German Capital ✔️ Berlin Wall ✔️ Landmarks
Berlin, one of the world’s greatest cities, is always like a whirlwind of activity, with famous sights on every corner and never enough time to see them all.
This city has so much to offer that sometimes a visitor doesn’t even know where to start. But how can you make sure you don’t miss anything? We’ve rounded up the unmissable attractions.In the following list, you will find the five blockbusters that you should definitely not miss and that you can visit all year round.
To experience as much sightseeing as possible, you should be guided by local experienced city guides and/or sign up for a guided tour to see the top phenomena.
The 5 top sights in Berlin.
Do you know a special little pub, a great restaurant or do you have a favourite park? You can find the insider tips on these pages, for example. We are now dealing with the sightseeing blockbusters, the crowd pullers, the gems of all sights.
Brandenburger Tor – Brandenburg Gate
Would you have known? For more than 200 years, the Brandenburg Gate has been a landmark of Berlin and Germany and today it is one of Berlin’s most famous sights.
Literally right in the middle of the city is the Brandenburg Gate, arguably one of the gates that has seen the most in its history.
The impressive landmark was built in 1789-91 by Carl Gotthard Langhans and was the royal gateway to Berlin. Since then, the Brandenburg Gate has survived both the 1933-1945 period and the subsequent Cold War, becoming a symbol of the division between East and West and later of reunification.
By <a href=“//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:NorbertNagel“ title=“User:NorbertNagel“>Norbert Nagel</a> – <span class=“int-own-work“ lang=“en“>Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
As in so many other places locally, the Brandenburg Gate and the 17th-century street have a touch of history about them. June, which leads up to the Victory Column.
Today, the area around the city gate is bustling with local street performers, tourists and bicycle taxis every day.
Another popular attraction here is Kurfürstendamm, or simply Ku‘ Damm.
Kurfürstendamm is the main street in the old west. It begins at Halensee and ends at Tauentzien.
If you are a small shopper, Kurfürstendamm is a dream. If you want to do some serious shopping in Berlin, this is the place for you.
Von <a href=“//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Ralf_Roletschek“ title=“User:Ralf Roletschek“>Marcela</a> (<a href=“//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Ralf_Roletschek“ title=“User talk:Ralf Roletschek“><span class=“signature-talk“>talk</span></a>) – <span class=“int-own-work“ lang=“de“>Eigenes Werk</span>, GFDL 1.2, Link
Still the most popular shopping destination in the city. There’s everything to buy here, and if you take your better half to the city, you can’t avoid a shopping spree.
You will find the boulevard in the western part of the city. Here you can browse all the great fashion boutiques and exclusive designer brands that fill the 3.5-kilometre-long boulevard. It is also home to Europe’s largest department stores‘, KaDeWe, a shopper’s paradise with the perfume and food departments at the top.
The Reichstag building, like the Brandenburg Gate and this part of Berlin in general, has seen a lot. Right in the middle, near the Brandenburg Gate, is the impressive attraction of the Reichstag, the seat of the Bundestag, the German parliament. The history of the building is truly unique and thus a highlight in Berlin that a visitor simply must have experienced.
By <a href=“//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Hofec“ title=“User:Hofec“>Hofec, Switzerland</a> – <span class=“int-own-work“ lang=“en“>Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
It was built in 1894 and has had quite a turbulent life under the various governments, not least during the two world wars. After 1945 and until the end of the Cold War, the building fell into disrepair and the parliament moved its sessions to Bonn. In 1991, however, the Reichstag was once again designated the German parliament and the building was rebuilt with its now very famous and distinctive glass dome.
If the weather is good during the time you are travelling to Berlin, you can book a trip to the café with a clear conscience, from where you will experience an excellent view of the city.
Fernsehturm – Television Tower
The legendary TV tower right on Alexanderplatz is of course a must-see during a visit. It is the building that stands out in the cityscape.
The tall Berlin landmark towers 368 metres above the ground and can be seen from all over the city. It can be seen from most parts of Berlin and is a good guide to where you are in the huge German capital.
By Christian Wolf (www.c-w-design.de), CC BY-SA 3.0 de, Link
You can take the lift to the top of the tower’s dome and be enchanted by the wild view over the whole city. The view from up there is really impressive and gives you a sense of how big the metropolis really is. So a trip up the TV tower is a really cool experience for kids and adults alike.
You can also have a meal in the restaurant at the top of the tower.
It is advisable to book the tickets online in advance.
Die Mauer – The Wall
It is perhaps a bit of an exaggeration to speak of the Wall. For although the Wall was the symbol of the division of Europe and its fall the symbol of the end of dictatorship, not much remains.
The last remaining pieces of the Wall can be found near Anhalter Bahnhof and at the Eastside Gallery.
During the division of the city, stations that crossed the border fell into disuse and became dead ends. However, three lines ran from West Berlin through short sections of East Berlin territory. Trains never stopped at these stations, which became known as „ghost stations“, including Potsdamer Platz with the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, for example.
By <a rel=“nofollow“ class=“external text“ href=“https://www.flickr.com/people/46218178@N02″>Ray Swi-hymn</a> from Sijhih-Taipei, Taiwan – <a rel=“nofollow“ class=“external text“ href=“https://www.flickr.com/photos/swi-hymn/36087376496/“>20170422_BrandenburgerTor u BerlinMaur</a>, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
Nordbahnhof was once such a „ghost station“ and now houses a photo exhibition dedicated to the memory of abandoned railway stations. Fascinating stories above and below ground, border controls and escape plans – the exhibition offers material for a 30-minute tour.
When you’ve had enough of the U-Bahn, take the exit at Bernauer Straße and walk towards the Berlin Wall Memorial. Here you will find a wealth of information and reconstructions, including border stones, a watchtower and the Chapel of Reconciliation, which stands on the remains of an old church that was bombed by the GDR authorities.
See what’s left – and visit the museum at Checkpoint Charlie and the Documentation Centre on Bernauerstraße.
Sightseeing ✔️ Hop on Hop off city tours
If you don’t want to miss out on anything locally, we recommend you either book a hop on hop off tour or a guided tour in advance to discover everything on a half-day tour on foot or you board a classic boat in Mitte.
Sightseeing in Berlin: For about four hours you will be guided to Kurfürstendamm and around the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Berlin Wall, Museum Island, Checkpoint Charlie, Anhalter Bahnhof, Potsdamer Platz and many other sights. For those who don’t feel like walking for four hours, there is also a similar guided bike tour where Tourist rides instead with the help of a rented bike, a really convenient way to get around.
Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Discover the German capital and its popular crowd-pullers at your own pace with the hop-on hop-off buses! Discover the dizzying TV Tower at Alexanderplatz, the historic Museum Island, the impressive Brandenburg Gate or the famous boulevard Kurfürstendamm.
What can I expect?
The unique sightseeing tours include many stops and stops at the most important sights and tourist attractions. Enjoy the important sites of the city, the grandiose architecture and enjoy the magnificent view from a double-decker, sometimes roofless bus.
Hop on Hop Off Berlin: You can get off the bus at any stop, see the attractions, take photos, go to souvenir shops or have a quick coffee or tea, and then walk back to the stop and wait for the next Hop on Hop Off bus to come along and get back on.
So you can get on and off as you please and use it to create your own individually tailored city tour.
Recorded audio commentaries and entertaining stories about the draught horses are available to them in the car.
How do I get my tickets?
Shortly after booking online or on site, you will receive an e-ticket to your email address. Print it out and take it with you on the first bus you board.
Where does the tour start?
You can choose where to start your tour, just hop on one of the vehicles and start exploring the City!
How long is my ticket valid?
The ticket is valid for 24h, 48h or 72 hours.
How long are the individual bus routes?
