Check out the following places if you plan a visit to the fantastic destination called Berlin.
Built in the late 1700s, the Brandenburg gate is the only surviving city gate of Berlin. The gate is in the western part of Berlin and marks the entrance to Unter den Linden. Used as one of the Berlin Wall crossings, the gate became a site of protest during the division of Germany and a place of celebration when the wall fell in 1989. The gate was severely damaged in World War II and underwent extensive renovation in the early 2000s. Today it is fully restored and is the symbol of not only the turbulent history of the region, but also the reunification of East and West Berlin.
The Reichstag is the seat of the German Parliament and an historic landmark. A fire in 1933 and air raids during the Battle of Berlin in 1945 caused a great deal of damage. The Reichstag sits near the Brandenburg Gate and was not fully restored until after the deconstruction of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification. Some historical scars, such as graffiti left by Soviet soldiers, were left as a tribute to the building’s difficult past. The original building was designed by several architects and the mix of styles in the completed structure was somewhat controversial at the time, but now is appreciated by thousands of visitors each year. The glass dome at the top of the building provides a magnificent view of the city and visitors must register in advance to enter it.
Near the Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial is a simple, but powerful tribute to the Jews that died as a result of Hitler’s extermination plan. The 2,711 slabs are arranged in a wave-like pattern over 205,000 square feet. Each stone is unique, varying from ankle high to over six feet tall. The paths between the slabs undulate with the overall effect being one of instability and disorientation. There is no set pattern and visitors may walk in any direction through the peaceful, quiet stones. At the base of the memorial an underground information center offers information and personal stories of people affected by the actions of the Nazi party.
East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall still in existence. Often described as a memorial to freedom, it showcases paintings of artists from around the world. The artwork, which began appearing in 1990, documents the changing time after the fall of the Berlin Wall as well as expressing hope for the future. Sections of the wall have been moved to facilitate construction and other portions have been damaged by erosion and vandalism.
Five museums comprise Museum Island which is located between the Spree River and Kupfergraben. As with many of the structures in Berlin, the old museum buildings were nearly destroyed during the Second World War but are now open. The Altes Museum displays ancient Greek and Roman artifacts, while the Alte Nationalgalerie houses the largest collection of 19th century paintings and sculptures in Germany. The Nues Museum houses prehistoric pieces and Egyptian art, including the bust of Queen Nefertiti. The Pergamon Museum contains another display of Greek and Babylonian antiquities. The Ishtar Gate and Pergamon Altar are here. Finally, the Bode Museum displays a large collection of sculptures, numismatic collections and a number of paintings.