Berlin – the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany – was founded in the 13th century as a trading post on the River Spree. King Friedrich I of Prussia made Berlin his royal residency and capital of Brandenburg-Prussia. After the founding of the German Empire in 1871, Berlin became the political, industrial, scientific, academic and cultural centre of Germany.
During WWII Berlin was devastated by Allied bombing and the subsequent invasion of over a million Russion soldiers in the final battle. Berlin was then devided into four sectors, ruled by the USA, UK, France and the USSR. With the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 the Soviet controlled eastern part of Berlin was cut off from West Berlin and both cities took a totally different route until the fall of the wall in 1989 and the reunification in the following year.
Berlin, today, is one of the most dynamic, most creative, multicultural and most exciting cities in Europe. With three opera houses, two concert halls and eight symphony orchestras – more than in any other city in the world – Berlin is a city of cultural superlatives. Over 150 theaters and playhouses offer boulevard theater, opera, classics of world literature as well as the young creative “Off-Scene”. The Friedrichstadtpalast, Europe’s largest and most modern revue theater, four major musical theaters and many cabarets provide top class entertainment 7 nights a week. Annual highlights include the International Film Festival “Berlinale”, the Berlin Festival Weeks or the Berlin Jazz Festival.
The most prominent building in German politics. Since 1999 the Reichstag is seat of the “Bundestag”, the German Parliament. Visitors can use a spiralling ramp up to the top to have a wonderful view of the city.
Brandenburg Gate is probably the most well-known landmark in Berlin. It now stands as a symbol of the reunification of the two sides of this great city. The building was constructed in 1791, commisioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II to represent peace. The gate was incorporated into the Berlin wall during the years of Communist government. Museumsinsel
Museum Island hosts some of Berlin’s finest museums, including the Pergamon Museum, the National Gallery and the Altes Museum. Museum Island lies between the River Spree and Kupfergraben. The Island was almost completely destroyed during World War II. Kurfürstendamm
Berlin’s most elegant shopping mile is situated centrally in the Wilmersdorf district
Checkpoint Charlie Museum stands close to Checkpoint Charlie. It is a reminder of the many attempts of East Germans to cross over to the West. The museum uses a blend of photographs and film to illustrate the fascinating history of the Berlin Wall and the reality of life in East and West Berlin during the years of communist government and “Cold War”. Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was construced by the Communist government of the former communist Eastern Germany to stop the east Germans fleeing to the West. Today, a few sections of the wall near the Hauptbahnof and the Reichstag have been preserved to remind Berliners of the 28-year division of their city. The remnants of the Berlin Wall now serve as an outdoor gallery of art from local and city artists. Jewish Museum
Designed by American architect Daniel Libeskind, the museum has become famous for its extraordinary design. Inside the museum visitors will find a comprehensive collection of fascinating artefacts documenting the lives of ordinary Jewish people living in Germany between 1848 and 1919. With numerous artworks and exhibits, the Jewish Museum Berlin is a must for those with even a small interest in this country’s history. Berlin, today, is home to the largest Jewish community in Europe.