There are two lines The red line takes 2 hours and stops here and elsewhere:
Alexa shopping centre
KaDeWe at Wittenberglatz
Topography of Terror
The blue line takes about 40 minutes and stops here:
East Side Gallery
Which languages are offered?
The audio guide is available in Chinese, German, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Most people for know for sightseeing the classic bus tours in different European cities, which are sometimes a bit unnecessary, but especially here it makes a lot of sense to take a bus tour and see everything.
The City is really big and divided into many different districts, each with its own life and centres.
With a bus tour it is possible to experience different parts of the city and sights very easily.
There are many different companies that take tourists to the famous attractions and even offer to book the tickets online from home.
On a city break here, you can’t miss the Spree, which meanders right through the middle of Berlin. The central location of the body of water means that you pass a number of sights on a boat trip.
There are many different boat tours and there are many different companies that organise the popular tours.
However, as always, it is possible to book your ticket from home and secure a place on a ship
Experiences and comments:
I saw a lot on the hop on hop off tour and was thrilled.
Kurfürstendamm, or simply Ku’damm, is the place to shop in the city. Many refer to Kurfürstendamm as Berlin’s 5th Avenue or Champs-Élysées, and you haven’t really experienced the full Berlin experience until you’ve shopped on Ku’damm. The boulevard was developed under Bismarck. It has become the main street in West Berlin. The boulevard
is about 3.5 kilometres long and is located in the western part. It runs through the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district from Breitscheidplatz to Rathenauplatz (east-west). Kurfürstendamm is more than 50 metres wide and its four rows of trees are reminiscent of Unter den Linden.
Kurfürstendamm was originally a path laid out in the 16th century for Elector Joachim II. The street got its name from „electors“, i.e. the specially chosen princes who chose the next king, and the honour of being an elector was second only to that of being king.
In 1876, after Germany’s victory in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), Otto von Bismarck proposed that Kurfürstendamm be transformed into a magnificent and extravagant boulevard. This meant that the street was widened, huge villas were built and luxury shops and expensive restaurants began to spring up. Today, not much remains of
the old magnificent buildings from the Bismarck era on Kuhdamm. They were either destroyed or badly damaged.
But the boulevard has been given a new face. It quickly became the meeting place of the rich and famous again. The
ultimate shopping tour should actually not begin at Kurfürstendamm itself, but east of Ku’damm at Wittenbergplatz station, where Tauentzienstrasse begins, which is now considered the eastern extension.
There are now around 300 shops there, offering a wide variety of different goods. You can buy everything here.
Even today, Kurfürstendamm is primarily known for its fantastic shopping opportunities, even if the exclusive boutiques of the past can no longer be found here. From electronics to fashion to bric-a-brac, from the Apple Store to Zara, H&M, Lego Store and KaDeWe. Visitors should not forget the many souvenir shops with memorabilia from Berlin.
Here you can buy pendants for bracelets, the Victory Column in miniature or even the Brandenburg Gate to give to those at home or for yourself as a memento. One of the advertising slogans is: Spooping for every wallet.
At Tauentzien you will find the gigantic KaDeWe, one of the largest department stores in the world filled with luxury and branded goods of all kinds. The shop is also known for its impressive food department, which covers an area of 7000 m2. It offers more tens of different kinds of cheese and very many different wines.
Besides KaDeWe, there are a variety of shops here that are generally less exclusive than further west, but if you have a good shopping gene, you can get some good deals. The
American writer Thomas Wolfe said of Ku’damm that it was the largest cafe house in Europe. Probably the most famous cafe and restaurant is Cafe Kranzler.
If you walk west along Tauentzienstraße in the direction of Kurfürstendamm, you will pass one fashion shop after another, but also all the well-known sports brands. Locally,
all the big fashion shops like H&M, Zara, C&A are next to each other, one bigger than the other. The big sports brands like Nike and Adidas compete to have the biggest superstores on 3-4 floors.
You also pass by the Europa Center, which has more than 70 shops.
There are over 100 cafés in Berlin. There are also various theatres on the Ku’damm.
The most famous landmark is probably the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
At the height of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and Breitscheidplatz, the street changes its name and you have now arrived on the real Kurfürstendamm. You will also notice that the atmosphere changes.
Breitscheidplatz is home to many small vintage shops, larger fashion houses as well as a number of cafés, and if you walk along the boulevard towards the west, you will come to the many luxury shops that still exist here, including Chanel, Louis Vitton, Cartier, D&G and many more. A colourful mix of people can be found on Ku’damm. So there is something interesting for everyone to discover.
If you leave the main boulevard and go to one of the smaller side streets like Fasenenstraße, you will find the most exclusive shopping in Berlin. Here you will find small luxury boutiques and expensive cafés. Here you will experience something of the old „Kurfürstendamm atmosphere“ and it is highly recommended.
Combine your shopping trip with a sightseeing tour. Take a hop-on hop-off bus right down the street so you don’t have to lug your shopping and can rest your legs a little while you make your way to beautiful Berlin.
Behind the church is the Zoological Garden. It is Germany’s oldest zoo and the one with the most animals.
Many of the small shops in the side streets are often open until 8 or even 10 pm. So try to go on an evening shopping spree while eating in one of the many cafés and restaurants.
The Europacenter at the church is a shopping centre with 3 floors. There is also a casino on the Ku’damm, where everything from roulette to poker is allowed.
It is, as almost always in the city, easiest to take the underground. If you want the full experience, go to Wittenbergplatz station and take the five kilometres from east to west. You can also go to Kurfürstendamm station (U1 or U9), where you’ll end up in the middle of Ku’damm.
Staatsoper – State Opera House Unter den Linden
The Staatsoper Unter den Linden, also known as the German State Opera or Staatsoper Berlin, is the oldest opera house and is located in the Mitte district directly opposite the Old Library on the street Unter den Linden. Today it is one of the most famous operas in the world and is also known as the Lindenoper.
Its history dates back to 1742, when Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff built the Royal Court Opera on the present site, and today it is a venue for world premieres and truly great productions, with plays by Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Wagner predominating.
It was the first building of the planned peasant ensembles of Frederick the Great. From 1741 to 1743 it was built, as described, by the architect von Knobelsdorff.
The building is a typical example of Palladian architecture and was called the Royal Court Opera. The building was completed in 1743, but on 7 December 1741 it was inaugurated with Carl Heinrich Graun’s work Cleopatra e Cesare. The building is the oldest theatre building in Berlin. In 1743 it was the largest opera house in Europe and also the first independent opera house in Germany.
It has imposing columns and was built
in the classicist style. Frederick the Great planned a cultural centre and after the demolition of the old city wall, there was enough space available here.
The building site was a fortress area near the Crown Prince’s Palace. The
first alterations were
carried out in 1788, including changes to the stage area and the side stage, and from then on the theatre was also open to the general public. One of the striking productions was the premiere of the play „Freischütz“ by Carl Maria von Weber, another highlight later: The Merry Wives of Windsor.
In the night of 18 to 19 August 1843, the opera house burned down completely. It was rebuilt under the direction of the architect Carl Ferdinand Langhans. This time the opera house opened with Giacomo Meyerbeer’s opera: A Camp in Silesia.
At the end of the 19th century, the opera even achieved worldwide fame.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the opera house was given its current name, „Staatsoper“.
In 1925, the opera experienced another high point with the premiere of the play „Woyzeck“ by Alban Berg.
In 1928, the opera was rebuilt with a revolving stage.
For the reopening at that time, „The Magic Flute“ by Johann Amadeus Mozart was performed.
During 1939 – 1945 the building was damaged twice and rebuilt each time. The architect Richard Paulick was responsible the second time.
It was reconstructed and reopened in 1955. The German State Opera was the flagship of the GDR opera. After reunification in 1989, the opera finally received its present name.
