Berlin stands in the middle of the region that has been known since medieval times as the Mark of Brandenburg, and which is now the federal state of Brandenburg, with the River Spree running through the middle of it.
After a long slumber lasting fifty years, it is now once again the capital of a unified Germany, and is newly considered to be one of the most important European metropolis. After the Second World War, Berlin was left completely destroyed and demoralised, squeezed in between the East and the West, and divided both physically and metaphorically by a long wall that cut across the city. Today, now that the Cold War and the events of 1989, which ended in the knocking down of the wall, begin to be just far off memories, Berlin is beginning to think about its own future. New buildings, designed by world-famous architects, have sprung up everywhere in this new Berlin, and although a large part of its historical and artistic heritage was destroyed during the last war, the city has kept its cultural identity and great wealth, with its museums and many monuments. However, Berlin is still a city with two souls. The western part has modern, alternative lifestyles, its nightlife is busy and exciting, while the Eastern part is still a kind of trip through what remains of socialism, a living museum made up of state buildings and grey condominium buildings, but with many hidden beauties.
Berlin is a huge city and many itineraries can be prepared for visits to its 23 districts. Here we will just list the most interesting sights, most of which are concentrated in a small part of the city and can therefore be reached on foot. To visit the outskirts, we recommend that you use the public transport services that include the subway trains (U-Bahn, which run from 4 am to about midnight), the local trains (S-Bahn, same running times as the U-Bahn), buses and trams (some routes run all night).
The heart of Prussian Berlin is called the Mitte, the city’s old town, the symbol of political and imperial military power, and later National Socialist power, which was in the Eastern part of the city before the wall was knocked down. The famous Brandenburg Gate, inspired by the Propileuses from the Athens Acropolis and topped by a statue of the goddess of Victory leading a four-horsed chariot, rises at the end of the huge Avenue known as Unter den Linden. This was the border between East Berlin and West Berlin until the wall fell and is now the symbol of the city. The long, glorious tree-lined avenue Unter den Linden, created in the 18th Century, and its historical buildings were almost completely destroyed during the last war. The buildings on the west side of the avenue which crosses with Friedrichstrasse were replaced with new buildings, while in the eastern part the buildings were restored in their original style. Worthy of note are: the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, the Humboldt-Universität, the horse monument of Frederick II, the Haus der Gewerkschaften, the Alte Palais.
Opposite the university there is the Bebelplatz, the Forum Fridericianus designed by Frederick the Great, a huge architectural complex that includes the Deutsche Staatsoper, St. Hedwigs Kathedrale, the Alte Königliche Bibliothek. Further along we can find the Neue Wache, once the home of the royal guards and now a memorial to the victims of fascism and militarism and the Zeughaus - the arsenal - that was the largest Baroque building in Berlin and which is now the home of the German History Museum. Travelling over the Schlossbrücke, the beautiful bridge with eight marble sections that depict the training and the growth of a Greek warrior, we come to Schlossplatz, home to the Palast der Republik, once the seat of Parliament for the ex-DDR. On the north side of the square is the Berliner Dom, built between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century in an Italian Neo-Renaissance style. The church’s crypt contains the tombs of the Hohenzollerns. If we continue east we come to the destroyed Alexanderplatz, dedicated to Tsar Alexander I and rebuilt after the bombing raids of the last war. The square contains the TV Tower (Fernsehturm) and the World Time Clock, the clock that shows the time of all the cities of the world. A short distance away is the Marienkirche, the Nikolaikirche and the Rathaus, the red-brick Neo-Renaissance building that is the seat of the city council in Berlin.
Going back to the Brandenburg Gate and carrying on towards the River Spree, the route arrives at the Reichstag, the seat of the German Parliament. It was destroyed by a fire in 1933 and then again by bombing in 1945. It was built again after the war, work which continued up to recent years, and it now has a spectacular glass dome. This was the place where, on 2nd October 1990, the reunification of Germany was announced. Further on there is the Schloss Bellevue, built in a Neoclassical style, and the Grosser Stern, a huge square that is also home to the Victory Column (Siegessäule), which lies in the middle of the Tiergarten, a wonderful city park which was once the hunting grounds of the Brandenburg princes.
