Do you know Must visit locations in Berlin? If not, here are the 7 places you must visit in Berlin!
1. Pariser Platz
Positioned between Brandenburger Tor and Unter den Linden, this square was named in honor of the 1814 capture of Paris. Prior to World War II, it was flanked by embassies and was the grandest square in Berlin. Massive damage during the war and the subsequent division of Berlin turned the square into a veritable “no man’s land”. However, Pariser Platz was reborn in 1990 and once again plays a prominent role in the city’s pulse, lovely flower beds and grand fountains a marked departure from its Cold War barrenness. Among the noteworthy buildings and structures located there are embassies, banks, the Hotel Aldon and the esteemed Academy of Art, Berlin.
2. Brandenburg Gate
Nothing says “Berlin” quite like the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor), long the city’s most defining monument and its answer to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Loosely modeled on the Acropolis in Athens and built for King Frederick Wilhelm II in 1791, this 26-meter-high sandstone monument in the Mitte district’s Pariser Platz was Berlin’s first Neoclassical structure, notable for its four-horse chariot, its six large columns on each side forming five passages for use by traffic (the center one reserved for royalty), and the two buildings used by toll-collectors and guards. Brandenburg Gate continues to be of symbolic importance and has seen many famous visitors, including Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. It was also the scene of a poignant gesture when German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachev, and Poland’s Lech Walesa walked through the gate in 1999 to commemorate the tearing down of the Berlin Wall 20 years earlier.
With the proclamation of the German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles in 1871, Berlin acquired the role as capital of the Empire and found itself in need of a larger, more prestigious building to serve as home to its government. The foundation stone for the new Reichstag, a huge and elegantly proportioned Neo-Renaissance palace, was laid by the Emperor himself in 1884, and completed ten years later. After its destruction by fire in 1933, much of the former structure was rebuilt in 1970, but with the decision to return the seat of government to Berlin from Bonn after reunification, the Reichstag underwent a complete renovation in the late 1990s. A highlight of this magnificent reconstruction is the replacement dome, the Kuppel, made of glass and offering superb views of the surrounding city, especially at night from the Rooftop Restaurant. Note that entry to the Dome and Terrace is ticketed, and due to demand, it’s recommended that tickets be requested in advance (registration is available on the day, but expect a two or three hour wait). Free English language audio guides are available.
4. The Berlin Wall
The history of the Berlin Wall began in 1961 when East Germany sealed off the eastern part of the city to stem the flood of refugees from east to west. By the time it was torn down in 1989, the four-meter-high wall extended 155 kilometers, dissected 55 streets, and possessed 293 observation towers and 57 bunkers. Today, only small stretches of this graffiti-covered travesty remain, including a 1.4-kilometer stretch preserved as part of the Berlin Wall Memorial, a chilling reminder of the animosity that once divided Europe. Highlights include the Marienfelde Refugee Center Museum with its exhibits relating to the one-and-a-half million people who passed through Berlin as refugees, the Monument in Memory of the Divided City and the Victims of Communist Tyranny, the Window of Remembrance, and a Visitor Center with views over the remains of the wall. Also of interest is Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie marking the best-known crossing point between East and West Berlin and with displays and artifacts tracing the history of human rights.
5. Checkpoint Charlie
Interested in the Cold War? Checkpoint Charlie was the main entry point for visitors wanting to cross the infamous Iron Curtain to East Berlin during the division of the city. It was also the spot where, in 1961, US and Russian tanks literally lined up to face each other in what the world believed could be the start of another war. Built with its original “look” in mind, the attraction comes with border guards outside and a museum featuring tales of escapees (would-be and successful) plus a range of memorabilia and interesting exhibits.
The Gendarmenmarkt, one of Berlin’s largest squares, is dominated by three large historic buildings – the Konzerthaus, the French Cathedral (Französischer Dom), and the Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) – that together form one of the most picturesque corners of the city. Laid out in the 17th century and named after a regiment of Gendarmerie that had a guardhouse here, it remains one of the city’s most popular places, day and night. The Konzerthaus, built in 1821 on the site of an earlier theater, has long been one of Berlin’s most important theaters – Goethe’s Iphigenie was performed at its opening – and is as famous for its architectural splendor as it is for the first-rate performances of Konzerthausorchester Berlin, one of the country’s most popular symphony orchestras. In front of the building stands the Schiller Monument, notable for its four female figures on the fountain canopy representing Lyric Poetry (with a harp), Drama (with a dagger), History (with tablets displaying the names of Goethe, Beethoven, Michelangelo, and others), and Philosophy (with a parchment scroll inscribed Discover Yourself). If visiting in winter, be sure to time your visit to coincide with the Gendarmenmarkt’s popular Christmas Market.
7. The TV Tower
Built in 1969, the tower was supposed to demonstrate the GDR’s engineering prowess, but ended up being a bit of a laughing stock when it turned out that, when hit by the sun, the steel sphere below the antenna produced the reflection of a giant cross. West Berliners gleefully dubbed the phenomenon ‘the Pope’s revenge’.