Daniel Barenboim, chief conductor since 1992, performed the ten great operas of Richard Wagner twice each in 2002 in a production by Harry Kupfer (b. 1935), showing that the opera was not affected by Berlin’s ailing opera life.
From 2010 to 2017, the building was renovated at a cost of around EUR 240 million; in the meantime, the ensemble moved to the Schillertheater in Charlottenburg.
In 2017, the house reopened with scenes from Goethe’s Faust in a production by Robert Schumanns.
Theater des Westens – Theatre of the West
The Theater des Westens is Berlin’s oldest musical theatre – and Thalia, the actors‘ muse, guards the entrance to the theatre on Kanstraße.
The Theater des Westens was built under the direction of Bernhard Sehring from 1895 to 1897. The theatre was inaugurated on 1 October 1896 with Holger Drachmann’s play „One Thousand and One Nights“. After the expected success failed to materialise, the building was used as an opera stage from 1898 and as an opera house from 1908. The theatre building dates from 1895 and is a wild mix of antique, medieval and Renaissance styles. If you’re going to Broadway, this is the place to be.
Different styles were mixed here. Viewers recognise parts of Art Nouveau, Palladianism and Renaissance here. On 25 August 1912, the theatre was damaged by fire but rebuilt. In 1922, the theatre was once again converted into an opera house and given the name Great People’s Opera. In 1924 the opera house was closed.
The house is surrounded by various sculptures and an inscription in the upper part. There it says: This building was erected for the cultivation of the arts.
In 1933 the theatre was reopened as part of the programme Kraft durch Freude (Strength through Joy) and was given the name Volksoper. In 1944 the theatre was closed and later damaged.
The upheavals of the 20th century affected the theatre. This is particularly evident in the various names the house bore. It was called Goethe Theater and, as written, Grosse Volksoper.
From 1945 to 1961, the Deutsche Oper performed in the building. The first reconstruction took place as early as 1945 and the Städtische Oper Berlin moved into the theatre building after the Deutsche Oper’s own building in Bismarckstraße had been destroyed. With the completion of the new Deutsche Oper, the opera house moved back to Bismarckstraße in 1961.
Afterwards it functioned as a musical and operetta house. Plays such as „A Prussian Fairy Tale“ by Boris Blacher and „The Red Coat“ by Luigi Nono were performed in the post-war period. Frederick Loewe’s My Fair Lady was the first musical to be premiered in 1961. It became a surprisingly great success with audiences.
From 1984 to 1999, Helmut Baumann was artistic director and later indendant of the theatre. He was very successful. His debut play „Ein Käfig voller Narren“ (A Cage Full of Fools) brought in so much profit that it was repeatedly included in the repertoire for the next 10 years.
In 1962 the building was modernised and rebuilt, and in 1978 the theatre hall was restored
according to Sehring’s original plans. In the 1980s, the foyer and the exterior of the building were restored according to the original plans.
With successful musical productions, Stage Holding has been running the theatre since 1999.
The Theater des Westens is Berlin’s Broadway, with big musicals like Les Miserables or Porgy and Bess.
The Delphi cinema is in the immediate vicinity. The listed cinema was the largest film theatre after 1945. Numerous premieres have taken place here.
U-Bahn – Underground
One of the most convenient ways to get around here, whether you want to see the sights or go to the main train station or shopping, is to use the metro. The metro is the most used means of transport locally. Users can get from one place to another quickly, and there are regular trains in any direction, usually every 5 minutes.
The construction of today’s underground network in Berlin began in 1896 and has been repeatedly rebuilt and added to until today. An underground has been running in the city since 1902.
Berlin’s first underground station is located in the middle of Wittenbergplatz. At that time the network of the U-Bahn. or elevated railway was 11 km long, today there are over 155 km of U-Bahn tracks. The line, then called Stammbahn, ran from Warschauer Brücke to Zoo with a siding to Potsdamer Platz. U-Bahn stands for underground railway. Today it is the longest underground railway network in Germany. More than 100 km run through the west of the city and it is to be extended further and further.
There are over 174 different metro stations and more than 10 different lines for users to choose from. The dense network of metro and buses takes everyone to every sight. There is a single card for both the metro and the underground, which can be used regardless of whether you want to use the underground or the underground.
The metropolis has an area of 884 square kilometres. Of this area, about 55% belongs to West Berlin and about 45% to East Berlin. In total, more than 3 million people live here.
During a trip here, it is advisable to learn more about the different underground stations and how they work.
Especially in such a large city, it is essential to have access to public transport. No matter what time of day or what destination you want to reach. Travelling becomes so much easier and cheaper when you choose the metro.
There are different types of cards you can buy for the underground and suburban trains. The cards are divided and are valid for zones A, B and C. The cards available are AB, CB and ABC. The AB card is sufficient for the areas where most attractions are located and is also the cheapest card.
However, if you want to use e.g. BER airport, you have to choose the C section. Even if it’s only 2 stations play it safe, tickets are often checked here in particular. The routes in the inner city area, e.g. Potsdamer Platz, Friedrichstrasse or Kurfürstendamm, are checked just as often. The BVG offers everything from single tickets to combined tickets and company tickets.
Both single and day tickets are available, and there are even weekly tickets and many other variants.The fare is aimed at individual passengers, as well as groups or people who want to take bicycles, prams etc. with them.
U-Bahn is the name of the underground. The subways are fast, easy and reliable. Planning excursions is no problem here.
Buses and trams are part of the public transport system and work together with the U-Bahn and the S-Bahn. Most lines run at least 20 hours a day and at least every 10 minutes. To be able to experience the nightlife and clubs as well, the trams and buses run around the clock.
The tram runs both in the centre and on longer routes. There are nine lines running on different routes – you can recognise the tram lines by the fact that they are marked with an „M“.
The buses, like the trams, run both in the city centre and on longer routes. They are marked with the letter „M“, sometimes „X“ and a two-digit number.
It is the largest underground system in Germany and the easiest way for most tourists to get around. It is also possible to hire trains for your own celebrations or to buy a second-hand vehicle and convert it to your own requirements.
Every year, the metro transports more than 400 million passengers around the clock. Together with underground trains, buses and S-Bahn trains, you can get around quickly and easily.
There are different types of tickets:
Single tickets: allow unlimited transfers between underground, bus, tram and S-Bahn in all three zones (A,B,C), valid for 2 hours.
4-hour ticket: allows unlimited transfers between metro, bus, tram and S-Bahn in all three zones (A,B,C), valid for 2 hours
Day ticket: Allows you to travel as much as you want for a whole day
Short-distance ticket: Inexpensive ticket, good if you only have to travel a few stops. The ticket is valid for three stops on the underground or S-Bahn or six stops on the bus or tram. Valid for travel in zones A and B, between zones B and C or within zone C.
7-day ticket: travel as much as you like for seven consecutive days.
Or the 10am monthly ticket, which allows you to use the entire network from 10am for a whole month.
You can also buy a special „tourist ticket“. There are two types of tickets, the „CityTourCard“ or the „WelcomeCard„.
With the CityTourCard you can travel unlimited for 48 hours, 72 hours or 5 days and get discounts on around 50 attractions.
With the WelcomeCard you can travel unlimited for 48 hours, 72 hours or 5 days and get up to 50% discount on more than 200 sights – but at least 25%!
There are three different tariff zones: A, B and C:
Zone A is the city centre and includes up to and including the S-Bahn lineZone
B extends from the S-Bahn line to the city boundary.
Zone C includes the surrounding suburbs up to a distance of about 15 kilometres from the city and BER Airport.
KaDeWe is one of the larger and more exclusive department stores. Located not far from the Europa-Center or the Tiergarten in the New West, this upscale department stores‘ is a fantastic shopping centre for those who can afford it. Built in 1907 to the designs of architect Emil Schaudt, the department stores‘ stunned the world with the latest from Paris, the hottest from New York, exotic fruits from the South. It is located on Tauentzienstrasse in the Schöneberg district, right next to the Wittenbergplatz underground station, very close to Kurfürstendamm.
