Once a city divided, Berlin has torn down the wall (both literally and symbolically) and the two sides have come together, creating a city that is simply unlike anywhere else in the world. Berlin suffered greatly in both World Wars and up to the time the Berlin Wall was pulled down, but since then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, has risen once more to be a true delight. It became one of Europe's most exciting cities and the unified Germany's capital, crammed with opera houses, theatres, art galleries, museums and vibrant nightclubs, as well as some of the world's most famous landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie and Unter den Linden Boulevard.
City full of life that breathes powerfully despite the many vicissitudes of time that has been exposed in its long history. Since it was founded as a fishing village until its conversion into headquarters of the Prussian court, has always been obligatory reference in the history of Europe. During the Second World War the city was destroyed almost completely, and remained divided into two zones. The allies took the west, traditional neighborhoods of bars, shops and hotels, while the Soviets took the eastern part, where there are neighborhoods in the former imperial city now and after unification, Berlin became the capital of Germany in their own right. Its spectacular growth returns to a place as one of major world cities.
In the two decades, Berlin has undergone an artistic and stylish redevelopment, but without destroying the remaining historical sites that compels those tourists who love history. Stylish and artistic youngsters walk the streets alongside WWII veterans retracing their old steps, whilst the older traditional German generations chatter on street corners. It is a city with a good combination of traditional elements alongside the glamour and glitz of modern bars, nightclubs and theatres, making sure there is something for everyone.
The cultural diversity of Berlin has a great tradition (some for the New York Europe), which includes the formidable heritage exhibited in the Museum Island, the Cultural Forum, or the collections gathered in the neighborhood of Dahlem, all samples of world cultural category. The three opera houses, the celebrated Philharmonic Orchestra and the many theaters, auditoriums and libraries determine the reputation of the city as cultural capital of Europe. Besides Berlin exerts a strong attraction between novice artists from around the world, many of which are set in the German capital with their proposals and enrich the creative, dynamic and avant-garde art scene in Berlin.
Berlin’s tourism is big business and if you only have a limited amount of time in the city then there are tours which are designed to guide you round the highlights. Cultural and historical attractions are aplenty here and one of the popular first choices is the Bradenburger Tor. When the Berlin Wall fell, most people flocked to the Bradenburger Gate. Commissioned by King Fredrick II of Prussia, it took its inspiration from the Acropolis in Athens, and the widest part was only used by royalty. Today, it is a true historical delight in a city that has suffered terribly throughout the ages.
The avenue Karl Marx - Karl Marx Allee, now known as Marx or Karl-Marx-Allee is a long-style boulevard that leads to Moscow Piazza Alexanderplatz. An avenue full of buildings pachyderm reminiscent of the times separated by the Berlin Wall.
The Anne Frank Zentrum is a museum dedicated to one little girl who has touched the lives of millions all around the world. A ten year old German-Jewish girl who was hidden away with her family to escape the German death camps during WWII, she was inevitably caught, but the diary she left behind chronicles her story. This museum uses photos and artefacts to retell her poignant story and the dramatic impact she has had ever since her diary was found and published.
A trip to the city would not be complete without first making a tour of all the WWII sites, of which there are many. Some of the best include the Gruselkabinett Berlin, a shelter which was once part of a series of bunkers including Hitler’s; the Denkmal für Homosexuelle NS Opfer, the official memorial dedicated to all the homosexuals who were brutally ostracized under the Nazis; and the Holocaust Denkmal, where 2711 sarcophagi rises in solemn stillness to pay tribute to all the Jewish people who were tortured and murdered. No matter which WWII memorial you visit, you cannot leave without being moved to the point of tears.
For those wanting a lighter touch of history, Berlin has many that will make your heart soar as high as the birds. Glienicke Palace, located in the southwest of the city, is an architect’s and gardener’s dream come true. Prince Carl of Prussia returned from Italy with grand ideas of building a magnificent Italian villa. He hired a man named Schinkel to reshape an estate with a garden designed by Peter Joseph Lenné and the result was this amazing palace and park. There is also a tour and a restaurant here so you can enjoy the whole day around this romantic and scenic piece of the city.
Known in English as the Horseshoe Colony, the Hufeisensiedlung is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which draws tourists to it like a magnet. It is a delight for anyone interested in modern architecture. It was designed in the 1920s and consists of around 1000 flats with balconies in a building shaped like a horseshoe. The three-storey high building was built around a park and is considered one of the earliest humanitarian attempts to battle the depression and depravity of high-density housing.
Intimate little restaurants and cafes designed for romance are found next to stylish and trendy wine-bars; traditional eateries serving the best homemade German dishes can be located next to the hippest nightclubs in town. No matter where you go in this city, you will not be disappointed in either the food or the setting. Berlin has its own special recipes, although German food can be a little on the heavy side. For a tradition slice of Berlin food, try the Currywurst, the Bratkartoffeln and the Schmalzstulle.
Hotels in Berlin can be both reasonable and high depending on where in the city you want to stay and what type of accommodation you desire. Hostels here are the cleanest and cheapest in Europe, and the most safe and comfortable. Hotels vary from the mid-range to high, from comfortable three stars to luxurious five stars, from stylish modern buildings to those historical structures infused with olde-worlde charm.
Berlin is a city where you cannot escape from its past, its vibrancy and its unique character. It is a destination that has so many historical and cultural attractions that you need to return here time and time again just to see everything and do everything there is to do.