“Berlin ist mehr ein Weltteil als eine Stadt” ~”Berlin is rather a part of the world than a city“
Jean Paul, writer, 1800
Divided for close to three decades by the infamous Berlin Wall, Berlin developed with two hearts beating distinctly different tunes. Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the city’s reunification, Berlin has been incorporating its two distinct halves into a gloriously diverse whole: more than any other European capital, Berlin is recognized as a city that is constantly changing, evolving, and reinventing itself. Architecture, much of it in glass and steel, is in evidence everywhere, but the city’s many parks, canals and forest-rimmed lakes are still its most evocative real estate. Berlin’s population of over three million makes it the second most populous city in the European Union, and no matter what a visitor’s reason for visiting the city, they will certainly find more than they expected. The city is full of history but with a slightly off-beat twist, and its unique mix of cultural highlights is unrivaled.
A Feast for the Senses
- Sights — Modern architecture and ageless art; the Reichstag and its glass dome; Potsdamer Platz; Schloss Charlottenburg; remnants of the Berlin Wall; The Pergamon Museum with its famous altar; the contemporary collection at Hamburger Bahnhof; the famous bust of Nefertiti at the Neues Museum; the Jewish Museum, with its massive architectural deconstructed Star of David, housing two millennia of German Jewish history.
- Tastes — Renowned Michelin stare fare at Fischer’s Fritz; delectable schnitzel at Alpenstuck; authentic wurst at shabby chic Das Meisterstuck; elaborate Vietnamese dishes at Monsiour Voung
- Sounds — Take in a cabaret or a musical at the Wintergarten, Das Variete or Bar jeder Vernunft or experience more modern tunes while dancing to the rhythms of house and funk at Sage Club
- Activities — Walking is probably the best way to experience Berlin’s large footprint: stroll along Unter den Linden or around the trendy Oranienburger Strasse and Hackescher Markt areas; shopping along Friedrichstrasse or Kurfurstendamm; strategically positioned nightclubs and cafes along the shores of the Spree River behind the Reichstag.
Best side trip from Berlin
Called “Florence at the Elbe” due to its idyllic location on the river’s banks, downtown Dresden was almost completely destroyed during World War II, but is working hard to regain some of its former glory. All important landmarks have been restored to their original grandeur, including the Frauenkirche and majestic Semper Opera. The 18th century Zwinger Palace is one of the finest examples of late Baroque architecture in Germany. Located 120 mi/195 km south of Berlin, Dresden should be included in any itinerary of eastern Germany, and it is a perfect one-night stopover on trips between Berlin and Prague, Czech Republic.
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