Those of you who have been to London and visited Harrods before will probably recognise yourselves when you come here, because it offers a similar experience to Harrods. KaDeWe stands for Kaufhaus des Westens and was originally founded by Adolf Jandorf in 1905. The magnificent building was intended to be another highlight on the Kudamm, which is considered a posh area. Since then, the department stores‘ has changed hands a few times and has also been renovated. In 1927, it was taken over by Hertie owner Herman Tietz and thus began the department store’s heyday.
The Tietz department stores‘ and family empire was founded by Herman Tietz (1837-1905). Tietz was the first company in Germany to establish department stores and by 1927 there were 10 Tietz department stores in Berlin alone. Tietz was behind the big ones like KaDeWe and Tietz in Leipziger Straße and near its big competitor Wertheim, exactly where the Mall of Berlin is today, as well as at Alexanderplatz.
It was planned that wealthy citizens would shop here and the department stores‘ was to be given a gallant image. Like many other buildings, KaDeWe was partially destroyed between 1939 and 1945. In the 1950s it was reopened, in 1956 the renovation and redesign of all 5 floors of the KaDeWe was completed, and in 1976 a new building was started, which was to increase the sales area from 24,000 square metres to 44,000 square metres. In 1996 there were further building measures and the sales area was increased to 60,000 square metres today, at the same time it became 7 storeys high. The range of goods could be extended again and again and more and more locals fell in love with the department stores‘ and went shopping there.
With a total area of over 60,000 square metres, the department stores‘ offers everything from socks to perfume to exclusive watches. Everything is easy to find, and it’s also easy to look for something because the large selection is spread over different floors. Not only in terms of
popularity, but also in terms of space, the department stores‘ is now the largest.
But the absolute highlight on site is the food department on the sixth floor, the so-called gourmet floor. In the gourmet department, you can buy luxurious Russian caviar, high-quality spirits and a whole range of luxury sausages and cheeses. Different types of cheese, sausages, special chocolates, baked goods, sweets and many types of bread are on offer here.
There are chocolatiers who make chocolate and the fishmonger will be happy to serve you a plate of oysters with a little champagne, hams, jams and sausages galore, cheeses you can only dream of, marzipan and every other pastry, pasta that would make an Italian mama burst into tears.
Yes, basically anything you want that’s a bit unusual, but also normal things like vegetables and fruit.
But not only local food is available here. You can also buy a wide variety of international specialities.
At last count, there were 34,000 different items on 7,000 square metres, served by 500 staff – including 110 chefs and 40 bakers and confectioners. If you’ve never eaten anything before coming here, there’s nothing you can’t taste.
The department stores‘ also has its own restaurant. On the seventh floor, you enter seventh heaven. Guests sit under a huge glass dome in the open-air cafeteria, and this is probably the best department stores‘ cafeteria in the world. The view makes everyone dine exquisitely here. It can be a little difficult to get a seat, but it’s worth it because the buffet is huge and full of delicacies.
The ground floor is the entrance area. In the 400-square-metre entrance hall, you are usually greeted with displays of luxury goods such as watches in the price range of luxury summer houses or small cars. The staff have been specially trained to cater to wealthy customers. Then you enter a cosmetics landscape with perfume bottles, mirrors, powders, lipsticks, paints and you probably won’t get around the luxury boulevard with Tiffany and Prada and all the other girlfriends. Here you can see elaborately designed product presentations by Chanel, Cartier, Bugatti, Armani or even Dolce Gabbana.
On the upper floor you will find fashion and designer clothes as well as special departments for Dolce & Gabbana or Dior. Here you will find real carpets, designer furniture, kitchen utensils and fine porcelain, but also floor areas with fashion and shoes. You’ll find it all here. A little more expensive than elsewhere, perhaps – but not excessively so.
Not only can cars be parked in the basement, but dogs can also be accommodated there while shopping.
The KaDeWe – Kaufhaus des Westens – is one of the largest department stores in Europe. In Europe it is second only to Harrods in London. If you go shopping in Berlin, it is a must.
It is located on Wittenbergplatz not far from Kurfürstendamm. The department stores‘ itself is one of the city’s main attractions – even for people who don’t normally like malls or centres. It is in a class of its own. KaDeWe
’s opening hours vary slightly depending on the day. The shopping paradise is open Mondays to Thursdays from 10.00 to 20.00, Fridays from 10.00 to 21.00 and Saturdays from 09.30 to 20.00. It is closed on Sundays.
Schloss – Charlottenburg Palace
Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in the city. Today it is a majestic museum with collections of French painters, stylish halls and salons. Schloss Charlottenburg, part of the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation, is located in the district of the same name.
The palace was intended as a summer residence for Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Elector Frederick II. Construction of the building began
in 1695 according to plans by Johann Arnold Nering.
Relax in the baroque garden, which also houses some beautiful small museums.
Originally called Lietzenburg,
the palace was built as a summer residence by Sophie Charlotte, who married King Frederick I of Prussia. She gave her country seat back to her husband.
In return, she received the village of Lützow and a plot of land on which she ordered the construction of a summer residence in 1696. The palace and the baroque garden behind Charlottenburg are well worth a visit. You will find several impressive sights in the beautiful palace garden.
When Sophie Charlotte died in 1705, Frederick renamed the palace Charlottenburg in her memory.
In the beginning, the first building consisted of the central part with two risalites. Because of the Queen’s fondness for opera, a small opera house was built.
In the palace there was a room entirely dedicated to amber, carved and decorated by a Danish amber master. The Amber Room has been called the 8th wonder of the world. Frederick’s successor, King Frederick William I, gave the room to the Russian Tsar Peter the Great in 1716.
The small castle was consecrated in 1699 and has been used as a residence ever since. In the further course of time, service rooms were added for the servants in two buildings erected to the south. The palace building was also extended to create a three-winged complex.
The reconstructed palace houses baroque halls and the royal rooms with Chinese and Japanese porcelain. The new wing is furnished with fine rococo furniture from the time of Frederick the Great.
In honour of the late Sophie Charlotte, Frederick I in Prussia named the palace and the adjoining estate „Charlottenburg“ and a further extension was made. The recessed centrepiece and the palace dome were added.
The former palace theatre now houses the Museum of Prehistory and Early History, which includes an exhibition on the famous German excavations of Troy by Heinrich Schliemann around 1800. An orangery and a chapel were added on the west side.
Under his successor Friedrich Wilhelm I, the palace led a shadowy existence. However, his economic sense prevented the area from falling into disrepair. Next to the palace is the small Orangerie restaurant, where high tea is served. In its sister building, the large Orangery, classical concerts are held from April to October, performed by an orchestra in baroque dress.
Frederick William I gave the opera house up for demolition, and a school was built with the material.
However, Frederick William I knew how to use the palace for official and representative purposes.
This is a recommendation: pack a small picnic with delicacies and take a walk in the garden. The front part towards the palace is a baroque garden, but behind it there are many opportunities to sit in the green. There are also some interesting hidden servants‘ quarters.
Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin and the only remaining royal residence of the Hohenzollern family.
The ground floor of the main building must be visited as part of a guided tour, while the upper floor with oriental porcelain and rococo paintings can be visited on your own.
Frederick II, also known as Old Fritz, was attracted to his grandmother’s seat and had the rooms on the upper floor prepared for him.
In the course of time, further conversions were added.
During 1939 – 1945 Charlottenburg Palace was severely damaged and later restored to its former elegance. The collection of richly decorated interiors is unique in today’s Berlin and is considered one of the city’s greatest attractions.
