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Top Things To Do in Berlin

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A land of great heritage and culture, Berlin encapsulates 20th-century European history. With a storied past dating back to 1247, this bustling city has transformed itself into a modern metropolis. It is known for its multicultural spirit, a diverse food scene, awe-inspiring landmarks and vibrant markets. 


Brandenburg Gate

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.

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Berlin Cathedral

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.

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Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

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.

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Alexanderplatz

The original Alexanderplatz, locally called 'Alex' by Berliners, was completely flattened during World War II. Its present day appearance is a prime example of East German town planning: a huge, windswept pedestrian area surrounded by 1960s high-rises. But those who are familiar with Alexanderplatz from Alfred Döblin's novel of the same name will find that none of the hustle and bustle of the square has disappeared. Alexanderplatz is still very much a commuters' thoroughfare and is regarded by locals as the true center of Berlin. Named after Russian Czar Alexander I who visited the Prussian capital in 1805, Alexanderplatz was at the center of the mass-demonstrations which brought the Berlin Wall tumbling down in November 1989.

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Reichstag

De imposante Reichstag weerspiegelt Duitslands verleden, heden en toekomst als geen ander gebouw. Het werd gebouwd in 1884-94 als het parlement voor Bismarcks Duitse Rijk en heeft tientallen jaren van de Duitse geschiedenis meegemaakt. Na de val van de Berlijnse Muur in 1989 begon men met het gebouw te restaureren naar zijn oorspronkelijke doel, met een glazen koepel toegevoegd door de Britse architect Sir Norman Foster. Bezoekers kunnen nu tot aan de koepel klimmen en er is een panoramaterras, een fototentoonstelling die de turbulente geschiedenis van de reikstag verteld en een restaurant op het dak.

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Schloss Charlottenburg

Dit prachtige barokke paleis werd gebouwd in 1695 door koning Friedrich Wilhelm I als een zomerverblijf voor zijn geliefde vrouw, koningin Sophie Charlotte. Verscholen in de weelderige Koninklijke Tuinen zijn een aantal kleinere gebouwen: de sierlijke rococo Belvedere, met een indrukwekkende collectie porselein, het Schinkel Paviljoen waarin tekeningen, schilderijen, beeldhouwwerken, meubels en porselein door Karl Friedrich Schinkel zijn tentoongesteld en de neoklassieke Mausoleum met de graven van koningin Louise, koning Friedrich Wilhelm III, keizer Wilhelm I en Keizerin Augusta.

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Victory Column

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 Victory can be seen from all over the city and is one of Berlin's most eye-catching landmarks.

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Checkpoint Charlie

Het ultieme symbool van de Koude Oorlog, dat Europa verdeelde en de wereld voor vier decennia, de Berlijnse Muur is nog steeds de belangrijkste toeristische attractie in de Duitse hoofdstad. En Checkpoint Charlie, de voormalige grensovergangen, is de plaats waar vele toeristen als eerste heengaan. Toch is dit wereldberoemde monument enigszins teleurstellend op het eerste gezicht. De oorspronkelijke grenspost werd gesloopt en alles wat tegenwoordig overblijft is een bord met daarop de woorden: "U verlaat nu de Amerikaanse sector" en een replica van een wachttoren uit 1961. Het enige wat echt bezienswaardig is de Haus am Checkpoint Charlie museum.

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Museum Island

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.

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East Side Gallery

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.

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