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Berlin Germany


ATTRACTION AND SIGHT-SEEING

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe



A sobering monument commemorating the Holocaust, this memorial ground, established in the spring of 2005, is marked by over 2700 concrete slabs arranged in grid pattern near the Brandenburg Gate. The varying heights of the slabs in what is also known as the Field of Stelae present a wave-like appearance. The site includes a vast abstract artwork, an underground museum with elaborate details on the Holocaust bearing the names of the dead. Its credibility is accounted by the fact that it was visited by over 3.5 million visitors in the first year of its construction, taking the first place amongst the most visited memorials in the city.

Berlin Wall



The Wall fell in 1989 reuniting the two halves of the city that had stayed separated for decades. What remains now are the last vestiges of the infamous fortification and memories of those who died attempting to cross it. The site includes an Open-Air-Wall-Museum and the Wall Trail, a hiking and bike track, which in fact traces the course of former GDR border structure.

Checkpoint Charlie



Yet another historical destination Checkpoint Charlie dates back to the Cold War times and marks the crossing point between East and West Germany, the only path foreigners could utilize for shuttling between the two parts. East and West Berlin residents were restricted from using it; therefore, it served as a junction of unauthorized activities. Presently, the Wall remains have been replaced by the American Business Center and other institutions.

East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is a 1.3 km stretch of the Wall. It is also regarded as a memorial of freedom and derives its name for bordering the east of the city along the River Spree in Mühlenstraße near the Oberbaumbrücke. It bears paintings centred on the theme of international freedom. While most of the original paintings have been vandalised and ruined by graffiti, there have also been efforts to revive and restore some of these ruined or fading artworks. This interesting preserve is a treat for tourists to watch. Expect it to leave you feeling slightly emotional, a sentiment that may linger on for a while.

Gendarmenmarkt
Gendarmenmarkt is a hot tourist square surrounded by Deutscher Dom (German Cathedral), the Französischer Dom (French Cathedral) and the Konzerthaus (Concert Hall). The Deutscher Dom is a museum with exhibits of German history, and has a unique pentagonal structure. Französischer Dom is the oldest of the three adjacent domes and is identical to the destroyed Huguenot church in France. Konzerthaus has the sculptures of great music composers in its exterior, whereas its interiors are blended with Neoclassical style. Gendarmenmarkt is named after the (cuirasse), the breastplate armour regiment, Gens d'Armes from 1736-82.

Brandenburger Gate
Brandenburg Gate is a famous symbol in Germany. The design is almost unaltered till today, It functions as an awe-inspiring entry to Unterden Linden, the avenue of linden trees, which leads to the city palace. The onslaught of the World War II left the site in tatters and the Monument Conservation Foundation initiated a restoration process in 2000. The site was restored successfully to its original status two years later. After the demolition of the Wall, the Gate has come to be recognised as a symbol of reunified city – one that every tourist to the city should include in his/her itinerary.

Museum Island
This place harbours some of the city’s top museums, namely the Pergamon Museum, Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Bode Museum and the Nationalgalerie. And don’t forget the Dom church, which belonged to the Hohenzollern ruling family and was built in 1894. Standing tall next to the Altes Museum, the church marks the final resting place of 90 family members. Basically, this island was designed to be ‘a sanctuary of art and science.’ Notably, the museums were added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1999 and also bears the UNESCO National Heritage Site tag.

Reichstag Building
To enable a mind boggling birds’ eye view, a modern glass dome has been erected above the old building. The Reichstag was planned by Paul Willot in 1884-94. Having suffered considerable damage from the Reichstag Fire in 1933 and borne the onslaught of the war, it was rebuilt from 1961 until 1972. The view of the cityscape from the dome is worth a look, especially at night.

Hackesche Höfe
Any visitor who wants his trip to be memorable must visit this meticulously restored courtyard complex. Shop till you drop or experience lighter moments in the galleries, Varieté Chamäleon, theatres and cinemas. The eight courtyards, among the largest in Europe, situated in the heart of the city are bound to impress.

The Tiergarten
Tiergarten (German for ‘animal garden’) was originally a hunting ground. Today it’s an expansive 630-acre urban park spanning from the Brandenburg Gate (in the east) right through to Zoo Station (in the west). Designed way back in 1742 by Peter Joseph, the site was restored during the 1950s following damages from the War. Besides a zoo, the park houses the 69-metre Victory column Bellevue Palace as well as Haus der Kulturen der Welt (the House of World Cultures). The Haus der Kulturen der Welt is famous for its exhibition of global cultures and non-European art.


MUSEUMS

Jewish Museum 
Another popular attraction is the 2000-year-old Jewish Museum, which is situated in Lindenstrasse near the Hallesches Tor U-Bahn. It comprises two buildings -- the old Kollegienhaus, built in the 18th century; and Daniel Libeskind-designed modern-day structure. Its modern art exhibitions are an added attraction.