For a short time, from 2001 to 2006, the palace was used as the residence of the Federal President, while Schloss Bellevue was rebuilt on the edge of the Tiergarten.
Today, a museum is housed within the historic walls. Surrounding the palace is the extensive royal park with its lush grass paths, which has become a popular place for walks among old residents and tourists alike.
The park includes a French-style baroque garden and an English-style landscape park. The park also houses a royal mausoleum and summer houses, which are used, among other things, as a tea pavilion.
Among other things, you can see Frederick the Great’s flat and much more.
Near Hackescher Markt you will also find the trendy Hackesche Höfe, a system of cosy little courtyards offering everything from exhibitions to restaurants, shops and much more.
If you need a break from the noise and crowds of the city, a trip to the Hackesche Höfe will give you peace and quiet and recharge your batteries.
They are one of the city’s most famous sights. A historic place that has its own S-Bahn station. It is a backyard complex with eight interconnected courtyards, located between Rosenthaler Straße and Sophienstraße. The cosy building complex consists of eight interconnected backyards.
Here you can find theatres, restaurants, flats, small shops, cafes and some cultural institutions.
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In the 17th century, this area of the city centre was still outside the city walls of the time.
The name Scheunenviertel (barn district) comes from this time, as hay and straw could only be stored outside the city walls at that time for safety reasons.
In the courtyards there are small shops offering design, handicrafts and culinary specialities. There are several jewellery shops, including Schmuckwerk, which offers a large selection of glass stone jewellery.
Over time, a new district developed here and King Frederick William I had the city walls extended. In addition, the city commander Hans Graf von Hacke was commissioned to build the Hackesche Höfe or Hackesche Markt.
It is a centrally located square. It is not far from Alexanderplatz and easy to reach
by S-Bahn to the Hackescher Markt
The area nearby with access from Rosenthaler Straße covers a good 9000 square metres.
The first courtyard is decorated with blue and white bricks, the other courtyards are furnished with trees and benches. The surroundings and the many specialised shops make the courtyards a cosy oasis where you can buy design and other not everyday things.
In the 19th century, a glass manufacturer bought the property, and his descendants expanded it. Jewish and French immigrants brought joy, diversity and cosmopolitanism to the area, among other things the first synagogue was built here and the first Jewish cemetery was established.
There are many restaurants, street cafés and interesting shops. It’s just a nice and cosy little area to walk around.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the architects Kurt Berndt and August Endell began planning and realising the courtyards in their current guise. In the 20th century, the first shops from a wide range of sectors began to operate here. The market is located in the Mitte district, i.e. in the former East Berlin. Since reunification, it has been extensively renovated.
Finally, in the 1990s, the courtyards, which have since been listed, underwent extensive renovation work.
The facades of the Hackesche Höfe are beautifully decorated and the entire area around them has developed into one of the hippest areas in
Today, life is bustling here, with shops, boutiques, galleries and cafes inviting visitors to marvel and buy. Visitors from all over the world want to see the elaborately designed and lovingly restored courtyards and linger in one of the cafés or restaurants.
Neue Wache – New guard
The Neue Wache, the building designed by the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, is considered one of the masterpieces of classicism and is a testimony to the city’s eventful history.
It is a small building with clear figures and an austere Doric colonnade. Small and yet so monumental that it stands next to the large buildings on the street Unter den Linden, opposite Bebelplatz near Humbold University.
The street Unter den Linden is designed like a Greek temple front with Doric columns. The building originally served as a guardhouse for the train protecting the Prussian king.
The original idea was to use the building as a shelter for guards and through history it is now a historic site.
The architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel designed the Neue Wache for Friedrich Wilhelm III in 1816. It was then built between 1816 and 1818 and used to house the guards of the Prinzessinenpalais.
Today it is considered one of the most important works of classical architecture in Germany. The building is a monument to the victory over Napoleon and the fallen. The monument became the headquarters of the palace guard. To house the guard, there were guard rooms, a prison, etc.
If you take a closer look at the Neue Wache, you can experience a foray through history.
The guardhouse has had a variety of names over the years. The building was called „Haupt- und Königswache“ (Main and King’s Guard), it was also called „Mahnmal für die Gefallenen“ (Memorial to the Fallen) or „Reichsehrendenkmal“ (Monument to the Honour of the Reich) in the period 1933 – 1945, or „Ehrendenkmal für die Opfer des Faschismus und Militarismus“ (Monument to the Honour of the Victims of Fascism and Militarism).
Thus, each era has dealt with the building in its own way. The first guard parade took place on 18 September 1818 during the visit of Tsar Alexander. The building served as the main guardhouse until the fall of the monarchy in 1918. In 1931, the building became a memorial to the fallen of the First World War, i.e. a monument to the victims. Between 1939 – 1945 the memorial was badly damaged. After 1945 it was rebuilt and now served as a memorial against fascism and militarism.
The memorial was guarded by soldiers of the National People’s Army. The GDR kept 2 guards of the Friedrich Engels Regiment of Honour in front of the building at all times. Day after day, a changing of the guard was carried out here, which was strongly reminiscent of the English changing of the guard in London.
In militaristic times, it was the centre of attention at military parades and is therefore often seen in historical photos.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Neue Wache was rehabilitated and ceremoniously inaugurated in November 1993. Now it has become a memorial to the fallen and tyrants. The Federal Republic of Germany’s central memorial to the victims of tyranny.
The centrepiece of the bare room is a 1.6 m tall enlarged bronze copy of Käthe Kollwitz’s Mother with Dead Son (1937-39).
The interior of the building was reconstructed at the request of Helmut Kohl and Käthe Kollwitz’s sculpture „Mother with Dead Son“ or „Pieta“ was inserted. The inscription reads: They are victims of fighting and tyranny. Behind the Neue Wache is the Palais am Festungsgraben.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the famous statesman Baron von Stein lived here. Later it served as the Ministry of Finance and was then the House of German-Soviet Friendship. The building is beautifully situated between the Humboldt University and the Historical Museum with its striking pink colour.
Today it contains a theatre, several exhibition rooms and galleries. Next to it is the Singakademie, built in 1827 and designed to cultivate sacred music. It is considered one of the masterpieces of classicism and was built as a Roman castrum.
Olympiastadion – Olympic Stadium
The Olympic Stadium was originally built for the 1936 Olympic Games. Today it is the home of Hertha BSC, which is the main user of the sports venue, and of course of the German Cup Final in June, which many fans look forward to all year round.
It is located in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district and is easy to reach
by public transport. There is also plenty of parking available.
It is a tremendous and magnificent sight when they approach the Olympiastadion . The athletics arena is the largest of its kind in Germany.
The stadium was partially roofed over for the 1974 World Cup.
The last time it was used in a major context was during the 2006 World Cup and a Champions League final. In 2015, the Champions League final was held in this stadium without German participation, but with the legend Lionel Messi. Because such a large stadium was needed to hold all the visitors to the World Cup, it has room for over 76,000 seats!
Between 2000 and 2004, the stadium was renovated and used for the 2006 World Cup, including the World Cup final. Of the spectator seats, all are seated and all are completely covered. At the request of Hertha BSC, a blue tartan track was installed.
It was built in 1934 and completed in 1936, just in time for the 1936 Summer Olympics, during which the highly successful American track and field athlete Jesse Owens won four Olympic gold medals.
In the period up to 1945, it was used for propaganda purposes by the Nazis. It was to be built monumentally on the model of ancient sports venues. The full effect of the arena is particularly visible inside from the green lawn, as only the upper tiers protrude above ground level.
This construction method essentially shortened the construction time. An even larger version was not realised at the time for scheduling reasons. Originally, the architect Werner March planned a third upper ring because he felt deceived by the true size. The arena has since been rebuilt and renovated and is now a very special and peaceful place.
