Berlin is a living, breathing paradox: rich in drama and history, yet bursting with lighthearted, goofy charm. With a quirky blend of serious historic landmarks, rollicking hot spots and a socially-conscious side, this world class city has something for everyone. Here are some unforgettable things to see and do in Berlin.
1. See Where German Parliament Presides over the Country’s Affairs
This stunning Neo-Baroque building erected in 1894 housed the Imperial Diet originally. It was damaged by the great fire of Berlin in 1933 and sat in ruins until the fall of the Berlin Wall. That was when Norman Foster formulated a plan to resurrect the Reichstag. He envisioned the restored building as a symbol of a united Germany. When you visit Reichstag, you can now view the debating chamber of the German Parliament and take in a sweeping view of Berlin through a glass dome.
- Immerse Yourself in Treasured Works of Art
- Museum Island
If you want easy access to five standout museums, you should head to Museum Island. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is the home of Altes Museum, Alte National Galerie, Neues Museum, Bode-Museum and the Pergamon Museum. The museum established longest ago was Altes Museum in 1830 and Pergamon Museum, the newcomer, opened in 1930. All of the museums are replete with items from 19th century war victories and the Prussian royal collections.
- Find Serenity at a Scenic Park in the Heart of the City
Offering a picture perfect reprieve from the gravity of Berlin’s historic landmarks is Tiergarten. The park, located just steps from Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag, is the site of the Luiseninsel and rose garden, as well as monuments such as the Bismarck. Tiergarten also contains Schloss Bellevue, the residence of the President of Germany.
- Feel the Power of Germany’s History at Recognizable Landmarks
- Brandenburg Gate
Dating back to the 1790s, Brandenburg Gate stands as a symbol of Berlin’s storied past. It has endured through World War II and the fall of the Berlin Wall and has great historical significance. Prussian King Frederick William II commissioned the construction of the breathtaking monument on the site of one of Berlin’s former defensive gates. Sitting atop Brandenburg Gate is the Quadriga, a chariot pulled by four horses. 12 Doric columns forming five passageways support the structure.
- Checkpoint C or “Charlie”
Originally erected in 1947, this historic landmark was established as crossing point to mark East from West Berlin. However, after the Berlin Wall was built, it became the official checkpoint for visitors traveling from one side of the city to another. Checkpoint Charlie became a critical monument of the Cold War, and is noted in many spy novels and movie thrillers including James Bond. While East and West Berlin have now reunified and the wall no longer remains, Checkpoint Charlie exists as memorial and features an open air exhibition as well as work by the artist Frank Thiel.
- Walk Through History on Berlin’s Oldest Boulevard
- Unter den Linden
This boulevard is not only grand, it is as old as the city of Berlin. Unter den Linden, named after the lime trees planted along it in 1647, is the site of famous institutions such as Humboldt University and State Opera. World War II took its toll on some of the landmarks along Unter den Linden and many were not restored or rebuilt until after the Reunification.
- Indulge in Luscious Treats
- Fassbender & Rausch
Chocolate heaven is one way to describe the 150 year old and world’s largest chocolate store. From milk chocolate to dark chocolate, from fruit and nuts, caramels, and cream filled as well as unique flavors such as peppercorns it’s all here! Located near the Gendarmenmarkt, this unique and impressive building is also much more than merely a confectionary storefront. Housed in the same building is a restaurant which incorporates chocolate and cacao into nearly every dish, as well as a café where dinners can enjoy pastries, tortes, ice cream, beverages and more all made with chocolate.
- Experience the Majesty of Berlin’s Most Important Protestant Church
- Berlin Cathedral
While it never officially served as the seat for a bishop, the breathtaking effect of Berlin Cathedral cannot be denied. Construction on the massive house of worship, designed in the Historicist style, was completed in 1904. Restoration to repair the damage sustained by the building during World War II took place from the 1970s to 1993. Notable design elements include a marble and onyx mosaic crafted by the 19th-century architect Friedrich August Stüler.
Whether you are drawn to historic landmarks or picturesque green spots, one thing is certain: you will find many reasons to love Berlin. This world class city has been deeply impacted by history, and at the same time, has a bright future bursting with promise. Its universal appeal makes it the perfect setting for corporate meetings.
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