Did you know that Berlin Germany has more than 140 Museums? Did you further know that this city has more than 1,400 bridges, and besides all that more than 100 additional places of interest? Read on to discover.
With about 3,400,000 inhabitants, Berlin is the largest City in Germany. It is 38 kilometres long and 45 kilometres wide. Consider that Berlin has a lot of suburbs and districts. As you know, the city was divided in its history. You will still recognize that there is/was East-Berlin and West-Berlin so it has a “City East” and a “City West”.
Arrival is possible with four different options.
1. By aircraft – Berlin has three airports.
2. By train – it’s a junction of the German Rail Network. Example, the station “Bahnhof Zoo” is located within Belin Mitte (City East), thus you have “instant access” to a lot of sights and pubs.
3. By Car – All motorways to Berlin lead to the “Berliner Ring”. From there you can get to the inner city on various access roads.
4. By Bus – it’s a well-priced and comfortable way to travel to this (or any other) city. The “Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof” (ZOB – Central Bus Station) is situated near the Exhibition Centre (ICC), in Charlottenburg, City West. From there, you have connections to over 350 destinations in Germany and Europe!
Now, shall we get started? Okay, c’mon, take my hand, let’s go sightseeing!
The Reichstag was constructed from 1884–94 by Paul Wallot, is the seat of the German Bundestag or federal government, and with its new transparent dome, one of the biggest crowd-draws in Berlin. Its colorful past reflects the turbulence of German history since the 19th century. From 1994–99, the Reichstag was reconstructed and extended by the Architect Sir Norman Forster. He decided to add an accessible transparent dome, in which you can walk through and “participate” and view how political decisions are made. One says, “We (the government) want to show that we have nothing to hide”.
This is the most legendary street in the whole city. It combines the architecture of New Berlin with the tradition of the “Golden Twenties”. In the Twenties, the 3.5 km long street was the location for pleasure palaces, cafés, theatres and variety of theatres such as the famous “Wintergarten”. After the division of the city, the Wall also cut through this street. The world-famous Checkpoint Charlie was located at the border of the districts of Kreuzberg and Mitte and thus at the border of East and West Berlin. Not only visitors but also the employees from the new, chic offices, agencies and media centers all enjoy the urban spirit and New York flair of the new Friedrichstrasse.
From 1961 to 1990, Checkpoint Charlie was the only border crossing point for the Allies, foreigners, employees of the Permanent Representation, and officials of the GDR. And it was the place where Soviet and American tanks stood face to face. Today, the checkpoint is commemorated by a border sign and a soldier’s post.
4Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)
This impressive building was the court church of the Hohenzollern Dynasty. It was also conceived as a protestant answer to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It was built during the reign of Kaiser Wilhem II, end of the 19th Century. Following extensive damage to the building during the Second World War, a simplified reconstruction took place from 1975–93. The Christening and Marriage Chapel contains the altar painting “Miracle of the Pentecost” by K. Begas the Elder. The royal crypt of the Hohenzollern contains around 100 burials of five centuries.
Its short name is “Alex”, and it’s the most famous square in Berlin. It was almost completely destroyed in the World War 2. It has also the big TV Tower which dominates the square, the Fountain of International Friendship, and the World Time Clock.
6Fernsehturm (TV Tower)
This is the highest building in Berlin and one of the biggest attractions. It has a height of 368 metres. When you go up to the viewing platform (at a height of 203 metres), you have a perfect view over the whole city you will never forget.
7Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate)
This is the true symbol of the city. Because it was situated in the no man’s land just behind the wall, it also became a symbol of the division of the city. After the fall of the Wall, the Gate was reopened on December 22nd, 1989. It is just amazing to walk through this huge and historical building. Would you like to know how the gate looked like in the year 1770? Or in 1969?
Fortunately, since October 22nd, 2002, the Brandenburg Gate remains closed for cars, cabs and busses. So now you can better enjoy the renewed beauty of the Pariser Platz, which forms the link between the Brandenburg Gate and the magnificent “Unter den Linden” boulevard.
8Unter den Linden
It’s called as the magnificent boulevard of Berlin Germany. It is surrounded by trees, which it was not all the time. Hitler ordered the linden trees to be chopped down so that the road could be widened and integrated into the east-west axes. However, by the end of the Second World War, the avenue was a wasteland of ruins. Today you can not recognize this part of history. Unter den Linden has been beautifully and well developed and reconstructed.
