Sights in Berlin

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Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

Joseph Hollick

Berlin has many sights in which are visited everyday by many locals and tourists

In fact, Berlin has not only one center but several, and sights are spread all over the area. In the western part, between the Ku’damm (Kuken) and Tegel Airport is Schloss Charlottenburg, the Baroque palace with English gardens that Frederick I built for his wife Sophie-Charlotte. The Egyptian (Ägyptisches) Museum and Papyrus Collection, which houses the famous 3000-year-old bust of Nefertiti, moved from the area in August 2005 and has returned to the Museum Island in Mitte.

Other cultural gems are concentrated in the Dahlem Museum complex and the Kulturforum. The Dahlem complex is located in a quiet southwest neighborhood near the Free University of Berlin, and has art museums with works by Old Masters and ethnographic museums displaying artifacts from all over the world. The Kulturforum in the district of Tiergarten encompasses the New National Gallery designed by Mies van der Rohe, the Museum of Decorative Arts (Kunstgewerbemuseum), Copper Engraving Museum (Kupferstichkabinett), New State Library, and the Philharmonie. The House of World Cultures (Haus der Kulturen der Welt) in the former Kongresshalle has contemporary art exhibits from all over the world, and is an architecturally interesting building as well.

Other art museums worth visiting are Martin Gropius Bau Museum of Contemporary Art in the Hamburger Bahnhof, the House of Contemporary Art, and the Brucke Museum.

The true historical center of the city is in the eastern half. Probably the most easily recognized monument is the Brandenburg Gate, which was the main gathering place for celebrations following the fall of the wall in 1989. On its eastern side is Pariser Platz. Plans are underway to fill in the gaps around the square’s perimeter, primarily with new embassies for France, the U.S., and the U.K. The once majestic boulevard "Unter den Linden" is today an eight-block study in overstated imperial grandeur and Eastern Bloc drabness. The most notable buildings are found at the eastern end, such as the Staatsbibliothek (State Library), Humboldt University, Neue Wache (national memorial), the Zeughaus (Museum of German History), and the grand Staatsoper.

Across the Schlossbrücke (Palace Bridge) is the Berlin Cathedral, whose crypt contains the remains of German kaisers. The cathedral is located on an island, the northern end of which is better known as the Museuminsel. The Museuminsel is home to the famous Pergamon Museum, which contains the Pergamon altar as well as the Gate of Milet, as well as the Bode Museum, Altes Museum, Old National Gallery, and Neues Museum (undergoing reconstruction). This group of neoclassical buildings is the reason Berlin is sometimes called "Athens on the Spree."

Directly south of the cathedral is the spot where Berlin’s city palace once stood. The East German government razed the damaged structure after the war and built the present Palast der Republik in its place. If history repeats itself—and there are proponents of this—this structure will meet a similar fate. What to do with this central historic piece of real estate has been the subject of a longstanding debate at both the city and federal level.

Alexanderplatz, also known as Alex, is one of Berlin’s liveliest squares and public transportation hubs. Looming above it is a 1 200-ft-/365-m-high TV tower - the tallest structure in Berlin (you can go to the top for an excellent view of the city). Nearby is the Rotes Rathaus (Red Town Hall), and the Nikolaiviertel, a lovely "Old Town" that was built by East Germany to attract tourists. (Some buildings actually are old and have been moved there from elsewhere, and some are simply built to look old.) Within walking distance from the Alex is the Volksbühne, on the Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, which hosts some of the most experimental theater in Berlin. To the north is the reconstructed, gold-domed Neue Synagoge, now home to the Centrum Judaicum museum. Back to the west is Gendarmenmarkt, one of the city’s most attractive squares. The Schauspielhaus, which hosts concerts, is framed on both sides by almost identical domed churches (the Deutscher Dom and the Französischer Dom), giving the square a nice symmetrical feel. One block west of the square is Friedrichstrasse a bustling avenue with fashionable shops.

Berlin is justly proud of its unusual amount of undeveloped open natural space. The Tiergarten is the oldest and most popular park, stretching from the Zoologischer Garten (one of the largest zoos in the world) to the Brandenburg Gate. Treptower Park in the east stretches out along the Spree River and has the overwhelming Soviet Memorial dedicated to its fallen soldiers. Large lakes can be found at the city’s eastern and western edges: Muggelsee and Wannsee, respectively. Many smaller lakes are scattered throughout the city and they are enjoyed by hordes of Berliners who flock to them for ice skating or swimming and sunbathing (often in the nude). The Grunewald and Tegeler Forst are large wooded areas with trails for hiking cross-country skiing or horseback riding and biking.

