Europe’s city that truly never sleeps, Berlin is both a vibrant capital of modernity and constant innovation, as well as a city where history has carved its scars in steel, stone and fire. Emerging from the devastation of two world-wars and the divisive Wall, Berlin is today a unified city where each area boasts its own distinct take on life in a lively metropolis.
A microcosm of the diversity and modernity of Germany, Berlin is a welcoming and vibrant place where all interests are catered. Newcomers to the city should start their Berliner experience at the Brandenburg Gate, which, more than anything symbolises the last century of German history and the eventual re-unification of the country in 1989.
Immediately south of the building stands the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe. An emotional monument to the horrors committed by the Nazis during World War II, the rectangular stone beckons a moment of reflection.
For further information on this dark part of history, head to the Topography of Terror just south of the memorial. Whilst in the area, visitors should also pay a visit to the infamous Checkpoint Charlie, which used to be one of the few border crossings between East and West Germany during the Cold War, and now is a poignant reminder of the absurd division that cut through the city for over 40 years. For lesser-known historical sights, head to Treptower Park and see the gigantic Soviet War Memorial, or venture, through guided tours, up to thetop of the now-abandoned Teufelsberg –or Devil’s Mount, from where you can gaze across the Berlin skyline and the surrounding woodlands.
If by now, you feel like you’ve had your fill of modern history, head to some of the trendier parts of the city. On a sunny day, hang out in the vast Tempelhof, a former airport and now an overgrown, impromptu park in Berlin, pretend to be a local in one of the bars and cafés in Kreuzberg or head to the Berlinische Galerie in the Mitte-area for a spot of modern art. Alternatively, you can also ramble through the Tiergarten or go shopping in the grand KaDeWe in Kurfurstendamm. Berlin is a vast urban space, and the further you venture into it, the more you discover. Every area has its own charm and sights and you will never be far from something captivating or truly unique. Examples of this include the abandoned dinosaurs in Spreepark and the Hall of Mirrors at Clarchens Ballhaus as well as the Tajikistan Tea Room near the equally stunning Pergamonmuseum. Every day, Berlin bids you wilkommen to your very own adventure.
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