Historic Berlin is living again with
a City that does not sleep
Berlin I saw in the early 80s is not the Berlin I arrived
into on 11th May 2016. Berlin has certainly been reborn!
The place has become so vibrant that even though The Berlin
Wall fell over 27 years ago in 1989 you cannot help asking
the people of Berlin which was East or West.
1961 and 1989, the Berlin Wall divided East and West Germany
and prevented the mass defection that took place after World
War II. It also acted as a symbolic partition between democracy
and Communism during the Cold War period. The wall was erected
in the middle of the night, but it was torn down just as
quickly 28 years later, leading to Germany’s reunification.
city is still very intriguing and despite all the rebuilding,
it is still in the process of being stitched back together
with a distinct difference in emphasis between former West
and East. The latest attempts to smooth over the division
include the Berlin Mall, a vast shopping centre opened near
Potsdamner Platz and of course Potsdamner Platz itself which
straddles the Wall but now a place of leisure and entertainment.
city is still very intriguing and despite all the
rebuilding, it is still in the process of being stitched
place to admire the City as a whole is to walk up the entire
Friedrichstrasse with a station which was once the Cold
War's strangest border, now Berlin's busiest railway station
and passenger hub. Remnants of the historic wall can still
be found on the streets today.
cannot expect to be bored in Berlin. The streets of
Berlin were buzzing with excitement as I checked into
the NH Collection on Friedrichstrasse,
a major culture and shopping street in central Berlin,
forming the core of the Friedrichstadt neighborhood
and giving the name to Berlin Friedrichstraße
station. The street runs from the northern part of
the old Mitte district (north of which it is called
Chausseestraße) to the Hallesches Tor in the
district of Kreuzberg.
This downtown area of Friedrichstrasse is known for
its posh real estate market and the campus of the
Hertie School of Governance. Due to its north-southerly
direction, it forms important junctions with the east-western
axes, most notably with Leipziger Straße and
Unter den Linden. The U6 U-Bahn line runs underneath.
During the Cold War it was bisected by the Berlin
Wall and was the location of Checkpoint Charlie.
in 1990, this street which was badly damaged during World
War II and only partly rebuilt during the division of Berlin
is now the major culture and shopping street in central
to enjoy Berlin
Arm yourself with a Berlin WelcomeCard together with the
3-day Berlin Museum Pass and there is so much to see and
do. The Berlin WelcomeCard allows you to travel freely on
all public transport. It also offers you outstanding discounts
with over 200 partners which includes restaurants and many
The city is accessible with underground, surface and bus/tram
transportation. It is good to know that accommodation is
also affordable; a short break in Berlin should revitalize
any weary traveller.
to do in Berlin:
Must see monuments
When the decision was made to move the Federal Government
to Berlin, it was also time to reawaken the Reichstag building
from its long years of slumber on the Mauerstreifen, the
military zone between the two sides of the Wall. Now completely
modernised, and today's visitors to the Reichstag can look
out from the building's glass dome to get a bird's eye view
of the hustle and bustle in the city. The Bundeskanzleramt
(Federal Chancellery) and the Brandenburg Gate are with
a doubt, the Brandenburg Gate is Berlin's signature attraction.
Built in 1791, it was just one of many old city gates around
the city of Berlin which, at that time, was still a manageable
size. The decorative Pariser Platz was laid at the foot
of the gate and is now home to many of the city's important
buildings, for example, the Hotel Adlon with its wealth
of history and the Akademie der Künste (Academy of
visiting the Brandenburg Gate, call in at the Gate where
the history of Berlin is laid bare before you in a remarkable
digital detail – very impressive.
is one of the most stunning squares in the city, located
close to Friedrichstraße, Berlin's exclusive shopping
street in the central Mitte district. Three of the most
impressive examples of architecture in the capital city
are to be found here: the Concert House designed by Schinkel
and the German and French Cathedrals (the Deutscher Dom
and the Französischer Dom).
The German Cathedral (Berliner Dom) with
its magnificent dome is a remarkable example the of late
19th century architecture. Near the Cathedral are also the
German Historical Museum and the Museum’s Island.
On the side of Berlin’s boulevard “Unter den
Linden” stands the Catholic St.Hedwigs-Cathedral.
Extending all the way from the ruins of the
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Breitscheidplatz to Berlin's
elegant Halensee neighbourhood, the affectionately termedKu’damm
is the most expensive address in the capital city and home
to the most exclusive brands. Europe's biggest department
store KaDeWe is also situated on the extension of the Ku'damm,
on the street known to locals as the Tauentzien (short for
Tauentzienstrasse). The little ones will just love the Zoological
Garden, Germany's oldest zoo.