Other sites in Berlin worth visiting are the Olympic Stadium, site of the 1936 Olympics (and Jesse Owens’ victories), and Rathaus Schoneberg, site of John F. Kennedy’s Ich bin ein Berliner speech. The Topography of Terror site is an impressive introduction to the history and geography of Berlin under the Nazis. Design enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Bauhaus-Archiv, which traces the history of that famous movement. If time permits visit the Brecht House (home of the writer) or the Friseur Museum—a museum dedicated to the history of hairdressing! And after the sun sets in Berlin, the city offers, in addition to the dozens of nightclubs and cafes, a wide variety of concerts and other cultural events.

Full-day trips could be made to Potsdam or Cottbus. Allow at least three days to see Berlin, more if you wish to see area sights.

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Viktoriapark

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On a clear day you get a fantastic view of Kreuzberg from up here. A big city oasis with a waterfall, a beergarden in Golgatha, a zoo for small animals and lawns for lazing or sports. The multicultural festival in summer offers music and stage acts in the open air.

Main entance Kreuzbergstr.

Connections: U Mehringdamm

type:Parks, Zoos & Gardens
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address:Kreuzbergstr.

Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial)

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Memorials of those killed trying to cross "The Berlin Wall"
Memorials of those killed trying to cross "The Berlin Wall"
photo by: Joseph Hollick

Very little is left of the original Wall, most of the wall segments are given to museums all over the world or sold. Bernauer Straße separates the districts Wedding and Mitte. Until 1989 the Wall ran along here. The documentation centre on the history of the division of Berlin was opened in November 1999. It shows the political background and people’s individual experience of being permanently faced with the wall in the daily life.

Connections: U Bernauerstr., S Nordbahnhof, bus 328.

type:Memorial sites
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address:Bernauer Str., Wedding
openings:We-Su 10am -5pm, admission free
tel:+49 (0)30 - 4635106

Bundeskanzler-Willy-Brandt-Stiftung (Federal Chancellor-Willy Brandt Foundation)

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Front
Front
photo by: BWBS

Bundeskanzler-Willy-Brandt-Stiftung (Federal Chancellor-Willy Brandt Foundation)

The Foundation has the task of preserving the memory of Willy Brandt`s political accomplishments and to honor his lifelong commitment for peace, freedom, and the unity of the German people, for safeguarding democracy in Europe and in the Third World, for the unification of Europe and for the reconciliation of nations. Within the framework of its educational responsibilities the Foundation seeks to contribute to the understanding of the history of the 20th century and of more..

type:Hotspots
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email:info@bwbs.de
address:Unter den Linden 62-68
url:www.willy-brandt.de
tel:+49 (0)30 787707-0
openingHours:Di-So10am -6pm, admission free

Haus am Checkpoint Charlie

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Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie
photo by: Andrew Bowman

Permanent and special exhibition cover topics in German history after 1945, especially the division of Berlin, the building of the Wall and its influence on daily life. Documentary film shows and especially talks with eyewitnesses give a memorable picture of the relationship between the two parts of Germany during the Cold War. Admission: adults 8DM, school pupils and students 5DM, groups of 10 or more 4,50DM

Connections: U Kochstr., bus 129

type:Memorial sites
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address: Friedrichstr. 43-44, Kreuzberg
openings: daily 9am -10pm
tel:+49 (0)30 - 2537250

Siegessäule (Victory Column)

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The Siegessaule, Victory Column
The Siegessaule, Victory Column
photo by: Joseph Hollick

The 70-metre-high column is crowned by the gilded victory goddess, nicknamed "Goldelse" -Golden Lizzie -by the Berliners. Among other things, she has decorated the cover of certain books. Since Love Parade has been held in the Tiergarten she's become its "landmark" -let love rule! Incidentally, the gun barrels around the column are genuine. Below are the Austrian, then the French and on top the Danish. Admission: 2DM, red. 1DM.

Connection: Bus 100, 187, 341

type:Memorial sites
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address:Straße des 17. Juni
openinghours:Mon 1pm -6pm, Tu-Su 9.30am -6pm

Computer- u. Videospielmuseum (Computer and Video Games Museum)

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A remarkable exhibition on the history of computers and video games in a private apartment - small, but unique in Europe. From black-and-white monitors to virtual reality, with electronic classics and exotic games that once delighted fans. Visitors can play here as long as they like.

