wall is awesome and now only remains as a representation of that story (a story that hopefully won't happen again).
Very close to the East Side Gallery, on the Spree River (which divides western and eastern Berlin) is this beautiful nineteenth century bridge. Its structure was concrete, but the red bricks that cover it give it a Moorish and Gothic style. Before Berlin unified, the bridge was closed to traffic for more than 12 years and used only by people with the necessary documentation. After the fall of the Wall, the bridge re-opened and is now a symbol of freedom and brotherhood. It is worth spending a little time on the western side of the wall for a view of the river Spree.
This small building, completed in 1818, is on the famous Unter den Linden (under the linden trees) in Berlin. In the middle of the building under on open oculus is Käthe Kollwitz's statue "Mother with dead son" (also called La Pieta Kollwitz) that's exposed to the sun, rain and snow. The gaudy monument might go unnoticed, however, it's a great reminder of victims of war and dictatorship and it symbolizes Berlin's suffering during World War II and, especially on dark days when covered by snow, it reflects how vulnerable human beings are. Here Berliners meet whenever a mishap occurs to remind all the defenseless, carrying flowers - it's a place of reflection for all.
Berlin-Mitte (or Mitte) is Berlin's main business district (mitte means center in German). This district is also home to the historic city center and includes some of the most important tourist sites such as Museum Island, the Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden and the Reichstag. You'll find everything there.
Located in Gendermenmarkt, this neoclassical jewel is one of the best buildings in Berlin by the famous architect Schinkel. The magnificent theater was built 1818-1821 around the ruins of the former National Theatre, destroyed by fire. Shinkel took care of both the structure and the interior details, even the doorknobs! After World War II, the building had to be restored and was adapted as a musical auditorium and today the Konzerthaus is home to the famous Berlin Symphony Orchestra. This is a wonderful building, especially when it's getting dark, the streetlights go on and yellow light illuminates the beautiful facade. It's a building with details that you have to stop and contemplate.
The museum was founded by Dr. Rainer Hildebrandt (a human rights activist) and was inaugurated in October, 1962.
Today the museum takes up more than 2000 square meters and is filled with documents, graphics and objects that show all the ways in which people tried to cross the wall and what it represented.
The museum is open seven days a week, from 9 am to 10 pm. The price of the entry is 12.50 € for adults, 9.50 € for students and 6.50 € for children between the ages of 7 and 18.
Situated in Mitte neighborhood, on Oranienburger Strasse, is one of the most beautiful buildings in Berlin. Built 1859-1866 in the Moorish style, it's Germany's largest center of Jewish worship with a capacity of 3,000. A golden dome crowns the building and the façade decorations are made of brick. During the 1938 Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) the synagogue was badly damaged, like during the bombing of 1943. The Nazis used it as a stable and for storage but it reopened in 1953 as the seat of the Jewish community during the communist regime of the GDR.
The Bebelplatz formerly known as Opernplatz is a large square at the end of Unter Den Linde, opposite the Brandenburg Gate. It has the Municipal Opera, hence its previous name. On the other side is the Humboldt University, the oldest in the city, and St. Hedwig's Cathedral, a Roman Catholic Cathedral of Berlin. Great for appreciating these monuments. The new name of the square relates to August Bebel, president of the German Social Democratic Party in the nineteenth century. But the place is older, built in 1741, during the reign of Frederick II of Prussia. The square is famous as the site where the Nazis burned 20,000 books in the library of the Humboldt University. A hole in the ground with empty library shelves serves as a reminder.
With 30 meters high, this sculpture looks like it is floating slightly in the river Spree. But it weighs about 45 tons, and is not really transparent or light. It was devised by the famous American artist Jonathan Borofsky, and has been here in Berlin since 1199. Three silhouettes of men, made from aluminum. The three men stand together, clasping their hands and forearms which disappear, as if forming a single person. The artist wanted to teach that all men in the world can come together to form one thing, and achieve fulfillment. Installed after the reunification of the city, and still imbued with strength. It was sponsored by the Allianz Group.
Nicolai Viertel is the neighborhood of Nicolas, located in the historical center of Berlin. Not much is left of the real old town, built around the small Roman church Nicolas Church. Most of it was destroyed by Allied bombs during World War II. But after the war, this part that belonged to East Germany was rebuilt to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the city. A blend of historic and modern buildings, residential. Located beside the River Spree, the neighborhood is very nice for a drink or dinner at night. Some of the restaurants are very old.
Berlin, as a great city has several parks among which is the great Treptow Park, located southeast of the District of Mitte. Is a little out of the way but worth a visit. See the country's recent history, in the ideals represented in the giant Soviet Red Army monument. It was built between 1946 and 1949 and stands on the grave of 5,000 Soviet soldiers fallen in the battle for Berlin in 1945. The entrance is marked by a large sculpture, covered with pieces of red granite extracted by the Soviets Hitler's chancellery and used in this monument. There is access to a large landscaped walkway in the center where there is a tomb for Russian soldiers and large stones with carvings of soldiers in various positions. At the end of the ride is the mausoleum. Reach the high tower by a staircase headed by a sculpture of 11 m high, where a soldier has a child in her lap and rests on a swastika.
In the 1930s Potsdamer platz was one of the liveliest places in the city with hotels, restaurants and shops. However, with the division of Berlin, the square was heavily destroyed by bombing, it's at the junction of the British, American and Soviet sectors. It's a desert town, a no man's land between the two walls. In Potsdamer Square you can find several fragments of the wall and a control tower which is about Erna Berger Strasse. You can see the wall "below", that is the part that was buried in the ground to reinforce the structure, and as the pieces are cut loose you can see the inner structure. An exhibition shows you how was the square with the wall, a large desert. These pieces are in their original position and if you look on the ground there's a stripe running across the square, and you see the same lines everywhere in the city, along the old wall.
A very nice neighborhood of the former West Berlin. The reason the village was developed can be attributed to the castle, the summer residence of the kings of Prussia. Today it is still one of the main reasons why tourists come to Charlottenburg. The M45 bus is direct from the plaza of the zoo. The castle has a very nice garden. The south is one of the richest areas of Berlin with beautiful homes. The northern part is more popular. A large Russian community, and 80% of the Jews living today in Berlin, some 25,000 people. Charlottenburg was the heart of West Berlin before the fall of the wall. Stops at U-Bahn and S-Bahn. A part of the castle, is the Olympic Stadium, built by Hitler for the 1936 games, typical construction of the Nazis, which supposedly recalls the splendor Greek and Roman civilizations. Still used for sporting events. Anyway, Savignyplatz, a place with luxurious restaurants and bars.