In addition to the football stadium, there is a swimming stadium, a jumping arena and, among other things, a smaller football stadium.
The Olympic grounds include the Maifeld, the hockey, riding and swimming stadiums, the Waldbühne, where many concerts and events take place, and the bell tower.
One part of the grounds is the Wahlbühne, which is used for concerts, among other things. Many great German groups and singers, such as Die Ärzte or Helene Fischer, but also international acts like Prince or the Rolling Stones, have given concerts here. But the Olympic Stadium itself has also been used by these artists for performances.
Of course, there is also a documentation centre dedicated to the site.
In the western ring, the oval is interrupted by the Marathon Gate, which gives you a view of the bell tower.
If you walk around the stadium, you can climb a tower at the western end, from which you have a good view over the stadium and towards Berlin. The tower seems high, and the last climb seems extremely open and is not recommended for people with a fear of heights – otherwise a beautiful tower that visitors should have seen.
Visiting the Olympic Stadium is cheap: if you want to walk inside and admire the building, the entrance fee is only a few euros and family tickets are also available. For senior citizens and pensioners, the entrance fee is lower than the normal price. However, make sure beforehand that there is no match going on during the time you want to visit and see it at your leisure, otherwise you will not be able to buy a ticket.
Getting to the stadium is not very difficult, both the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn stop in the immediate vicinity and have many platforms. The stadium is located in „old“ West Berlin. For example, you can take the U2 in the direction of Ruhleben to get here, or the S75 or S9 in the direction of Spandau directly to the site. All journeys are in Zone B, so a normal AB card will suffice at no extra cost.
Alexanderplatz was named after Alexander I in 1805. Together with Potsdamer Platz, it was the heart of the old nightlife. After the fall of the Wall, both squares are once again important places in the city, where partying and shopping are the order of the day. The TV tower is located directly on Alexanderplatz, also known as Alex in the vernacular. From here you have a wonderful view not only of Alexanderplatz, but also over the whole of Berlin.
The square was initially a market square in the 17th century. Later it was a parade ground. It got its name after the visit of the Russian Tsar Alexander I in 1805. It is one of the most famous squares.
At the end of the 19th century, the square developed into an important junction until today.
The reason for this is not least because of the television tower that is located here. The square is always bustling with activity, street performers and lots of people.
The station is the reason why more than half a million people use Alexanderplatz every day, because there are numerous restaurants and shops here selling everything from tobacco to various perfumes.
The construction of the S-Bahn happened in 1882. At the end of the 19th century, the location became a popular shopping destination with the construction of the Central Market Halls and the Tietz department stores‘. The expansion of the underground network led to a transformation of Alexanderplatz. Now underground trains, suburban trains and buses travel in all directions.
It is a very old station. Alexanderplatz can always be seen, at least the TV tower, which with its 368 metres can be seen over almost all districts. It was built in 1969 by the GDR and has 2 levels in the dome, the first is the viewing platform and one floor higher is the restaurant, here visitors can enjoy a beer and overlook the whole city in half an hour – the restaurant rotates once every half hour.
It is surrounded by office and commercial buildings. Life is now pulsating here. Alexanderplatz has been redesigned for a few years. A tram has been running here again since 1990. Various shops have settled here. In 2007, the Alexa shopping centre was opened. The Alexa is considered by many to be the best shopping centre. With its 180 shops and 17 restaurants, it offers something for every taste. The offer is very diverse. Cafes and restaurants are available here.
A tourist attraction are the men and women with their vendor’s tray grill, on which grilled sausages are prepared.
Another sight on the square is the World Time Clock, which tells the time for pretty much the whole world. The world clock is incredibly beautiful in the evening light, see the picture of the world clock on the right. If you are interested in electronics shops (mobile phones, radio, TV, streaming, music, records, films, household appliances, shirts, books, etc.), there is a large Saturn on Alexanderplatz and a huge Mediamarkt in Alexa.
During the time of the bourgeois revolution and at the beginning of the Weimar Republic, it was also often a site of political disputes.
Air raids in April 1945 severely destroyed the buildings, which have a historical background.
At the western end of Alexanderplatz is the Red Town Hall (the name is not political, the town hall is made of red tiles). The town hall is used today and is the seat of the mayor and the House of Representatives. The town hall also has its own tower, which at 74 metres is about a quarter of the height of the TV tower.
In the 1960s, a fundamental redesign of the square was undertaken. Many high-rise buildings were built to give the square a new image. Among them are „The House of the Teacher“, „The House of Travelling“ and „The House of the Electrical Industry“.
During the autumn holidays, you can experience a large market with a wide selection of clothes and the like, and around Christmas, one of the largest Christmas markets is held locally. Here, too, you can shop, eat and drink mulled wine.
The square is also home to the 10-metre-high world clock. On the clock, the dial rotates and on the side around it you can read the time in the countries of the world. On top is a sculpture of the solar system.
Museumsinsel – Museum Island
The Museum Island is one of the most important museum complexes in Europe and is located on an artificial island in the centre of the German capital. It includes five world-class museums, all of which together are one of the city’s biggest attractions.
The creation of the Museumsinsel began with the construction of the Altes Museum (antiquities collections), Meanwhile, in addition to the Altes Museum, there are also the Pergamon Museum (ancient monumental architecture, art of the Near East and Islamic art), the Bode Museum (formerly the Sculpture Collection and Museum of Byzantine Art; European sculptures from the Middle Ages to the Baroque, Byzantine art and a coin collection), the Neues Museum (Egyptian and prehistoric collections) and the Alte Nationalgalerie (19th century painting and sculpture). century).
In 1999, the Museum Island was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Altes Museum was designed by the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel and built from 1825 to 1830. Open-air concerts and theatre performances take place in the Lustgarten in front of the Altes Museum. Enjoy the historic buildings as a backdrop. It is built in the style of a Greek temple.
In the 19th century, the New Museum was built. It is also called the Egyptian Museum because it houses a collection of Egyptian exhibits and displays. The famous Nefertiti and the golden hat can be seen here. Walking around this area at night with its old facades and beautiful lighting, you can experience a great atmosphere.
In 1912, construction of the Pergamon Museum began. However, it was not completed until 1930. Every visitor can enjoy the overwhelming sight of the Pergamon Altar here.
The locals themselves consider it a must to visit at least the Pergamon Museum. There you will find art treasures from ancient Egypt, Greece and Byzantine culture. The reconstruction of the Pergamon Altar with a 120-metre-wide Greek marble frieze is beautiful, but the Ishtar Gate from Babylon is also impressive.
The Bode Museum was initially called the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum. It was not until 1956 that it was named after the museum director of many years, Wilhelm von Bode.
During the Second World War, many art objects were brought to safety, but most of the Museum Island was destroyed. After reunification, restoration and reconstruction began. The Old National Gallery was opened in 2001 and the Bode Museum in 2006.
Between 2000 and 2015, the museum complex was extensively restored, modernised and further expanded. In addition to the actual renovation work, a system of above-ground and underground connections between the individual museum buildings was created, enabling visitors to take a continuous walk through the extensive collections. In this way, the individual museums were connected both architecturally and functionally. In 1993, a competition was announced whose primary goal was to preserve the old buildings and adapt them to the modern museums with technology and architecture. The museums were to be combined into one complex, following the example of the famous Louvre Museum in Paris. A multi-billion dollar restoration of the Museum Island will connect the five museums via a so-called „archaeological promenade „The common entrance to the museum complex was designed
by British architect David Chipperfield, who also led the restoration of the Neues Museum between 1999 and 2009.
