The Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor)
Am Pariser Platz
Berlin, BE 10117
The Brandenburg gate is the unquestionable symbol of Berlin and is now regarded as one of the greatest symbols of German unity. It is the last remaining gate of the Berlin Wall and marks the western end of the famous Unter den Linden Boulevard. The statue on top of the arch represents Nike driving her chariot to victory towards the West.
The Tiergarten is often referred to as Berlin’s green heart. Originally a hunting reserve for royalty, landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenne turned the Tiergarten into a beautiful city park in 1742. During World War II many of the trees were cut for firewood and the pristine lawns were turned into vegetable gardens to feed the populace of Berlin. Heavy bombing then damaged much of the rest of the park. The present-day plantings took place just after the war and today the beautifully lush Tiergarten is a popular place with Berliners and, to the surprise of many tourists, nude sunbathing is permitted throughout the park. The park is over 412-acres and it stretches for 1.75 miles west from the Brandenburg Gate.
The Berlin Wall
(030) 463 5106
If you want to see what remains of the infamous Berlin Wall head down Charlottenstrasse and then west along Leipzigerstrasse. There you can see one of the best examples of what remains of the Wall.
The Berlin Zoo & Aquarium
(030) 2540 1255
The Berlin zoo was founded in 1841. It is the largest zoo in the world with over 74-acres and some 13,000 species of animal. Today, the zoo participates in many successful programs for the breeding and preservation of endangered species. Its history, which spans more than 150 years, is reflected in the buildings, which echo the folklore and exotic reproductions of past eras. Don’t miss the Elephant Gate, a magnificent oriental gate with elephant sculptures. It was constructed in 1899 on the initiative of the former zoo director, Ludwig Heck, and restored to its former beauty in the 1980s. Just beside the zoo is the Berlin Aquarium, which also has the largest and most comprehensive collection of aquatic animals in the world. There are more than 250 tanks displaying an amazing variety of fish. The reptiles, amphibians and the insectarium are definitely worth a peek.
The Charlottenburg Palace (Schloss Charlottenburg)
Spandauer Damm 20
Berlin, BE 14059
33 1969 4202
The Charlottenburg Palace is the oldest surviving Prussian palace in Germany. Building began in 1695 and was completed in 1790. There are 70 rooms and corridors crammed full of ornate furnishings and Watteau paintings. The east wing houses an incredible collection of romanticist paintings while the west wing houses a collection of ancient and prehistoric art and artifacts. Take a guided tour of the royal apartments and then stroll through the formal gardens that surround the palace.
The Reichstag, built in 1884-94, has witnessed many of the key moments in 20th century German history. It has seen the Proclamation of the German Republic in 1918, endured a burning in 1933, a storming in 1945 by Russian troops and German Reunification in 1990. Since its renovation in 1999, it has housed the Bundestag (Parliament).
Soviet War Memorial (Treptower Park)
Treptower Park houses a very sobering monument to the Soviet soldiers who died fighting Hitler. The park also contains a mass grave for the 5,000 soldiers killed in action. Walk the tree-lined avenue to see a statue of Mother Russia crying for her dead children. There are huge white stone reliefs set up in a manner not unlike the Stations of the Cross. They bear quotations from Stalin and depict how the Soviets won out against Fascism. At the far end of the park there is a massive statue of a heroic Soviet soldier clutching a child in one arm and smashing a swastika with the other.
The Jewish Quarter
The Scheunenviertel (Stable Quarter) is both Berlin’s newest hot spot and one of its oldest areas. It was originally founded in the 17th century outside the medieval city walls. It survived Allied bombing raids and the Red Army’s assault on the city. Recently, the quarter’s old buildings are being reincarnated as trendy bars, cafes, restaurants, and galleries. It is lively, trendy and bohemian and well worth a visit.