Berlin is one of the liveliest historical cities in Europe. During the Cold War, the city was divided amongst 4 countries: France, Great Britain, United States and the Soviet Union. In 1948 a blockade fell upon the city which prevented Western nations, access to the city which lay in the Soviet Union section of Germany. 4700 supplies were airlifted to individuals living inside the Western controlled region of Berlin. In 1961, the Berlin wall was built overnight to prevent emigration from East Berlin.
If you ever a plan vacation in Germany, you should consider going to the following top 10 attractions in Berlin. You will be intellectually surprised by the architecture, landmarks and museums in the city which carry historical, political, social, cultural and economic significance.
1. Holocaust Memorial: Monument for the Murdered Jews in Europe
6 million people were wrongfully murdered and exterminated in the Nazis quest to rid the world of the Jewish people, Romas, homosexuals and communists. The Holocaust and the Final Solution continually is a sombre reminder of Germany’s evil past. In recent years, especially after unification, the country has tried to gain the respect of the international community. It has honoured those murdered during the Holocaust by aiming to bring Nazi criminals to justice and by building Memorials, such as the one in Berlin.
The memorial in Berlin stands on a “Death Strip” where the Berlin Wall once stood in Mitte, the historic city centre. It could be visited day or night as it is outdoors. The information centre which is located on-site contains biographical and personal recollections of the Holocaust. Taking 17 years to build, this is truly one of the most remarkable memorials and historical landmarks you cannot miss to see when in Berlin.
2. Jüdisches Museum
Built and opened on September 9, 2001, the museum is dedicated to Jewish history. Its aim was to acknowledge Jewish void in Germany. It contains collection of material which cover Jewish history from 2000 years ago and which document the development of Jewish life in Germany and Berlin. The museum is not the first built in Berlin. The first Jewish museum was built in 1933, before the Nazis confiscated its material. If you love studying the cultural history of Berlin and Jewish people, you do not want to miss this.
3. Checkpoint Charlie:
This well-known border crossing is a symbol of division as it split Berlin into two parts during the Cold War. Between 1961 and 1989 only foreigners such as reporters were allowed to enter East Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie on one day visas. There is a museum on site which individuals could go to and learn about the political, cultural and historic strife Berlin and Germany encountered during the Cold War. Visitors could get a firsthand glimpse into a divided life throughout the Cold War.
4. Legoland Discovery Centre:
Berlin is a perfect vacation for you and your kids. It houses the Legoland Discovery Centre, the first indoor Legoland in the World. Here you and your kid(s) will enjoy the social aspects of Berlin as you view how Legos are made. To compliment this, there are 4D movies as well as a ThemeRide called Miniland Berlin. If you are travelling with kids in Berlin this is the place to stop.
5. Brandenburg Gate:
Brandenburg Gate was commissioned by Frederick Wilhelm II to symbolize peace in 1791. A Quadriga facing east was added in 1794 to depict Victoria, the Roman Goddess who represented victory. For over 2 centuries this gate and landmark served as the entrance and gateway into Berlin. However, during the Cold War it symbolized division as it stood part of the Berlin Wall which divided the city into two parts. Now since the Cold War has ended it represents reunification and not just peace. If anyone loves politics and history, they would want to visit this landmark.
This parliament building was originally built in the 19th century with the unification of Germany and was named the Bundestag. Since then the building has been set on fire by the Nazis, bombed by the Allies and drawn on (graffiti) by the Russians. Today a newly renovated and rebuilt Reichstag is home to a unified German parliament. In 1995 artists even tried to cover the building with polypropylene and deep blue rope. If you are historical and political lover, you would want to visit the Reichstag. 90 minute guided tours are provided inside the building.
7. East Side Gallery:
If you never got the chance to see the Berlin Wall and how it looked like, you still have a chance. A large portion of the wall is still there on display for people to see. You can visit and see for yourself the symbol of separation and division. This gallery is on Mühlenstraße between Ostbahnhof and Warschauer Straße S-Bahn stations.
You should also note that the Berlin Wall was huge and stretched the whole city. When the fall actually occurred, only a portion of the wall fell.
8. DDR Museum:
Many knew little about what went on in East Germany and East Berlin during the Cold War. History books cannot begin to explain what really went on. The DDR Museum provides a hands-on experience into what life was like in East Berlin. Personal accounts of children, farmers and engineers will better help you better understand life through pictures, statistics and personal recollection. Not many exhibitions are glassed and it is safe to touch for visitors. If you ever wondered what an Eastern car looked like, a Trabi in the museum will put your mind at ease. It still has the smell of East Germany.
If you are a shopping lover or would like to sit down at a café or restaurant in Berlin, this street is for you. It has designer label stores and is known as the Champs Elysees of Berlin. You cannot miss this street as it will help you find all the perfect gifts you need.
10. TV Tower:
This historic and largest building once stood at the border of East/West Berlin during the Cold War. Built in 1969, it signified Berlin’s and GDR’s strength. Now it houses an excellent observation deck, restaurants and bars. As you sit and drink German Beer you can enjoy watching the vibrant Berlin city full of life from above at a 360 degrees angel.