Berlin isn’t easy to tell and it’s not just about the risk of highlighting some points while guiltily neglecting others.
To this aspect we must in fact add that it is a city in continuous ferment .
An artistic, cultural and creative ferment that not only affects habits and customs, but often changes the very structure of the city.
In other words, the story of Berlin is under constant review even if, even if limited to the main tourist attractions, the result is a holiday that is second to none in Europe, and beyond.
In fact , post-modern urban planning coexists perfectly with monuments , museums and a thousand other testimonies of great historyof this city, which is therefore a must for anyone who wants to deepen their knowledge of both the present time and the 1900s.
Below, let’s see together the best things to do in Berlin. Happy reading .
At the beginning we mentioned the difficulty of describing Berlin.
Let’s take Mitte : not only is it one of the districts into which the city is divided, but it is also one of the districts of the homonymous district (the other districts are: Moabit , Hansaviertel , Tiergarten , Wedding , Gesundbrunnen ).
And what a neighborhood, one has to say.
Indeed, Mitte is the beating heart of Berlin, a must for any visit to the city, be it short or long.
Therefore, putting it at the top of our list is obvious: from the TV Tower, to the Museum Island via the Unter den Linten avenue, many of the city’s main attractions are located here.
Before going to see them in detail, a piece of advice : wandering around Mitte is very pleasant, so visit everything there is to visit as relaxed as possible.
In the 1950s the GDR , partly out of logistical necessity and partly to magnify the fate of the socialist regime , erected a gigantic television tower in the center of Alexanderplatz for the broadcasting of state programmes.
After the fall of the wall and the reunification of East and West Berlin, “Telespargel” ( transl . Teleasparago), soon became a symbol of the city.
Two factors underlie its popularity: on the one hand, the grandeur of the structure ( 365 meters), on the other hand the fact of being in a historically important square which Alexanderplatz has always been (so called in 1805 in honor of the Tsar of Russia Alexander I).
Today the TV Tower is one of the main attractions of Berlin.
At a height of 203 meters there is a platform (reachable by lift ) which on clear days offers a magnificent skyline , not to mention the presence of an exclusive restaurant (“Sphere”) which rotates its axis every 30 minutes complete on itself.
That’s not all, because to avoid kilometric queues, the organization has seen fit to warn customers via text message.
Obviously, you must have booked in advance, which you can do at www . tv-turm.de (English version available).
At the same address all the information on opening/closing times and prices. Not to be missed!
There is an islet on the River Spree , on which the first settlement of Berlin arose in the 12th century .
Today this small strip of land houses some of the most important museums in the world, one next to the other.
Not surprisingly, the place has been renamed “Museum Island” (Museuminsel) and is another obligatory stop on a visit to the city.
After all, there are hundreds of museums in Berlin and in the impossibility of visiting them all, at least in one go, one inevitably has to make a selection.
Therefore, it is obvious to start from the best known: the Ancient Museum (Altes Museum) which houses sculptures and works of art from the Etruscan, Greek and Roman periods;
the New Museum (Neues Museum)with a very rich collection of artifacts from the Egyptian age, including the famous Bust of Nefertiti;
the Bode Museum (Bodemuseum) of which one cannot fail to admire the Byzantine art collection with exhibits ranging from the Middle Ages to the 18th century;
the Pergamon Museum , erected to house the Pergamon Altar found in Turkey in 1878 by the engineer Carl Wilhelm Humann; and last but not least, the National Gallery (Alte Nationalgalerie).
The latter represents the largest center of museum culture in the whole of Germany, and was conceived in this way right from the beginning, in 1876, the year it was founded.
The fall of the Wall provided the historic opportunity to bring together the collections kept on the two sides of the curtain, obviously without forgetting that enormous sacrifices had already been made during the Second World War in order not to lose a priceless heritage.
For further information visit the site : www.smb.museum (of which the English version is available).
4Under the linden trees
“Unter den Linden” : under the lime trees. This is the name of the main boulevard in Berlin , and one of the most famous in the world .
A kilometer and a half of road, about 60 meters wide, surrounded on both sides by several rows of lime trees, whose planting dates back to the reign of Frederick William I of Prussia .
The monarch needed the path from the Royal Palace to the hunting lodge in the Tiergargarten district to be as shady as possible and so he ordered these trees to be planted. After Frederick William I, it was the turn of his son Frederick II of Prussia to provide for the embellishment of the boulevard, ordering the construction of the National Opera Theater (Staatsoper) and theNational Library .
In the 19th century, the victory against France prompted the placing of several statues as a tribute to the courage of the generals of the Prussian army.
On the road you come across several other buildings of great value: among others, the Palace of the Hereditary Prince (Kroprinzepalais) , the Armory ( Zeughaus, see next point) and the Humboldt University famous for having been frequented by Karl Marx.
The Second World War, and the subsequent division of the city in two, led to a rapid decline of “Unter den Linden”.
Decline averted with the reunification of 1990 which, albeit on new foundations, in a mix of conservation and innovation, restored the centrality of this beautiful avenue which ends (or begins) with the Brandenburg Gate (see point 6).
5German History Museum
Almost 30 years after the fall of the wall, Berlin is a completely different city.
So different that, while retaining many traces of that physical, political and psychological division, without a guide, one risks losing the thread of memory .
That is, of failing to reconstruct the different passages of a fundamental event in German, European and world history.
Therefore, a visit to the Deutsches Historiches Museum , inside the armory building ( Zeughaus ) mentioned above, is a must for anyone who is really interested in learning about the history of Berlin and Germany.
The history relating to the forty years 1949-1990, and the more specific one of the construction of the wall in 1961.
It did not end here, because the museum also retraces the stages of theNazi dictatorship and, backwards, those of the First World War and of German unification in the 19th century. In short, this museum offers the visitor an overview of German history, without renouncing, however, to host temporary exhibitions .
Exhibitions set up in the wing of the building designed by the Chinese-American starchitect Ieoh Ming Pei , who is also responsible for the Pyramid of the Louvre in Paris. For more information , visit the official website : www.dhm.de (English version available).
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