The Museum Island on an island in the Spree in Mitte is a unique cultural complex for archaeology and art of the older kind worldwide. 6000 years of history are gathered in five museums on one square kilometre – amazing! The entrance is named after James Simon, a Jewish industrialist and benefactor who was a friend of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II and, together with Wilhelm von Bode, founded the German Orient Society, which was crucial for the collections on Museum Island – including the world-famous bust of Nefertiti from the excavations of Al Amarna in Egypt 1907-1914. In summer, the colonnades of the Alte Nationalgalerie are used as a dance floor during the Museum Island Festival. If you want to relax between museum visits, the deck chairs under the columns of the Alte Nationalgalerie are tempting. Here you can take a breath and let the many impressions sink in.
Dom – Berlin Cathedral
The Berlin Cathedral, right on Unter den Linden, like so many other churches, is a beautiful and peaceful experience and is one of the most impressive buildings in the city. The church is located on Museum Island in Mitte, not far from Alexanderplatz. If you take a city tour with one of the hop-on hop-off buses, most of them stop here.
Construction of this large church began in the 1450s. It is modelled on St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The original church on this site was built in 1443 as the court church of the Hohenzollerns, the line that later became the royal house of Prussia. This family has been buried on this site since 1536.
However, due to structural defects, the original building was demolished and replaced by a church building. Construction of the cathedral you see here today did not begin until 1894, and it could not be consecrated with great pomp until 1905. With its rich ornamentation, it is considered a typical building of the reign of Wilhelm II. From 1894 to 1905, the cathedral’s construction supervisor was Julius Raschdorff
The dimensions of the cathedral are 114 metres long, 73 metres wide and about 116 metres high.
From 1974 to 2002, the cathedral was restored and now appears again in its magnificent splendour.
When visitors enter the cathedral, they will be surprised by its size. The artistically ornamented altar immediately catches the eye. The city planner Schinkel gave the inspiration for the altar wall in the background.
The present church was badly damaged in 1944 and, after extensive reconstruction, could not be used again until 1993. Visitors can see
the magnificent dome of the Dom with its paintings and the imperial box when they look up. However, the final restoration was not completed until 2002.
If you want to get to the Emperor’s Lodge, you can get there via the Emperor’s Staircase, which is decorated with beautiful landscape paintings. On the sides are the sarcophagi of the Hohenzollerns buried here. After 1945, the cathedral stood damaged and battered for many years, but finally renovation and reconstruction began, which was completed in 1993.
Various guided tours are offered here in a wide range of languages.
This attraction, like many others, is located on the beautiful and mythical street Unter den Linden and is therefore easy to find.
Not only will you see the inside of the cathedral, but you can also visit the royal crypt in the basement, where over 100 Hohenzollerns are housed with their respective dates. When you visit the church, be sure to make a detour up the tower and into the crypt where the royal family rests. The different sizes of the coffins and their various decorations are particularly impressive. Today, in addition to regular church services, the church also hosts music events and art exhibitions, and you may be lucky enough to witness a wedding.
The colossal dome can also be visited. Regular organ concerts are held here and the Sunday service is also translated into several languages, so the service is also interesting for foreign visitors. Once inside, don’t miss going all the way up and coming back out and walking around the entire dome – an incredibly beautiful sight!
The cathedral is located on the Lustgarten, which was laid out in 1573 and served first as a herb garden and later as an ornamental garden. It is particularly popular with the students of Humboldt University. It lies right between the cathedral and the Altes Museum.
The cathedral is open to tourists and guided tours are offered Monday to Saturday from 9am to 8pm and can be booked on site. On Sundays and red days, guided tours run from 12:00 to 20:00. Admission to the church costs around €10, but you can get in cheaper with a discount booklet. If you want to borrow an audio guide, it costs a few euros extra.
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche – Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is an old memorial church built in memory of Kaiser Wilhelm. It was built in the 1890s, was a real showpiece, is located on Kurfürstendamm and is probably one of the most famous landmarks in the city.
After 4 years of construction, it was erected in 1895 in honour of Kaiser Wilhelm I. The architect was the Cologne-based Franz Schweissner. The
architect was Franz Schwechten from
Cologne. The tower was given a stately height of 113 metres, making it one of the tallest buildings. It was destroyed during one of the many battles on 23 November 1943, the church tower burnt out.
Since then, the church has remained as a ruin and memorial. And although it is destroyed, it is an incredibly beautiful place, whose diverse beauty is a true testimony to the horrors of the Second World War.
It has become a landmark of the destroyed city, especially as the ruined steeple looms menacingly into the sky.
Inside the church, there are beautiful mosaics on the ceiling and walls that visitors should not miss.
It also looks very good when darkness falls, as the church is lit up from the outside like a monument. Sometimes organ concerts are held inside the church, which is supposed to be something very special.
In the 1950s, the architect Werner March was unexpectedly commissioned to build the new church. His design was not universally approved and a new call for tenders was issued.
In 1961, the architect Egon Eiermann from Karlsruhe created a new, rather minimalist church. It has very special walls made of small glass panes shimmering in different shades of blue, they were put together from around 20 000 glass windows, the windows were made in Chatres. Of course, it cannot compete with its neighbour, the church ruin, but it is still a beautiful church that is worth a visit.
In the evening, they glow bluish, in connection with the ruin next to them, this creates a special solemn atmosphere.
The ruined church is also known by the nickname „hollow tooth“, even the architect calls it a „rotten tooth that had to be demolished, he had not yet made peace with the old tower.
The new tower, built next to the memorial cherry, has been given several names, it is called „powder box“ or lipstick.
However, the ruins of the 63-metre-high tower are still very impressive. In the 2010s, the ruins were renovated, which has now been completed.
The church ruins and the new church are part of a neighbourhood that is rapidly developing, and a large residential complex with luxury flats and the Waldorf Astoria hotel has been built right next door.
Besides the church, there are more things to see around the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche:
Bikini Berlin is a fairly new mall directly opposite the church, the mall seems different and has some fashion shops, there are windows to the zoo from Bikini Haus. Part of this mall is also a hotel with a very special story. When guests went to the toilet in the hotel, you could stand in the street and watch – fortunately this has now been fixed.
Europacenter was the first big shopping centre in West Berlin for the locals, it is famous for the water clock, around 12:58h noon the spectacle starts daily at the water clock., watch it, especially children are fascinated by it.
The KaDeWe and the Zoo train station are just a few steps away.
Sightseeing in Berlin, whether by bus, on foot, by bike or by boat, is always exciting. I also have some information about a few places.
Zitadelle – Spandau Citadel
Spandau Citadel is a citadel in Spandau in the west. It was built between 1559 and 1594 and is considered one of the most important and best-preserved Renaissance fortresses in Europe.
At the time, Spandau Fortress was considered almost impregnable and played an important role in the military history of Brandenburg and Prussia.
To the west of Charlottenburg Wilmersdorf and north of Potsdam lies the former fortress and is surrounded by water.
Built on an island northeast of Spandau’s old town at the confluence of the Havel and Spree rivers, the fortress served to protect the city, which was independent until 1920.
Because new weapons technology had rendered the old castles useless, the Elector Joachim II had the citadel built in the 16th century.
The architect was the Italian Francesco Chiaramella de Gandino. The building reflects the architectural ideal of the time – it is symmetrical, has four bastions and thus no blind spots.
The four bastions offered sufficient protection. The gatehouse with a drawbridge is located in the southern kurtine.
It was used for various purposes, including as a munitions factory during the Thirty Years‘ War and as a gas laboratory during the period from 1939 to 1945.
During the Thirty Years‘ War, Swedish troops retreated to the protection of the city. During the Seven Years‘ War, Frederick the Great’s wife, Queen Elisabeth Kristina, fled there to seek safety from the Austrians.
The façade dates from 1839, after the original Renaissance façade was damaged and not reconstructed.
The Zitadelle Spandau is a medieval fortification in the Spandau district.
Every winter, around 10,000 bats hibernate in the shelter of Spandau Fortress.
