Berlin is the capital of Germany. It is part of Germany’s sixteen states and also its largest city, with a population of 3.4 million residents. According to documented records dating back to the 13th century, Berlin was the successive capital of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1701-1918; the German Empire from 1871-1918; the Weimar Republic from 1919-1933 and the Third Reich from 1933-1945. In the 1920s Berlin was the third largest municipality in the world. After the Second World War, the city was divided to East Berlin, which was East Germany’s capital, while West Berlin became the default territory of West Germany, surrounded by the Berlin Wall. After the German reunification in 1990, the city once again became Germany’s capital.
Apart from its historical associations, Berlin also has renowned universities, research institutes, museums, sporting events, orchestras and personalities. It is also recognized among the youth for its internationality, and as a city that practices tolerance. Visitors are also drawn to the city’s thrumming nightlife, its cafes, its clubs, its bars, the street art, and for its numerous historical sites and structures.
If you’re planning a trip to Berlin, here are some recommended places to visit:
- The Reichstag- the Reichstag building is a historical structure built in 1894 to house the Reichstag parliament of the German Empire. In 1933 the building had been badly damaged by a fire which was allegedly set by Dutch communist Marinus van der Lubbe. The building fell into after the Second World War and had not been fully restored until after the reunification of Germany on October 3, 1990.
- The Brandenburger Tor- or the Brandenburg Gate is a gate laden with symbolic meaning. It used to be the city gate that used to divide Berlin, which now stands for its reunification. It is located west to the city center at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraβe. The Brandenburg Gate sustained much damage during World War II but was fully restored from 2000 to 2002 by the Berlin Monument Conservation Foundation and is now recognized for being one of Europe’s most famous landmarks.
- The Deutsches Historisches Museum- or the German Historical Museum features exhibits that cover everything from pre-history up until the present day. It was founded in 1987 by Helmut Kohl, the chancellor of Germany, and Eberhard Diepgen, the mayor of Berlin to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the founding of Berlin. It is located in the Zeughaus which was founded in 1695 and is the oldest structure on the Unter den Linden Avenue in central Berlin.
- The Jüdisches Museum- the Jüdisches Museum features exhibits covering two millennia of German Jewish history. The exhibits are housed in two buildings, the old Kollegienhaus, built in the 18th century, and the new building designed by architect Daniel Libeskind.
- The Ramones Museum- Fans of the punk band may want to drop by Krausnickstrasse 23 to visit the Ramones Museum which features over 300 original and unique memorabilia.