The magnificent Charlottenburg Palace is located just out
of the centre of the city. The beautiful palace hosts fine
collections of china and paintings and is situated in the
middle of a picturesque palace garden right next to the
river Spree. If you don't fancy a walk in the park, you
can feed your mind instead in the Charlottenburg museums
located directly opposite.
Museum Island is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites
and home to the city's most important exhibition centres:
the Altes Museum (Old Museum), the Neues Museum(New Museum)
the Bode Museum, the Pergamon Museum and the Alte Nationalgalerie
(Old National Gallery). The collections in these buildings
encompass over 6,000 years of art and cultural history.
The Berlin Wall
Memorial and Documentation Centre
Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial) is located between
the districts of Wedding and Mitte on Bernauer Straße,
consisting of the Memorial to the Victims of the Wall, a
Documentation Centre and the Chapel of Reconciliation. The
surviving section of the wall and watchtower enable visitors
to get a real feel for the reality of the border facilities.
The Memorial has been undergoing extension work in recent
years, the full completion of which is intended for 2014.
the bustling heart of the city before the Second World War,
then a no man's land from 1945 until the fall of the wall,
the history of Potsdamer Platz has been eventful to say
the least. It changed completely after the fall of the wall
in 1989 and is now dominated by the presence of the Sony
Center, skyscrapers and endless shops. What's more, Potsdamer
Platz is the main place to be for stars and celebrities,
and not only during film festivals.
Nightlife in Berlin
nightlife lovers, the choice is endless. Locate the banks
of Spree and you are in for a treat. You can start the evening
with the restaurant and bar the nhow
Berlin with its riverfront attraction. Europe’s
first music hotel, is located right on the bank of the Spree
and at the epicentre of Berlin’s music, fashion and
artistic scene. It is where cosmopolitan business travellers
mix with international jet-setters and the members of popular
party scenes are in Osthafen where the former industrial
port on the Spree, has now established itself as one of
the hottest spots in Berlin. In April 2004, MTV moved into
one of the warehouses in Stralauer Allee, and turned the
quarter into a boom media location.
along Treptow Ufer are many attractions, including the Club
der Visionäre (Visionaries’ Club), the Freischwimmer
(Free Swimmer) Restaurant and the Arena Berlin, home to
concerts, trade fairs and (of course) parties. Anchored
on the bank is the Arena’sBadeschiff (Bathing Ship)
on the Spree, a swimming pool in a container for the summer
and a sauna in winter. Directly at the Oberbaumbrücke
(Oberbaum Bridge) is the legendary Watergate Club.
On Friedrichshainer Ufer along the East Side Gallery there
is one beach bar after the other. You can play beach volleyball
here and wave to the tourists on the Spree pleasure boats.
may also want to explore Auguststrasse, Hackesche Höfe
and Oranienburger Straße. Winterfeldtplatz in Schöneberg
is Berlin’s gay quarter.
the Friedrichstrasse station which is right opposite the
NH Collection in Friedrichstrasse, you can take a train
directly to Oranienburg to visit the Nazi concentration
camp in Oranienburg. Careful though, you may have to break
journeys on the same line at weekends
camp which was established in 1936 is located 35 kilometres
(22 miles) north of Berlin. It was used primarily for political
prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May
1945. After World War II, when Oranienburg was in the Soviet
Occupation Zone, the structure was used as an NKVD special
camp until 1950.
to Berlin can tour the remaining buildings and grounds which
are now open free of charge to the public as a museum and
follow the lives of the prisoners, their dwellings, and
watch movies at the auditorium created to tell their stories.
History comes to light at Sachsenhausen. Detailed and scripted
photographs tells the stories of the prisoners all along
the walls of the camp.
primary position in Oranienburg made it the administrative
centre of all concentration camps and it became a training
centre for Schutzstaffel (SS) officers who would often be
sent to oversee other camps afterwards.
executions took place at Sachsenhausen, especially those
of Soviet prisoners of war. Among the prisoners, there was
a "hierarchy" at the top, criminals (rapists,
murderers), then Communists (red triangles), then homosexuals
(pink triangles), Jehovah's Witnesses (purple triangles),
and Jews (yellow triangles). During the earlier stages of
the camp's existence the executions were done in a trench,
either by shooting or by hanging.