Peragamon Museum
This three-winged museum hosts some important archaeological treasures that includes the huge Altar of Zeus and the famous Ishtar Gate from Babylon, and is sub- divided into the Middle East museum and the museum of Islamic art. An estimated 850,000 people visit this site every year.

Neue Nationalgalerie
This modern art museum has its main focus on the 20th century. Designed by Mies van der Rohe in the 1960s, the museum’s naturally-lit podium reflects simplicity yet a unique geometrical shape bringing forth a scintillating view of Cubist artefacts from Picasso, Gris and Léger, and key works by Kirchner, Schmidt-Rottluff and Heckel. George Grosz and Otto Dix represent Neue Sachlichkeit while Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky add glory to the Bauhaus.

Hamburger Bahnhof
This oldest surviving railway terminus building is now a museum that attracts hoards of tourists every day. The building, now renovated, had stopped functioning from 1884 and now doubles up as a contemporary art gallery. You will also come upon some rare collections, including locomotives of that age; most of the exhibits include Erich Marx Collection as well as intricate masterpieces of Amseln Kiefer, Andy Warhol and Bruce Nauman.


OTHER ATTRACTIONS

Schloss Charlottenburg
Just besides the Museum Island lies the city’s largest palace, built in the early 18th century, decorated in Baroque and rococo styles. A collection of Porcelain named Belvedere is a wonder to watch. A walk in the palace garden can be a relaxing experience. The Great Orangery of Charlottenburg Palace, a festival room for cultural events, is thronged by visitors.

Spandauer Zitadelle
Dating way back to the 1100s, the Zitadelle (or the Spandau Citadel) is a preserved fortress that was completed in 1594 and is distinguished by its Italian design accent. Now converted to a museum, the structure includes a built-in tower intended to keep a watch on enemies. A climb to the top of the tower is amply rewarded by the breath-taking view of the Spree and Havel rivers. The annual Citadel Music Festival is world famous.

Lake Constance
This is Germany’s largest lake common to Switzerland and Austria. The area, known for its microclimate, is very popular among the home crowd and is usually flooded by Germans during the peak of summer. There is an old-fashioned resort in this area that is particularly popular.

Heidelberg
Adding more colour to the already romantic Germany, the River Neckar ripples past the ancient towers and bridges. You can trod along the Old Bridge (Alte Brücke) to take a view of the 14-17th century-built castle. The Philosophers Path (Philosophenweg) on the opposite bank of the river also offers great views that you may want to capture in your camera.


ORGANIZED CITY TOURS

Walking Tours – It is often believed to know a place better, walk on its streets. The Mitte and surrounding districts are sure to provide you with an exclusive adventure-filled experience, if you plan on walking down many of its historically-important streets. There are many interesting details about the city that you may gather from a walking tour, things that you may miss otherwise. You can check with your hotel/hostel if they offer any such tours, or if they can guide you in the right direction. Some of the options available include:

Stadtführungen Sightseeing Tours: Primarily organises individual city sightseeing tours and city walks. Depending on the size of your group, you can opt for a 3 or 4 hour drive in a motor coach, panorama bus or mini van. Certified multi-lingual tour guides aim to make the tour pleasant.

Alternative tours: This service runs on a tips-only basis. You can plan an English tour starting at 11.00 in the morning at Alexander Platz TV tower, right in front of Starbucks Coffee. The trip will cover a list of sites, focusing particularly on the underground sites and sounds of city, including technological wonders, landmarks of rock & electronic music and art & graffiti culture.

Insider Tours: They provide walking tours with English language support. The tours require no reservation. You just need to show up at the designated time and location and choose which of the tour options ('Insider Tour' or 'Red Star') you wish to avail of.

Humboldt Tours: High-quality tours for those wanting more detailed information, including historical facts and trivia. We call them high-quality tours also because you will have no less than PhD and graduate students of German history or American Fulbright exchange students as guides on this tour. So, you can come back loaded with information regarding architecture, Jewish History and other details.

Festivals

Film Festival

The Film Festival is a huge attraction, much like the Cannes and Venice versions. Here is a fact that may help raise your interest in this spot further. 150,000 tickets are sold every year during this mega event that screens 500 films and hosts a series of parties and events every year. Most screenings are open to the public. Tickets are cheap and are easily available for the ‘International Forum of Young Film’ category and the ‘Berlinale Panorama’ (movies that are not in the run for awards).

Lange Nacht der Museen
This cultural event takes place in January and August. The city bustles with activity around these times with museums remaining open till 2 AM. A good time to visit the city, especially if you are looking for a pleasant and eventful visit. Info Line Tel. +49 30 90 26 99 444.

Fête de la Musique
June 21 marks Fête de la Musique, a festival that celebrates music, similar to the street music festival in France. This is a time when the entire city is engulfed in music, giving tourists a unique experience to last a lifetime.

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