Constructed between 1884 and 1894, the imposing Reichstag stands witness to Germany's past, present, and future. It was established as a parliamentary house for the German Empire under Otto von Bismarck and has since seen more than a century of European history unfurl. After the second World War, the Reichstag was neglected until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, at which time work began on returning the building to its original purpose. This new attention led to such additions as the iconic glass dome, which was added by British architect Sir Norman Foster. Today, visitors can climb up to the dome and enjoy panoramic views of brilliant Berlin from the terrace.
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.
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.
Home to the Berlin Symphony and National Symphony Orchestras, the Konzerthaus on Gendarmenmarkt plays host to some of the best in classical music. The original building was constructed at the request of King Friedrich II and later became the National Theater, following renovation by Carl Gotthard Langhans. After it was gutted by a fire, the theater was rebuilt by the Berlin architect, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, and renamed Schauspielhaus. The building was badly damaged during World War II but was restored to its former glory and reopened in 1984. The building we see today is a perfect reconstruction of Schinkel's original.
Stop by and admire the windowless concrete 1960s facade that is the Deutsche Oper Berlin, but once you step inside you'll discover some of the best entertainment in Berlin. Deutsche Oper Berlin is Germany's second largest opera house and its repertoire is extensive and features classic German and Italian works as well as contemporary pieces. Along with opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin also has ballet performances, orchestra concerts, and more.
A riveting beacon of multiculturalism, Berlin's history bears testimony to the fact that the city was and continues to be an extremely influential European icon. Marked with vestiges of history at every turn, Berlin is strewn with life-altering landmarks and monuments that were shaped by the turbulent times it was dealt with. Whether it is the graffiti-etched Berlin Wall that split the city into ideologically distinct entities, or the sandstone grandeur of the Brandenburg Gate that came much before, Berlin's cityscape is filled with a timeless parade of historically significant symbols. While on one hand, historical monuments like the Reichstag capture the imagination and transport visitors to a post-war era, modern marvels like the Fernsehturm and Potsdamer Platz are a proof of the country's progressive economy. This politically charged city is also home to over 150 theaters, almost 170 museums and more than 200 private galleries. A throbbing urban culture with a spirited nightlife, haute fashion and a strong affinity for football, Berlin is undoubtedly a German city at its best.
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 featureless 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 Tsar 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.
Opened in 1929, just three years before Hitler seized power, this art house film theater soon became a place of refuge for anti-Nazi resistance fighters during the Third Reich. A commemorative plaque in the foyer reminds visitors of those dark days. After the War, the Babylon became socialist East Germany's only art house cinema. Even after the fall of the Wall, the cinema has remained true to its tradition and continues to show old silent movies, East German classics and other controversial or arty films, all of which should make any film lover's heart beat a little faster. Besides these, it also hosts concerts, theater, readings, festivals and workshops.
Urania-Weltzeituhr stands for Urania World Clock. It is a ten meter high metallic world clock built in the capital city. It is a popular eye catchy landmark and a historic structure built in 1969. Today, the locals and tourists consider this place to be a common meeting point.