Berlin has its fair share of weird but wonderful tourist attractions, Designpanoptikum is a less known example of this. The exhibits here are bizarre and outlandish in the best possible ways and immediately transport you to a world caught between dreams and Willy Wonka's workshop. The whimsical collection is privately owned by Vlad Korneev, an artist in his own right. He is usually around to assist you with explanations, view points and sometimes, to help you draw your own conclusions. Step in, give that imagination of yours a thorough workout.
Germany's most recognizable symbol is not as large as many visitors expect, yet its history is rich and fascinating. Built in 1791, the Brandenburg Gate was modeled on the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens. The Quadriga statue on top of the Gate, designed by sculptor Gottfried Schadow, represents Victoria, the Goddess of Peace, riding a four-horse chariot. This was one of Berlin's original 14 city gates, yet the only remaining evidence of the other gates are the names of underground stations such as Kottbusser Tor and Schlesisches Tor. The Brandenburg Gate and Pariser Platz have played center stage to numerous turbulent historical events. The south wing houses a tourist information office.
Throughout the centuries, many churches have stood on the location of the current Berliner Dom. The first one was erected in 1465 for the reigning royal family, the Hohenzollerns, and was little more than a chapel at that time. In 1747, it was replaced by a Baroque cathedral designed by Johann Boumann, before being transformed once again in 1822 by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Today's Dom was built between 1894 and 1905 during King Wilhelm II's reign. Almost completely destroyed in World War II, the Berliner Dom remained a ruin until restoration work finally began in 1973. Some of the cathedral's highlights include the mosaics covering the cupola, the crypt, the altar and the altar windows. The Dom also enshrines over 80 members of the Hohenzollern family. Those visiting must take a look at the Sauer organ within the cathedral, one of the largest in Germany, and take in the views from the roof promenade.
C/O Berlin calls itself an "International Forum for Visual Dialogues," and while this may be apt, it doesn't actually describe what C/O is. It is simply an excellent gallery that houses temporary exhibitions of photographs and photographic installations by the world's leading documentary photographers, from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Trent Park. It is not particularly well known, but for photographers, lovers of photography, or even just people who are interested in the world, it is one of the must-see museums in Berlin. Its exhibitions, usually by multiple photographers, never leave the viewer untouched.
When you think of Berlin, the first word that likely comes to mind is the Wall. After being torn down, there is not much of the Berlin Wall which remains intact. The longest section of the Wall to be spared, which is 1.3 kilometers (0.81 miles) runs parallel to the River Spree between Kreuzberg in the West and Friedrichshain in the East. In the months following the fall of the Wall in 1989, 118 artists from all over the world flocked here to pay their tributes. The result is an open-air gallery containing a host of colorful and imaginative images, some satirical, some shocking and others puzzling. An important part of Berlin's cultural heritage, this landmark is one of the largest open-air galleries in the entire world.
Familiar to many from Wim Wenders' 1987 film "Wings of Desire," the view from the top of the 69 meter-high (226.37 feet) Victory Column is well worth the 285-step climb! Built in 1873 to commemorate Prussian military victories against Denmark, Austria and France, the Victory Column originally stood in front of the Reichstag, but was moved to its current location in the middle of the Tiergarten by the Third Reich in 1938. The golden statue of the Goddess of Victory can be seen from all over the city and is one of Berlin's most eye-catching landmarks.
Brauhaus Lemke is one of the oldest functioning microbreweries in Berlin; for a city that really loves beer, that's saying quite a lot. The brewery was started by Oli Lemke in 1998 when he put together his own brewing system in his garage. Friends helped him set up the brewing system in an old S-Bahn unit, and in 1999, the Brahaus Lemke served its first beer. Today, visitors can sample the brewery's excellent craft beers, and even take home some bottles of their very own. The brewery also serves up delicious traditional German fare to go with its brews.
Belonging to The Dungeons franchise by Merlin Entertainments, Berlin Dungeon is a popular tourist destination located on the Spandauerstraße. There are nine different stories, pertaining to darker aspects of Berlin's history, which are narrated by actors in both English and German.
Anne Frank Zentrum tells the story of its namesake protagonist. This repository through its multimedia displays showcase Anne Frank's life and her dairy. The impact of what happened decades ago, still resounds in this current time. The center is also an education facility to create awareness of racial prejudices and more.
Living up to its name, the Monsterkabinett thrills, startles. scares and shocks with its metallic-robot displays. The Monsterkabinett is a large space that doubles up as an art gallery as well as a haunted house park, and is the brainchild of artist Hannes Heiner. A somber pathway decorated with nightmarish graffiti and art leads you into an enclosed warehouse where the haunting really begins. Mammoth arachnids settle beside dead-as-doornail mummies, while a six-legged dolls pops in front of youto say hello. A macabre ensemble awaits visitors here, some of them made from metal, while some of them real - well, almost - suffice it to say they are actors from the Dead Pigeon Collective dressed up as demons to stir things up. Not for the faint of heart and incredibly morbid, the characters are reflections of the artist's dream world.
Haus Schwarzenberg might be a tacky building and off the tourist track but for those looking out for something different in Mitte, this 19th-century decrepit structure is home to a few artsy establishments. One such is Kino Central. Set in its courtyard, it is a haven for indie film lovers. They regularly run art house cinema in their original language with German subtitles. Featuring two halls, this intimate theater also shows classics and children's movies. Definitely an interesting set-up to watch independent flicks.
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.