Museum’s Island? Where is it? Calm down 🙂 It will arrive in the third part of this 4-part article about the TOP 10 Sights in Berlin Germany. And in the fourth part, we will cover the Erotic Museum an… we’ll see what else.
I strongly recommend using the S-Bahn to go there (station “Friedrichstrasse”). It’s just amazing when you recognize how the S-Bahn passes between two of the five Museums.
9Museumsinsel (Museum’s Island)
Considering that Berlin has more than 140 museums, this area is just a tiny part of it. But, the consort of museums found on the Museum Island is a unique cultural inheritance which unites five important museum buildings into a heterogeneous but harmonic ensemble on the River Spree. The oldest museum complex in Berlin suffered more than 70 % destruction in the Second World War. The painstaking work of restoration is a long way from being completed. The island contains the following five edifices:
Alte Museum, built in 1830. Its interior, particularly the domed rotunda, creates a wonderful atmosphere for the sculpture exhibited and the collection of ancient artworks.
Neue Museum, built from 1843-1859, to relieve the Alte Museum. The interior design presents the history of humankind. It is decorated in historical styles which relate directly to the objects exhibited and the epochs they represent.
Alte Nationalgalerie, built from 1867-1976 as a ‘Temple of the Sciences’. The building, with its large external staircase and bronze statue of Friedrich Wilhelm IV. on horseback, was rebuilt in the 1950s and has been undergoing expensive restoration since 1997.
Bodemuseum, built end of 19th century. With its imposing dome and splendid entrance hall, the building seems to traverse the Spree like a ship. The interior contains several rooms, whose are individually created in a style appropriate to the epoch exhibited there.
Pergamonmuseum, built in 1930, 100 years after the first edifice on this island. It contains the Roman gate from Milet, the Altar of Zeus from Pergamon, and the Processional Avenue and Gate of Ishtar from Babylon.
If you, however, would like to see more museums than these four alone, I recommend buying the “3-day Museumpass,” which cost 12 EUR (reduced: 6 EUR). With it, you can visit 70 of the 140 museums on three consecutive opening days.
Gendarmenmarkt is considered as Europeans most beautiful square, so a must see for every tourist. Here you will find three historical buildings; the “Konzerthaus” (Concert House), the “Deutscher Dom” (German Cathedral), and the “Franzoesischer Dom” (French Cathedral).
The square was laid out from 1688 to the plans of J.A. Nering. It was originally known as Linden Markt, then Friedrichstädtischer Markt or Neuer Markt. Because the square was used by a curassier regiment “gens d’arms,” from 1736–82, complete with sentry boxes and stables, the name Gendarmenmarkt arose. From 1777, the square was developed according to unified plans drawn up by Georg Christian Unger. It was badly damaged in the Second World War. On the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the Prussian Academy of the Sciences (Akademie der Wissenschaften), it was renamed “Platz der Akademie.” In 1991, its previous name was restored.
The Konzerthaus is the new building designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel to replace the Nationaltheater built from 1800–02 by Karl Gotthard Langhans, which was burnt to the ground in 1817. The conception of the Konzerthaus integrates the remains of Langhan’s rectangular building and adds a higher, wider, gabled solidium in the center, complete with an ionic columned hall projecting at the front. Following its destruction in the Second World War, the building was initially only made safe, and the systematic restoration of the original design only began in 1979. Since its reopening in 1984 it has served not as a theatre, but as a concert hall.
The German Cathedral was built from 1701-08. M. Grünberg planned it, and Giovanni Simonetti built it. From 1780-85, during the redesigning of the Gendarmenmarkt, Carl von Gontard added the domed tower onto the cathedral. The cathedral was destroyed in the Second World War as well. However, it had been reconstructed and rebuilt. The reopening was on October 2nd, 1996, five years after the reunification.
The Französische Friedrichstadtkirche was built from 1701-05 by Cayart. He designed it as a church for Berlin’s Huguenot community. From 1780-85, the imposing tower of the French cathedral (Französischer Dom) was added to plans by Unger and Gontard as part of the redesigning of Gendarmenmarkt. In the World War 2, the cathedral was badly damaged. However, from 1977 on it was rebuilt and reconstructed.