Not much is left of the Gestapo's former headquarters at Wilhelmstrasse. The original buildings were severely damaged during wartime raids, and little remained after the end of the War. Excavations in the early 1980s brought the foundations - a long wall covered with pale white tiles -to light, and a makeshift museum was immediately established on the wasteland close to Hitler's bunker. Soon after a permanent museum building was constructed to shelter the Topography of Terror. The museum is also home to one of the few remnants of the Berlin Wall. The Topography of Terror stands beside the Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Memorial as one of Berlin's most important memorials to a dark chapter in German history.
The Nikolaiviertel not only lies in the very heart of Berlin, it is the place where it all began. The first mention of Berlin in documents from 1251 referred to two settlements which are Berlin and Cölln. These are situated opposite each other on the banks of the River Spree. The settlement known as "Berlin" grew up around the market (now Molkenmarkt in the Nikolaiviertel) and the Nikolaikirche, named after Saint Nicholas, patron saint of merchants and fishermen. Destroyed during the War, many of the historic buildings were reconstructed for Berlin's 750th anniversary celebrations in 1987. The baroque Knoblauchhaus and Ephraim-Palais are two of the most striking edifices in the quarter.
There is no denying the countless atrocities the Jews endured due to the Nazis but the many stories that abound of those heroic citizens who helped them give a silver lining to one of histories darkest periods. Otto Weidt who himself was blind owned a workshop for brush making. He had hired Jewish workers who were either blind or deaf. During the epitome of the Nazi reign, he had about 30 workers. He managed to forge their documents to protect them from deportation. Though he could only save a few, his bravery and compassion brought him many honors. Museum Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt is set in his old workshop and tell his story. Managed by the Memorial to the German Resistance foundation, this simple repository with its archives and relics, is a wonderful reminder of courage and compassion.
The pristine flower-beds and gushing fountains which fill historic Pariser Platz lend a touch of rural elegance to the urban jungle. Once known as "the Emperor's reception room", Pariser Platz has been the first stop on visitors' itineries since the 18th century. Located at the end of Berlin's grandiose boulevard, Unter den Linden, wartime destruction left much of Pariser Platz flattened, with only the Brandenburg Gate left standing. Yet money has flooded into Berlin since reunification and the square is being slowly restored to its former splendour. Its original rectangular form has been retained, yet the buildings which now line it to the north and south are a curious mixture of deeply nostalgic and strikingly modern architecture. Hotel Adlon, for example, is an exact copy of the original building, while Frank O.Gehry's DG Bank and the Academy of Arts are eye-catching examples of contemporary design. Just two gaps remain to be filled, and when the American and French embassies are completed, Pariser Platz will be laid with cobble stones and shall once again be a worthy reception room for millions of visitors to the new German capital.
Sixty years after World War II, Berlin unveiled the Holocaust Memorial, known officially as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in memory of victims of those who lost their lives during Holocaust. An international symbol of a somber chapter in World history, this memorial, located next to the Brandenburg Gate and near the buried remains of Adolf Hitler's underground bunker, was designed by U.S. architect Peter Eisenman. The memorial's grid of 2711 gray concrete slabs covers a vast area in the heart of the city. The slabs, or stelae, stand at varied heights of up to 4.5 meters (15 feet), creating the sense of a stark concrete forest, through which visitors can wander on uneven cobblestone pathways. The design of the memorial is relatively abstract and has been interpreted in several ways. A poignant reminder of German history's dark chapter, the memorial's information center offers detailed archives and stories of the victims.
The dancing fountains and the superb cupola made of large triangular sails sublimely poised in midair above the central plaza attract thousands of tourists to Potsdamer Platz. Sony's European headquarters built by Helmut Jahn is one of the most important attractions of the new German capital. Besides offices, apartments, and Sony's own trend store, this huge, transparent palace of glass and steel houses bars, restaurants, and bistros. The wing dedicated to the Berlin Film Festival is home to Arsenal movie-theater and the Museum of Cinema. Underneath the plaza there is Cinestar multiplex. Other highlights of entertainment include an IMAX cinema.
The Rotes Rathaus or Red City Hall is how Berliners refer to their town hall. Seat of the Mayor and the Senate since the reunification in 1990, the building was also home to East Berlin's local government in the GDR era, although the name actually stems from the reddish color of its walls rather than from the political leanings of the leaders. Built in the 1860s by H. F. Waesemann, the design reflects a strong Tuscan influence. Two years after building was completed, Germany was unified by Kaiser Wilhelm I. Consequently, Berlin became the capital of Germany and its new city hall, the supreme administrative building.
When fashion and photography come together, color, style, angle, design and more are all creatively encapsulated in a single shot. Glamorous models from the fashion world captured on stills by top-notch photographers grab your attention. Temporary exhibitions featuring different artists are held on a regular basis. Viaux is housed within a structure that could pass off as an architectural delight. What an interesting place to spend time admiring beauty!
This old baroque palace has an eventful history and has changed many hands and roles. Truly it deserves to be one of the most respected buildings in Berlin. Replete with grandeur and sophistication it today stands as the epitome of culture in the city. A part of the Kulturprojekte Berlin, it is known for its musical, theater and other cultural events. A prolific location for art and culture, that is what Podewil is now for Berliners.
Built during the 17th Century, the Parochialkirche is a reformed church which is one of the oldest protestant organizations in the city. The famous bell tower of the church was completely destroyed during World War II. The interior of the church was also heavily damaged. Used in the intermediate years as a warehouse for furniture, the church was restored in 1991 and was gradually returned to its former Baroque grandeur.
A beautiful public park in Berlin, the Marx-Engels-Forum is named after Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and was founded in 1986 by the socialist leaders of Berlin. It houses the statues of both these pioneers of Socialism. The area in which the park is situated used to be a bustling neighborhood which was razed to the ground during World War II and the park was established thereafter under the GDR regime. The park is now visited by many tourists throughout the year and several make use of the opportunity to click a few photos while sitting on Marx's knee.