The botanical garden and botanic museum's large and sedate park in the southwest of Berlin provides the perfect respite to a hard day's slog through the hectic inner-city. One can admire the English gardens and a collection of flora from all over Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. The many greenhouses here are home to many rare plants from around the globe. Visitors shouldn't miss the unique Botanical Museum at the entrance.
The erection and fall of the Berlin Wall, which divided East and West Germany from 1961 to 1989, is one of the most significant chapters in German history. The Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer) is a salute to those who lost their lives during this tumultuous era. The Federal Republic of Germany established the memorial in 1998 on Bernauer Strasse, the site of the wall and the hub of the powers that ruled Germany during this period. The memorial comprises of the Monument in Memory of the Divided City, the Chapel of Reconciliation and the Window of Remembrance among other significant sites. The Documentation Center and the Visitor Center are also situated opposite the memorial in what was formerly West Berlin. Visitors can avail of guided tours of the monument and the open-air exhibition, which narrates the turbulent history of the site. The educational programs use innovative teaching methods so that kids and youth are immersed in local history. It also hosts events and film screenings, and has a bookstore and multimedia guides for visitors. This site is open to all visitors free of charge.
Tränenpalast, situated in the heart of the city, is the former border crossing where West Germans bid goodbye to East Germans while going back to West Berlin where East Germans were not allowed to enter. The literal translation of the name means Palace of Tears. After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, this building was used as a nightclub and live concert venue. Today, it is a museum featuring videos, photographs, audios, artifacts and documents which tell the story of this former border checkpoint and the history of Berlin's separation and reunification.
19th-century architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel provided Berlin with many of its greatest buildings, including the magnificent Konzerthaus and the equally striking Altes Museum. The museum, which opened in 1830, was the first to be built on Museum Island. It now houses rotating special exhibitions and is home to part of the Antique Collection, a breathtaking collection of ancient Greek and Roman artifacts that were excavated by the famous German archaeologist Hildesheimer.
The artist Yadegar Asisi is renowned for his awe-inspiring photographic exhibitions and panoramas, captivating the imagination of the thousands who are drawn to his massive installations. Through The Wall, Asisi brings to life a fictitious day in autumn on both sides of the Berlin wall in the 1980s. With the help of music, Asisi has created a truly immersive experience that brings to light the realities and deeper concerns of the denizens of a divided city. The lobby is home to numerous photographs collected by those who witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall and the events the preceded it, offering visitors an introduction to the experience that awaits within. Group and individual guided tours of the exhibition are offered as well.
Situated in the lovely Neuer Garten in Potsdam, Schloss Cecilienhof was built in 1913-17 as a residence for Crown Princess Cecilie. Although the Prussian royal family was deposed in 1918, Cecilienhof remained in the family's hands until the outbreak of the Second World War. While extremely pleasant, Cecilienhof's popularity is also due to its unique place in history. For it was here, in the heart of the Third Reich, that the four Allied powers met in July and August 1945 to determine the future of Europe. The negotiations culminated in the signature of the Potsdam Agreement which demilitarized Germany and divided the country into different sectors, a precursor of Germany's later division into East and West. Visitors can now view the delegates' chambers and the conference room—complete with an enormous round table made in Moscow especially for the event.
Built on the site of Berlin's oldest church, the Nikolaikirche today is still the site of regular services, but also houses a museum highlighting its rich history, a tower which boasts some spectacular views, and fantastic acoustics, which are a boon when it hosts musical acts. This attraction is also worth a visit for its Medieval architecture and twin green spires.
The imposing structure, with its striking golden dome makes Neue Synagoge one of Berlin's most instantly recognizable landmarks. Designed by architect Eduard Knoblauch in 1859, the synagogue was the center of Jewish life in Berlin until the the night of 9th November 1938 (Kristallnacht), when it was attacked by Nazi storm-troopers. After an Allied air raid in 1943, the synagogue lay in ruins for around 40 years after the end of the war. It was then restored and reopened as a museum of Jewish culture on the fiftieth anniversary of Kristallnacht, in 1988.