BERLIN - Highlights
The Berlin Wall is a must-see, not only for its historic relevance, but also for its contemporary amazing artistic value. The Wall was built in 1961 during the Cold War to separate East from West Berlin and was torn down 1989. You can discover the facts and figures of its sad history at the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie. The best place to visit the remainders of the Wall itself is at the East Side Gallery. This is the largest remaining part of the Wall and is beautifully painted by artists, showing some very funny, emotional, impressive and famous scenes of the period of the ‘Wende’, the end of the Cold War and turning-point in Berlin’s hisory. Also worthwile visiting is Checkpoint Charlie, the only crossing-point for non-Germans to go from East to West Berlin during the Cold War.
Phone: (030) 25 37 25-0
Directions: U-Bahn: Kochstrasse
This impressive building houses the Bundestag, the German parliament. From the roof terrace and dome of the Reichstag you will have an amazing view over the city. The best time to visit is at nightfall, since the view is even more spectacular and there are less queues. The building is open from 08:00 hrs until midnight and the last admission is at 22:00 hrs.
Phone: 22 73 21 52
Address: Next to Brandenburg Tor. Bus 100 stops right in front of the Reichstag. Metro stop , Unter den Linden (S-Bahn)
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL (Memorial of the Murdered Jews in Europe)
This is an immense nonconventional monument for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. It consists of 2,700 quadrangle grey pillars or ‘slabs’ in the middle of the city centre, south of the Pariser Platz, designed by Peter Eisenman. Each pillar has another size. Some think it is impressive, others find it too abstract, so visit yourseld and make up your own opinion.
Phone: +49 (0)30 / 200 766 - 0
Directions: Next to Brandenburg Gate
The famous Potsdammer Platz was re-built in the early nineties to become a symbol of the union of Berlin and centerpiece of new urban design. At night, you will get dizzy staring at the roof’s bedazzling changing colors. When you land back on earth again, look down to spot the marks of the Berlin Wall that was located just north of the Platz. If you like to see a movie, the Potzdammer Platz is the place to be. There are two IMAX cinemas screening 3D movies and several other cinemas and theaters. Otherwise, just have a drink in one of the bars or sit near the fountain to gaze at the surrounding buildings and at the people passing by.
Phone: (030) 25 37 25-0
Directions: U-Bahn(line 6) to Kochstrasse
The Brandenburger Tor was built in the 18th century and once formed the gateway to the city. During the Cold War, the Tor stood in the Russian sector and it wasn’t possible for anyone to walk underneath it for decades. Nowadays, the Tor is perceived as a symbol of German union. It is impressive to see the enormous gateway and to wander around a bit in the area. However, don’t stay too long, since you will be walked over by tourists, may even be tempted to buy silly souvenirs from the street vendors and will miss out on all the other great parts of the city.
Address: Brandenburger Tor. S-Bahn: Unter den Linden (S1 ans S2), Bus 100 stops here as well
Berlin is a hotspot for young artists, so good galleries are scattered around the city. Don’t be shy and just step inside to check them out. Some not so famous but oh so good galleries are:
Berlinische Gallerie, which is the State Museum of Modern Art, Photography, and Architecture. Here you will find the work of many local artists.
Das Direktorenhaus is a space where traditional and digital art blend together in very interesting and experimental art pieces. After exploring the art, you can take a relaxed drink at the gallery’s bar. The Me collectors room is located in the Mitte area. For ongoing exhibitions and more information take a look at their website: http://www.me-berlin.com/
Berlinische Gallerie: Address: Alte Jakobstraße 124-128. Website: http://www.berlinischegalerie.de/index.php?id=270&L=1
Das Direktorenhaus: Address: 2 Am Krögel just between Alexanderplatz and the Nikolaiviertel Website: http://www.direktorenhaus.com/
Me Collectors room: Address: Auguststrasse 68. Website: http://www.me-berlin.com/?lang=en
BERLIN TEMPELHOF AIRPORT
This former airport is becoming one of the favorite places where the Berliners like to hang out during the weekends. It played a crucial role in Berlin’s history, since it was the endpoint of the Berlin air bridge, which was set-up in 1948-1949 to provide food and medicines to West Berlin, when this part of the city was cut off from the outside world by the Russians. In 2008, the Berliners decided by referendum to close the airport down. Recently, it has been opened for the public and forms a great place to do sports, have a picknick, bbq or just to walk around. Occasionally the area is used for concerts and raves as well. It is quite surreal to see people jogging and bbq-ing on the former airstrips, but it proves once again the creativity of the Berliners.
MAUERPARK FLEA MARKET
This is a must on Sundays. Shopaholics will love this place where you can find almost everything. From shirts to bags, furniture and vinyl, you will find it all at a good price (if you bargain!). Even if you don’t like flea markets, you will have a good time just hanging out with the locals in the surrounding park, having a beer and enjoying the performances of street musicians. In summer, there is an open-air karaoke show, where half of Berlin hangs out to enjoy the surprisingly good and sometimes surprisingly bad spontaneous performances. Sing along! The market is located next to the Mauerpark, not in it. The Mauerpark itself is known for housing the longest still existing stretch of the Berlin Wall. It is legal to spray graffiti so you’ll see many impressive graffiti artwork.
Directions: U2 metro Eberswalder Straße (Station)
This Turkish market is located at the riverbank of the Landwehrkanal in the area Kreuzberg-Neukolln, a neighborhood where many Turkish immigrants live. Nowadays, the multi-culti and relaxed atmosphere of Kreuzberg attracts a young and trendy crowd. At this lively marketplace you will find everything you need to prepare a great meal, from olives and feta to fresh fruit and Turkish pizzas, and all at a low price. If you are very hungry, just go to the nearby park and enjoy a relaxed pick nick. After that, wash away your food with a drink at the nearby at the nearby very cool Hotel-Bar (Mariannenstrasse 26).
Directions: By U-Bahn: Schönleinstrass