If visitors cross the bridge through the gatehouse, they reach the Palas, the Gothic hall building, on the left. This building was also partially destroyed and reconstructed in the neo-Gothic style in 1977. It is one of the best-preserved historical fortresses in Europe and is located on a small island in the confluence of the Havel and Spree rivers, completely surrounded by water.
In the Queen’s Bastion there are numerous Jewish gravestones dating from the 13th century.
The main part of the fortress was completed between the 16th century and built by Joachim II, Elector of Brandenburg. It was designed by
the Italian architect Chiaramella da Gandino on northern Italian models. He designed four arrow-shaped bastions named King, Queen, Crown Prince and Brandenburg.
Due to the expulsion of the Jews in the 16th century, these rescued gravestones provide valuable information about the culture and life of the Jewish community during this period.
The fortress is located on the site of an early medieval Slavic settlement. It was later expanded into a large fortress to protect the town of Spandau, which lay on an important trade route from the Rhineland to Poland.
The oldest preserved part of the fortress is the 32-metre-high Julius Tower, which was built around 1200 and is considered Spandau’s landmark.
Today it is the oldest non-church building.
Once visitors have climbed the many steps of the spiral staircase, they have a beautiful view over the city and the surrounding area. The upper part of the tower is an extension designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel in 1838. The walls of the tower are 3.6 metres thick. The main hall (palas) of the fortress was built between 1521 and 1523.
The battlement was designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. The origin of its name is not clear; it probably comes from the Jewish servant of Margrave Ludwig the Roman in the 14th century.
The bastions of the square fortress are about 300 metres apart at the tops. The modern bastions were important because the development of cannons had made the old castles unsuitable for defensive purposes.
The only real military confrontation in the fortress took place during the Napoleonic Wars in 1813. Prussian troops attacked it to retake it from the French, causing great damage, especially to the gate building.
Over the course of time, the citadel has repeatedly served as a prison for famous names, such as Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, the gymnastics father Jahn, in 1821.
It got its present appearance after a restoration in 1839. In the 19th century, several new buildings were erected inside the fortress.
Later, the fortress served as a prison and treasury. The reparations paid by France to Germany after the battles of 1870 were kept in the Julius Towers until 1919.
In the 20th century, the citadel served as accommodation for a vocational school, for example. In recent years it has been used as a museum and is a popular tourist attraction. Spandau’s city history museum is located in the armoury.
Today, the courtyard and an open-air stage serve as a backdrop for large concerts and other cultural events.
Rotes Rathaus – Red City Hall
The Red City Hall is located on Rathausstraße in the centre, between the TV Tower and the Spree River, and houses the Berlin Senate and the Governing Mayor. The name has nothing to do with communists – it’s just the colour of the reddish clinker stones, the model for this red cladding here was the Northern Italian High Renaissance.
It is the seat of the Senate and the governing mayor.
The town hall was built between 1861 and 1869 by the architect Friedrich Waesemann. The model for the building was the town hall in Thorn in West Prussia, while the inspiration for the tower came from the cathedral in Laon in France. It is 99 metres long and 88 wide. It consists of several wings with three inner courtyards. The 74-metre-high tower is visible from afar.
Town halls have been built on this site since the Middle Ages.
The forerunner of Berlin’s town hall stood on Molkenmarkt. This consisted of several buildings. Some of them dated back to the Middle Ages. Since the old town hall was no longer considered practical and functional, the new location was created.
It is somewhat reminiscent of Big Ben. However, it was modelled on the cathedral of the French city of Laon and the town hall of the West Prussian city of Thorn. Somewhat unusual is a balcony that runs the entire length of the building and a terracotta frieze whose 36 reliefs tell the history of the city from the 12th century onwards.
It was restored in the 1950s and the interiors were also modernised.
The building was restored after 1945 and housed the Berlin city administration, which lived here until the fall of the Wall in 1989. As part of the reunification, the Senate of West Berlin moved from the Schöneberg Town Hall to the Red Town Hall.
In front of the town hall there is a small monument in honour of the men and women who cleaned up the ruins of the city after the Second World War, two statues, one of the Trümmerfrau and the Aufbauhelfer. Both statues were created by Fritz Kremer in 1958.
Inside you will find the Hall of Arms, the Great Hall and the Hall of Columns. The Coat of Arms Hall is used especially for entries in the city’s Golden Book and for receptions. The coats of arms of the city districts are displayed here. The Great Hall is mainly used for concerts, receptions and readings. There is a town hall in every district
here. In Schöneberg probably the most presentable. This is where the then US President John F. Kennedy gave his „Ich bin ein Berliner“ speech in 1963. In Neukölln it looks like a medieval castle and in Kreuzberg and Mitte it is rather inconspicuous.
In front of the Rotes Rathaus stands the Neptune Fountain, once a gift from the City to Kaiser Wilhelm.
In the centre of the fountain is the Roman god Neptune. The four women around Neptune represent the four most important rivers in Prussia at the time of the fountain’s construction: the Elbe (with the allegorical figure holding fruit and grain), the Rhine (fishing nets and grapes), the Vistula (blocks of wood, symbols of forestry) and the Oder (goats and animal skins).
Flughafen – Tempelhof Airport
Tempelhof Airport is located in the city centre and was opened in 1927. Extensive expansion of the airport began in 1934. Tempelhof is an American district, the name goes back to a foundation of the Order of the Knights Templar. The district was closely associated with what was until then Europe’s only central airfield. In the late 1930s, the airport was one of the busiest in the world. It is only a few kilometres from the city centre.
Seen from above, the airport has the shape of an eagle. The airport is otherwise best known for the so-called Berlin Blockade between 24 June 1948 and 12 May 1949. The Airlift Memorial stands there to commemorate this event. It is also called Hungerharke by the old residents. The memorial was erected to commemorate 78 victims (pilots and ground staff).
During this time, the Soviet Union tried to cut off the supply of materials and supplies by closing all roads and railway lines to West Berlin. The Soviet Union’s goal was to gain control over all districts.
As a countermeasure, the US and British air forces launched an airlift on 24 June, bringing supplies via Flughafen Tempelhof.
During these difficult times, the population here was supplied with everything they needed to live
by the „sultana bombers„. Over 200,000 flights were made and a total of about 13,000 tonnes of goods supplies (wheat flour, barley, yeast, cheese, fish, milk, meat, potatoes, coffee, fat, sugar, vegetables, coal, cigarettes, petrol, salt, chocolate and sweets for the children) were flown here, making the blockade ineffective.
The airlift was an unusual technical achievement. It was through this airlift that West Berliners were able to survive the blockade. The Soviet Union broke the blockade on 12 May 1949. The now disused Tempelhof Airport, once the largest building in the world that could supposedly be seen from the moon, is perhaps one of the world’s airports with the most dramatic history, partly because of the airlift.
It is surrounded by residential houses, so the runways were very short. Expanding the runways was not possible because of the houses, the noise was hardly bearable for the residents.
The metropolis and the airports are a complicated love story, opening and closing every few decades.
Since Tempelhof was too small, a modern airport was built in Tegel, in the north of the city, for 400 million marks and opened in 1974. Tegel Airport was generally regarded as an airfield of short distances.
Air traffic in the 70s and 80s to and from Berlin was based on Allied law, and since 1975 it has been served by Pan Am, British Airways, Air France and various Allied charter airlines.
Tempelhof was the sleepiest of the three airports until 2008. Then it was finally shut down and is now a public park , Tempelhofer Park, where guided tours of the former terminal, among other things, are offered.
Tempelhof’s huge runways were quickly taken over by residents, who now skateboard and fly kites, drink beer and indulge in urban gardening. Sunny Sundays feel magically long and peaceful on the huge open space, and the place has rightly become one of the best meeting places.
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