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. Exhibitions have included a retrospective of several Magnum agency photographers and an installation of photographs of religious practices from around the world.
This museum houses a vast collection of artifacts from the ancient world, the crowning glory being the altar from the Zeus Temple in Pergamon (180-160 BCE), one of the world's most significant archaeological finds. The museum is also home to parts of the magnificent Antique Collection, the East Asian Collection, the Near Eastern Museum and the Islamic Museum. Designed by Ludwig Hoffmann and Alfred Messel, this museum was established in 1910 and is a part of the wonderful Museum Island. Ranked as one of the most visited art museums, not only throughout Germany, but also the world over, Pergamon Museum makes for a truly enriching experience.
Located on the Lindenstraße, the Jewish Museum is the largest museum focusing on Jewish history in all of Europe. The original Jewish museum of Berlin was built in 1933, but was closed in the following decade by the Nazi regime. The Berlin government hosted an anonymous competition to design the new museum; famed architect Daniel Liebeskind won the competition with his jagged and zig-zagging building that was nicknamed "blitz." The museum was completed in 1999. Today, visitors to the museum can learn all about German-Jewish heritage, starting in the Medieval era and continuing into today's Jewish community.
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 archeologist Hildesheimer.
Spread over 80 rooms and 3000 square meters (32291 square feet), this amazing gallery is home to some of the most beautiful contemporary art pieces. Located at Reinhardtstraße, it lies in the Mitte district of Berlin. The bunker in which the gallery is housed was built by the Nazis as an above ground air raid shelter. Since that time, the space has gone through many reincarnations, including being used as a Russian prison and as a techno rave space. Today, the gallery Christian Boros' ever-changing modern art collection.
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. It is also worth taking a look inside one or two of the huge tropical greenhouses. Visitors shouldn't miss the unique Botanical Museum at the entrance.
The MeMu Menschen Museum is a unique body art museum which showcases the anatomy of the human body. The exhibits on display here answer many of the mysteries of the human body and visitors can learn more about the structure of the body. There are more than 200 exhibits here which showcase the various anatomical movements of the body and the functions of the organs. A truly unique museum, this place is definitely worth a visit.
The most interesting places are often the most difficult to find. A typical example is Sammlung Hoffmann, situated on the third floor of the building in the second courtyard in Sophie-Gips-Hofe. Mysterious symbols decorate the walls of the courtyard and weird signs catch the eye. The private art gallery is situated in the home of the Hoffman family, a restored turn-of-the-century factory building. Tours of the gallery are organized in preregistered groups of ten on Saturdays when the museum opens to the public.
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.
Allegedly the largest hemp museum in the world, the Hanf Museum documents the cultivation of hemp from centuries past to the present day. The uses of hemp are vast—from medicine and agriculture to textiles and industry—and the museum provides a fascinating insight into the legal (and not so legal) uses of the multi-talented plant. There is also an interesting section on the uses of hemp in other cultures. The museum offers English guides/translations.
Unknown to many outside Germany's capital, Heinrich Zille is an artist who deserves the attention of everybody seeking a humorous insight into life in Berlin during the early 20th Century. This tribute to the artist's life and career, filled with charcoal sketches and photos, is deliciously juxtaposed with the grandiose, opulent and tourist-rich location of the museum. A far cry from the Disney-like prettiness of Nikolaiplatz, Zille's cartoonish drawings lovingly portray different facets of working class life in Berlin, from ribaldry in dingy drinking dens to bawdiness in brothels. Despite the clear poverty and squalor on display in his pictures, Zille gives his subjects a spirited and joyful aspect that justifies the popularity of his drawings during his lifetime and the huge turnout to his funeral in 1929. The information panels are written entirely in German, but non-German speakers should find much to enjoy from the drawings themselves.