Sights and Attractions - Berlin
Last Updated: 7th Jun 2012
Almost everywhere you look in the city of Berlin you can see evidence of the city growth and change as well as scars from it’s past. Some of the most important buildings, streets and sites have a rich past often masked by their modern incarnations.
The Berlin Wall
The aftermath of the Second World War was an occupied Germany and the ideological conflicts between these occupying powers (mainly the USA and the former USSR) lead to the development of two separate countries, East and West Germany. The division became final and was set in concrete with the Soviets building a wall around West German Berlin in 1961. The Wall stood as a symbol of the Cold War until the disintegration of the Soviet Republics brought about the circumstances that allowed East and West Germany to again combine and tear down their barriers. Today there are still many pieces of the Wall in place throughout the city as a reminder of the times. A coble stone line through the city also traces the path of the former Wall.
The most famous of all the crossing points, Checkpoint Charlie was the only crossing point between East and West Berlin ‘open’ to civilians. Today is home to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum and a replica of the old US crossing checkpoint.
The Jewish Memorial
Only opened in 2005 and dedicated to the Jews murdered by the Nazis, this huge ocean of 2711 marble slabs resides in the middle of the city.
Once of the few Imperial buildings in the city to survive the bombings of the Second World War, this huge green domed church is the burial place for many of the German Royal family and is one of the biggest Protestant churches in the world.
The Brandenburg Gate
The old Royal gates to the city became a symbol of Prussian Imperial domination and featured in the 1918 revolution. Badly damaged during the Second World War, it stood in the no mans land between East and West Berlin before it became the site of the biggest parties to celebrate the reunification of Germany. Still today it is easily the most important National Symbol for the German people and is an icon of not only the city, but the entire country.
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church resides near the Zoo Station in the west of Berlin. The church was commissioned by King Wilhelm II and was destroyed during the allied bombing raids of the Second World War. The church remains as it was at the end of the War as a reminder of the period. The locals refer to it as the ‘hollow tooth’ because it looks like a tooth whose filling has fallen out. A distinctive and provocative Berlin landmark it also has strong ties with Coventry Cathedral in England, also bombed by a Nazi air raid .
The main square of the old East Berlin and home to one of the symbols of supposed Eastern socialist superiority – the Berlin TV Tower (German: Fernsehturm). This 365 meter high ‘toothpick’ towers above the city and provides excellent views of the whole city and a great revolving restaurant.
The Reichstag and Tiergarten
The Reichstag building is home to the German National Parliament. Burned down in an attack that allowed the Nazis to begin taking a strangle hold on the country, bombed during the Second World War it has been repaired and the glass dome is some of the most famous work of modern architectural genius Sir Norman Foster, who has also left his distinctive glass covered mark on cities like London, New York and Dallas.
The Tiergarten is a huge park in the center of Berlin. Once a Royal hunting ground is cut in half by one of the cities main boulevards and is also home to the Victory Column (German: Siegessaule), the Russian Monument, and the Bismarck Memorial.
This is one of the main squares of Berlin and during the 1920’s was one of the coolest places in the city. Bombed to absolute rubble and caught in the middle of no mans land during the division of the city, it now again one of the cultural centers of the city. Totally and thoroughly modern it is home to shops, restaurants and cinemas. The modern, cutting edge architecture here is amazing and is most famously home to the Sony Center.