A Short Introduction To Berlin

In the past century, Berlin has undergone more identity shifts than Bob Dylan. To many people, Berlin evokes unfortunate images of World War II, a huge grey wall of socialism or stereotyped images of Bratwurst. The truth is that Berlin is THE city of the 21st century.

Often the conflict between Old Berlin and New Berlin overwhelms visitors, so this short introductory guide aims to lay out a few must-see spots within walking distance of each other. Your trip will most likely start at the new Hauptbahnhof (central train station), which sits near the German parliament building (Reichstag), Angela Merkel’s office in 2019.

An excellent way to get over the jet lag is to wait on the solid line to go up to the glass cupola in the building, which provides an excellent panoramic view of the city. After the Reichstag, you can walk to the Brandenburger Tor and admire the statue on top of the Gate. Next to the Gate is the Adlon Hotel, it became more famous for Michael Jackson’s baby-dangling escapades than for its glamorous guests,  or the fact that Queen Elizabeth II owns a part of the hotel.

On a nice and sunny day, this area is great to sit and have a drink in one of thousands cocktail bars Berlin has to offer. If you are hungry, Berlin is famous for both its sausages and Döner kebabs, which have been brought to Germany by the substantial Turkish (not so) minority. After a Döner and some snapshots, the next thing to do is walk down Unter den Linden in the direction of the Fernsehturm (TV tower) and Alexanderplatz. At the Fernsehturm you can stand in a long line except you booked ahead online a fast track ticket.

 

Then you will get the opportunity to go up the 368 meters by a fast elevator and see the entire city. Once up, you can eat at the city’s highest restaurant, which actually revolves 360 degrees approximately every 30 minutes. Prices are a way higher than at the ground. Find here tickets for the Fernsehturm and other Berlin attractions. 

There are plenty of quality shops and cafes in the area of Under den Linden, including the large Dussmann Kulturkaufhaus at Friedrichstraße (a book, music, and media store). Unter den Linden intersects with Friedrichstraße, which is near the historic Museuminsel (literally: Museum island and really more of a peninsula). Don’t miss out the Berliner Dom (Evangelical Cathedral) that opened its gates for the first time in 1750.

View on Berliner Dom

 

No trip to Berlin is complete without an adventure out there on the Museum Island, especially to see the priceless antiquities at the Pergamon. Free audio guides are available there in many languages, so even if you are not a classics expert, you will become one! Since Museuminsel is formed by the river Spree, a pleasant way to spend the afternoon is on one of the many boat tours offered by many companies. Find your boat tour here!

A popular spot now is also Neukölln, the new Kreuzberg. Don’t worry, if these names confuse you. It’s the hot spot districts that tend to change every 5 years clockwise. Some party areas like around the Warschauer Straße at the riverside of the Spree welcome your inner and outer party animal. Actually, there are several clubs in every district.
On Oranienburger Strasse you will find arts and culture like almost everywhere in the city. But here is also one of the redlight districts of Berlin. Not as “organized” and large as in Amsterdam or Hamburg.

Anarchistic squats continuingly fight against the government like at the Rigaer Straße in Friedrichshain by occupying apartments. The area around the Simon-Dach-Straße features bars, galleries, theatres, and a hidden and secret cinema. During the day it is free to enter and browse or purchase from the galleries of the many local artists who display here.

It’s a Bar-Capitol: over 500 bars are welcoming customers every day. Here there is an official list of Bars in Berlin.
Berlin has its own charm, do not get upset upon difference.

August in Berlin: Long Night of Museums

The event is called Lange Nacht der Museen, which means “long night of museums”. More than 80 museums of the city of Berlin open their doors for a reduced and unique price. It is an excellent opportunity to visit them and have fun in this evening, which everyone goes out looking for culture and leisure.

The Night of the Museums is a great idea that has become part of the calendar of several cities in the world. What only a few people know is that this concept was created twenty years ago in Berlin. In 1997, only eighteen museums participated in the event, and now, twenty years later, there are around eighty that open their doors until midnight and invite you to come in, look, listen, be surprised and participate in many activities.

In Berlin you will find the most varied types of museums, from the most traditional to the most unusual and eccentric. In the city, there are world-renowned museums that have in their collections real treasures of antiquity. But if you prefer modern and contemporary art, you wont have a lack of options as well. After all, there are about 175 museums in Berlin! There is a museum for every taste.

The whole city becomes like a big exhibition. During the Long Night of Museums you will have the unique opportunity to learn from the most significant exhibitions in an unusual atmosphere and experience constantly new perspectives. Hidden exhibition rooms will suddenly open. You can quickly and comfortably go from one museum to the other thanks to the shuttle bus service offered on that night.
For more information please visit the Official Website

 

Berlin flag heart shaped

Schwerbelastungskörper – heavy load-bearing body

In 1941, with the help of the architect Albert Speer, Adolf Hitler wanted to redesign Berlin as “Germania”, the capital of the new German Reich. The arch, which would be in the style of the Nazi architectural movement, was supposed to be about 3 times as large as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and was part of a plan to redesign the center of Berlin as an imposing, monumental capital reflecting the spirit of the Third Reich as envisioned by Hitler.

The “Schwerbelastungskörper” was constructed for testing the ground’s maximum loading capacity.

This big concrete cylinder is onto the list of historic buildings and has been protected since 1995 because the structure could not be safely demolished, as nearby there are train tracks and apartment buildings.

Who could have guessed that 12,000 tons of concrete, placed there purely to see if they could sink, would be so ugly?

 

Öffnungszeiten (Opening time):

Tue-Wed 2p.m-6p.m

Thu 10p.m-6p.m

Sun 1p.m-4p.m (audio guide at 1pm for 6€)  Website

AddressClick here to see on map

Museen Tempelhof Schöneberg – General-Pape-Straße/Löwenhardtdamm, an der Kolonnenbrücke

12101 Berlin, Germany