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Travel and Leisure

A STROLL THROUGH HISTORIC AND ECLECTIC BERLIN

Much like many European capitals, Berlin is a city with a rich history, home to many iconic sites recognized around the world and a modern crossroads for an eclectic mix of people.

Just like other German cities like Hamburg and Cologne, Berlin is primarily known for its very high quality of living and its cultural diversity. As the largest city in Germany, Berlin has become an important hub for culture, politics, media, and science in Europe.   

Berlin history

Though Berlin was the third largest municipality in the world in the 1920s, the city has experienced many changes over the years as a result of its complicated past. Have you ever wonder what to see in Berlin? Do you know its historic past? After World War II, Germany’s division placed Berlin under the rule of the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany). This resulted in the city is divided into two sectors: East Berlin and West Berlin, with West Berlin, deemed a de facto West German exclave, surrounded by the Berlin Wall, from 1961 to 1989.   

Based on its subsequent occupation by the victorious countries, East Berlin was occupied by the Soviets and served as the capital of East Germany. On the other end, West Berlin occupied by the Americans, the British, and the French, served as a state of the Federal Republic of Germany, or West Germany, with Bonn as the West German Capital city. Berlin became the capital of the whole of Germany in 1990.

Where to stay in Berlin

Though the city is filled with remarkable sights and attractions, Berlin doesn’t have much in the way of an ‘Old Town’, unlike many smaller historic, capital cities in Europe. However, there is a lot to say about the vibrant heart of the city, where the Alexanderplatz is located. If you wish to stroll to Berlin top sites from a city-center base across from the Berlin Cathedral, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Berlin is a modern and elegant hotel located in the center of historic Berlin.

Alternatively, modern must-see sites in Berlin include buildings such as the Berlin TV tower, also known as Fernsehturm Berlin, the highest building in the city with a revolving restaurant that features a 360-degree view of Berlin.  If you are interested in accommodation with stunning views of Berlin, the Park Inn by Radisson Berlin Alexanderplatz is a modern high-rise centrally located accommodation option. Thanks to its 37 floors, it is the tallest hotel in Berlin, and it offers a magnificent and unrivaled panoramic view of the city skyline.

What to see in Berlin

Let’s discover what to see in Berlin. Nowadays, this metropolis is a popular tourist destination with unique historical sites, such as the Brandenburg Gate, an 18th-century neoclassical monument, that served as a symbol of the separation between East and West Berlin. To this day, this landmark is probably one of the most recognized sites in the city. Similarly, there are also significant sites such as Checkpoint Charlie, one of the most visited sites in the city as it was the most famous crossing point between West and East Germany.

Other famous historically significant landmarks you can see in Berlin include the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, an open space structure with 2711 concrete slabs of different heights located in the heart of Berlin in honor of the victims of the Holocaust. The Story of Berlin Museum is another popular site that recounts the city’s complicated history uniquely. The museum features a WWII Bunker displaying the history of WWII in a detailed and very interactive way. Additionally, you can visit the rooms of West and East Berliner’s post World War II– here, you can walk around the rooms, touch the objects and see what their TV shows were like, etc.

Most famous museums in Berlin

Finally, landmarks like the Berliner Dom, otherwise known as the Berlin Cathedral, are an important neo-Renaissance building built in 1905, located on a site that was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Museumsinsel Berlin or Museum Island is a museum complex located on the northern part of an island in the middle of the Spree River. This spot is home to several important museums, including the Altes Museum (or Old Museum), the Neues Museum (or New museum), the Alte Nationalgalerie (or Old National Gallery), the Bode Museum, the Pergamon Museum, and the Humboldt Forum.

Aside from the diverse architecture, you can see in Berlin, the city is also known for its contemporary art scene and its festivals. The unique thing about the famous East Side Gallery Berlin is that all the paintings are painted directly on the Berlin Wall. The Tempelhof Feld (Tempelhof Berlin Field) is another important artistic site in Berlin. Once a non-operational airport located right in the middle of the city, this area is now used for all kinds of activities, from simple picnics to kitesurfing. Another historic edifice is the Reichstag, the location where the Parliament sits, which has a glass dome representing the political transparency of the city.

Festival in Berlin for 2020

This year, Berlin will celebrate the 70th annual Berlin International Film Festival from February 20th to March 1st, 2020. The Berlinale is one of the largest public film festivals in the world that discovers new talents and attracts thousands of visitors and big stars of international cinema to Berlin. Over the years, the Berlinale has become a significant driver of innovation and an important economic factor both internationally and locally.   

Currently, the city serves as a continental hub for air and rail traffic and has a highly complex public transportation network. Not to mention, about one-third of the city’s metropolitan area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers, canals, and lakes. 

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