Hotels and lodgingEdit
- Kreuzberg Hotels Hotels within the Kreuzberg district.
- OctopusTravel.com Hotels in Berlin and all over the World
- Berlin Hotels Berlin hotel prices compared to suit all travellers.
- Zoologischer Garten Hotels. Hotels in the Zoologischer Garten area of Berlin.
Hotels near Sports Venues
Hertha Berlin Hotels A google map of hotels close to the football stadium.
Hotels near Airports
- Airport Hotel Lists accommodation near Berlin's main airports.
- The Kultur Forum, located slightly west of the Potsdamer Platz quarter, is an extraordinary group of museums, galleries, libraries and concert halls and is considered to be one of the best cultural centres in Germany.
- It also includes the Gemäldegalerie, one of the most prestigious art galleries in the country that houses a large collection of paintings by European Masters dating from the 13th to the 18th centuries.
- The island which is located between two branches of the River Spree, at the eastern end of the Unter den Linden, is called Museuminsel. There is an impressive group of five important museums on it: the Alte Nationalgalerie houses an important collection of pictures and sculptures from the 14th to the 20th centuries.
- The Alte Museum has collections of classical art and German Masters. The Pergamonmuseum is an exceptional museum of art and antique architecture. The Bodemuseum and the Neues Museum are currently undergoing restoration. To the north west of Ernst-Reuter-Platz, in parkland that runs alongside the river Spree, there is a castle named Charlottenburg. It is the largest and most prestigious castle in the city, built at the end of the 17th century as the summer residence for Queen Sophie Charlotte. A Protector of the arts, the sovereign turned Charlottenburg into a meeting place for intellectuals and musicians. The castle was seriously damaged by bombs during the last war, and was rebuilt by copying photographs, sketches and designs. The interiors too have been returned to their antique splendour, thanks to the restoration of decorations and furniture.
- One of the favourite locations for excursions from Berlin is Potsdam, which lies at 24 km from the capital on the River Havel and which is the capital of the state of Brandenburg. It is known as the “German Versailles”, as the Prussian royal family had splendid castles and parks built there.
- Sanssouci Castle, a work of art of the German rococo, was built to the west of the city in 1745-47 for Frederick II, according to a project by the same king. The interiors, in rococo style, are filled with frescoes, stucco work, statues, sophisticated furnishings and ornaments. One of the most interesting rooms is the Konzertsaal and the Damenflügel rooms.
Maps and transportationEdit
Getting to BerlinEdit
City Map: 
Public Transport: BVG Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe 
Practical information and resourcesEdit
Currency : Euro
Electric suply: 220V, 50Hz.
Climate : The annual average temperature in Berlin is about 9°C. In January, which is the coldest month, the average temperature is 1°C, whereas in the hottest month, July, the average temperature is 19°C. The climate is relatively dry, with not much rainfall.
Language : German
Opening hours : The shops are usually open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 8 pm, and on Saturdays from 9 am to 4 pm. The banks are open from Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 1 pm and some are also open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3.30 pm to 6 pm.
Telephones : To call Germany dial the code 0049 followed by the area code (without the 0) and the number of the person being called. The area code for Berlin is 030
Berlin has restaurants to suit all tastes. In addition to the places that serve local food, there are also many ethnic restaurants of all nationalities. In particular there are many Turkish restaurants.
Berlin is full of bars, pubs, discotheques, and every type of entertainment. It is one of the liveliest cities in Europe. Berlin wakes up at night, when the others go to sleep. Paradoxically, the ex-West Berlin is less lively than the growing new ex-East Berlin. Here, the best zones are Mitte and above all Prenzlauer Berg, while in the west it is worth visiting the areas of Savignyplatz, Kreuzberg, Nollendorfplatz and Winterfeldtplatz.
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