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.
Museum Island is located on the northern half of a historically-significant island in the Spree River that runs through Berlin. The island takes its name from the five Berlin State Museums that reside in the area - the Altes Museum, the Bode Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Neues Museum, and the Pergamon Museum. Museum Island was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. The island's first museum was erected in 1797, and the whole area was designated specifically for art and science by King Frederick William IV of Prussia in 1841. An assemblage of spectacular historical monuments, the Museum Island is a stunning heritage hub.
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.
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.
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.
Located in the charming borough of Kreuzberg, Berlinische Galerie lies in close proximity to the Jüdisches Museum. Established in 1975, the gallery is fully devoted to exhibit and promote modern art in Berlin. Showcasing exhibits related to photography, architecture and contemporary art, the museum sees a lot of art aficionados, coming in from various parts of the globe. Apart from the changing installations and exhibitions, the museum's best collection includes the works of Berlin Secession, Georg Baselitz and Junge Wilde.
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.
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.
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.
For a peek into the lives of Germans living behind the Berlin Wall in East Germany, visitors to Berlin should be sure to check out the DDR Museum. The museum was opened in 2006. Kids and adults alike will be fascinated by the information the museum puts forth about the network of over 200.000 informants that spied on the populace of East Germany. Interactive displays invite visitors to rummage through cabinets, and truly explore the exhibits, earning the museum the reputation of being one of the most interactive museums in the world.
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.