Connections: S+U Jannowitzbrücke, U Märkisches Museum

type:Museums
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address:Rungestr. 20, Mitte
url:www.cuvmb.de
openings:Sun noon - 6pm or by appointment admission
tel:+49 (0)30 - 2793351

Sammlung Berggruen - Picasso and seine Zeit

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(The Berggruen Collection - Picasso and his Times) SMPK - Heinz Bergruen’s collection has only been open to the public for three years and is already one of the city’s museum highlights. Apart from picasso’s work, it shows paintings, sculptures and drawings by the classical modernists - a total of around 100 exhibits.

Connections: U Sophie-Charlotte-Platz, U Richard-Wagner Platz

type:Museums
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address: Schloßstr. 1, Charlottenburg
openings: Tu-Fr 10am -6pm, Sa+Su 11am -6pm, admission: 8DM, red. 4DM
tel:+49 (0)30 - 2090555

Zoologischer Garten

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In 1844 Germany's first zoo opened its gates here at Hardenbergplatz. Today the zoo houses more than 14000 animals in its buildings and enclosures. The aviary, aquarium, hippo house and brand-new shark house are especially worth seeing. Hardenbergplatz 8, Tiergarten, +49 (0)30 - 254010, U+S Zoologischer Garten, daily 9am till dusk, 6,30pm at the latest; aquarium daily 9a -6pm, admission 14DM, red. 7,50DM; combined ticket for zoo+aquarium: 22,50DM, red.k17DM, reductions for groups of 20 or more.

http://www.zoo-berlin.de/

E-mail: info@zoo-berlin.de bla

type:Hotspots
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address:Hardenbergplatz 8, 10787 Berlin
email:E-mail: info@zoo-berlin.de
tel:(030) 25 40 12 55

Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)

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Berliner Dom Cathedral
Berliner Dom Cathedral
photo by: Joseph Hollick

Berlin’s most impressive church building with a bigger floor area than Cologne Cathedral. It was severely damaged in the war and restoration work went on into the 1990s. The magnificent dome gives the building it’s character. In the Hohenzollern Crypt the Prussian kings and Kaisers lie in dust and ashes.

Connections: U+S Alexanderplatz, bus 100

type:Churches
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address: Lustgarten, Mitte
openings: Mo-Sa 9am -7pm, Su noon -7pm, dome till 5pm, Admission: 8DM, red. 5DM

Museumsinsel (Museum Island)

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Museum Island (Atles Museum)
Museum Island (Atles Museum)
photo by: Joseph Hollick

Concentrated art and culture are united on this island -one of Europe's real treasures in terms of art history and cultural history. Altes Museum (Old Museum), Pergamon Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), Bode Museum. When you've had your fill of art the best place for a quiet rest is the Lustgarden. It's all wonderfully impressive.

type:Other Sights
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connection:S Hackescher Markt, bus 100

Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate)

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Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate
photo by: Joseph Hollick

Built 1788-1791 as a victory gate by Carl Gustav Langhans. Berlin once had 18 city gates - this is the only one remaining. Badly damaged in the war, it was rebuilt in 1957 and a new casting of the Quadriga satue on top was made in West Berlin. After the wall was built the Gate became a landmark and symbol of the division and reunification of Germany.

type:Hotspots
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address:Pariser Platz
connection:S Unter den Linden, bus 100
url:www.planeurope.com

Sowjetisches Ehrenmal (Soviet War Memorial)

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Memorial centre for the soldiers of the "great patriotic war" who died in 1945 in the battle for Berlin - Stalinism in its most petrified form. In autumn and winter this is the ideal place to indulge those melancholy feelings. Impressive!

Connections: S Treptower Park

type:Parks, Zoos & Gardens
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address:Treptower Park, Treptow

Brecht-Weigel-Gedenkstätte

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(Brecht-Weigel memorial Centre) The last living and working quarters of Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel.

A rare chance to see Brecht's vast library of books - in several different languages - as well as the room in which he wrote many of his plays and much of his poetry. His typewriter still sits at a desk overlooking the cemetery where he, and later, his wife were buried.

Inexpensive to visit, the museum is however also a Brecht study centre, and admits only a small number of visitors at a time and only at certain times of the day. Check local press for more..

type:Hotspots
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address:Chausseestr. 125, Mitte
openings: Tu-Fr 10am -noon, Th 5pm -7pm, Sa 9.30am -2pm, Su 11am -6pm
tel:+49 (0)30 - 2829916

Deutsches Historisches Museum (DHM)

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Currently closed for renovation; will re-open in 2003 at the earliest. Until then the museum is showing small exhibitions in Kronprinzenpalais opposite. Admission free.

