Berlin is the largest and capital city of Germany with a population exceeding 3.3 million. Serving first as the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia, then the German Empire and Nazi Germany, after World War 2 the city was eventually divided into two parts, separated by the Berlin Wall (construction started in 1961). East Berlin formed the capital of the Communist German Democratic Republic, whereas West Berlin became an isolated exclave of West Germany, which had moved its government to Bonn. In 1989 the Berlin Wall finally collapsed, and after German reunification the city once again regained its status as German capital.
Whether you fancy history, architecture/culture/art, shopping, nightlife or wining and dining, Berlin has something on offer for everyone. If you have even the slightest bit of affinity with German (or indeed European) history of the past hundreds of years, random places in Berlin are likely to make you experience "a-ha, so this is where historic event X happened" moments. You might be standing at the Reichstag building and suddenly realise that the fire here in 1933 gave Hitler an excuse to clamp down on his opponents. You may be standing at the Brandenburg Gate and realise that this is where the Nazi's held their victory march after invading Poland in 1939 and where Napoleon entered the city in 1806. Or perhaps you are strolling along Checkpoint Charlie or the remains of the Berlin Wall and suddenly realise its enormous significance.
When visiting Berlin you will likely want to start with taking the history of the city in as if it were an enormous open air museum. The Reichstag, Brandenburger Tor, Potsdamer Platz, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and Checkpoint Charlie are obvious must-sees. Go to Alexanderplatz (with the TV tower) and Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park for an idea of what East Berlin must have been like. Be sure to check out the Berliner Dom and Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche at the Ku'damm if you like to see churches. If for some reason however you had thought that's a fairly complete list and the city's cultural offerings end there, we have bad (good, actually) news for you: in total Berlin boasts nearly 200 museums.
Although clearly there is a lot of history on display here, don't think for a moment that that should be the only reason to come here. Berlin is a fashionable city and a shopper's paradise with areas such as the Friedrichstrasse and Kurfürstendamm. Its nightlife is renowned for being world class as well as for being somewhat "different" (or maybe the word is "alternative") in a good way, perhaps testament to the liberal vibe you come across in the entire city. [Review by travelindicator]
You can find the best hotel deals in Berlin here.
- Berlin is a city in Germany. It has a population of 3,426,354, is situated at an altitude of 118ft and the best airport to fly into is BER (Berlin, Berlin)
- The currency used in Germany is the Euro (EUR)
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