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Approximate Duration: 45 min

Top Rated Attractions in Berlin

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Topography of Terror

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.

Nikolaiviertel

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.

Museum Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt

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.

Pariser Platz

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.

Holocaust Memorial

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.

Sony Center

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.

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