Connections: S Hackescher Markt, U+S Friedricherstr., bus 100

type:Museums
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address: Unter den Linden 2, Mitte
url:www.dhm.de
tel:+49 (0)30 - 203040

Olympiastadion

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(Olympic Stadium) Built by Werner March on the Maifeld for the 1936 Olympic Games, the stadium holds around 76,000 spectators. In 1936 the black runner Jesse Owens won the 100-metre race here (a completel, y un-Aryan result); Berliners hope the local football team Hertha will soon win the cup here. Plenty to see around here for history fans.

type:Other Sights
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connection: U Olympiastadion
address: Olympischer Platz.
openings: In summer 8am -8pm
tel:030 300633
admission:2DM, red. 1DM

Berliner Gruselkabinett (Berlin Chamber of Horrors)

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Today this former air-raid shelter houses other kinds of nightmares: under cover of authenticity the "gooseflesh gallery and chamber of horrors" offers the dubious pleasures of horror voyeurism. The history of the air-raid shelter is documented on the groud floor.

Admission: 12DM, students 10DM, children 9DM, group rates on request

Connections: S Anhalter Bahnhof, U Gleisdreieck Potsdamer Platz, bus 129.

type:Museums
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address:Schöneberger Str. 23A, Kreuzberg
url:www.gruselkabinett-berlin.de
openings:Mon, Tue, Thu, Sun 10am -7pm, Fri 10am -8pm, Sat noon -8pm
tel:+49 (0)30 - 26555546

Musikinstrumentenmuseum (Musical Instruments Museum)

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The extensive collection contains european musical instruments from the 16th century to the present. Historically important instruments like Sophie Charlotte’s portable harpsichord are displayed here along with modern items like the big Wurlitzer music box which is demonstrated every Saturday at noon.

Connections: U+S Potsdamer Platz, bus 129, 148

type:Museums
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address:Tiergartenstr. 1, Tiergarten
openings: Tu-Fr 9am -5pm, Sa+Su 10am -5pm, admission: 4DM, red. 2DM
tel:+49 (0)30 - 254810

Alliierten Museum (Allies’ Museum)

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Airplane used for The Berlin Airlift
Airplane used for The Berlin Airlift
photo by: Joseph Hollick

The Cold War from the viewpoint of the West: half a century of the western occupying powers in Berlin. The exhibition focuses on the magnificent logistic achievement of the "airlift" and how this helped save West Berlin for the free world.

Connections: U Oskar-Helene-Heim

type:Museums
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email:info@AlliiertenMuseum.de
address:Clayallee 135, Zehlendorf
url:www.alliiertenmuseum.de
openings:daily 10am -6pm, closed We, admission free
tel:+49 (0)30 - 8181 990

Reichstagsgebäude (The Reichstag)

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The Reichstag
The Reichstag
photo by: Joseph Hollick

A symbol of German history. Pictures that went round the world: in 1945 the Soviet flag was hoisted on the Reichstag, in 1995 it was wrapped by Christo and Jeanne-Claude and since 1999 it has been the seat of the German Parliament. The dedication above the entrance reads: "To the German People". The dome built by Sir Norman Foster is not entirely in tune with this, because: anyone, if German of from abroad, can walk around freely inside it until midnight (admission till 10pm). Magnificent view of Berlin.

type:Other Sights
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connection:S Unter den Linden, bus 100
address:Platz der Republik, Tiergarten
openings:daily till 10pm
tel:+49 (0)30 - 39770
admission:free

Spreepark Berlin

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Update: The Spreepark has been closed since 2002.

This amusement park is located not far from the city center in the harmonious surroundings of Plänterwald leisure area. It offers 30 carousels and other fairground rides, including the little Britzer train with its warning bell, big dippers and a big wheel with a fantastic view of Berlin. You can also visit the theme areas like "Las Vegas County" or see stage shows here.

Connections: S Plänterwald

Openings: Apr-Oct Mo-Fr 9am -6pm, Sat + Sun + public holidays 10am -7pm.

Admission: 28DM, school classes more..

type:Hotspots
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address:Kiehnwerderallee 1-3, Treptow
tel:+49 (0)30 - 533350
show numbers 1-20   21-40   41-60   61-80   81-100   101-120   121-140   141-143  
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