Hidden Europe: unique experiences in Europe's cities
8920 · By Katie Shaw
Europe’s cities are treasure troves of culture, teeming with iconic, must-see sights to enthral even the most seasoned of tourists.Read more
Berlin is a city with a fascinating and turbulent history that was once the symbol of the Cold War, marking the dividing point between East and West. Today, Berlin is a modern capital city and a popular and rewarding holiday destination. There are traces of history and division all over the city, including remnants of the Berlin Wall, some sections of which are completely intact. The imposing Brandenburg Gate and famous Checkpoint Charlie are permanent reminders of Berlin's past.
The Reichstag is the seat of the German Parliament and is one of Berlin's most famous landmarks. Following a mysterious and controversial fire in 1930 - the Communists blamed the Nazis, who in turn blamed the Communists - it was rebuilt, only to be left unoccupied and abandoned after World War II. The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) used the Palace of the Republic in East Berlin, while the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) used the Bundeshaus in Bonn. Following the reunification of Germany in 1990, the Reichstag was fully refurbished by architect Norman Foster. His work included the addition of a huge glass dome on the roof, which provides incredible 360 degree views across the city. The dome is designed to direct sunlight into the building, while also allowing visitors to the dome to see into the Parliament chamber from above.
Alexanderplatz and the TV Tower
This grand parade ground, a familiar sight in most communist states, was once a symbol of East Germany. Today, Alexanderplatz is the largest city square in Germany. It is overlooked by the Television Tower. At 368 metres, the TV Tower is the tallest tower in Germany and provides unbeatable views across Berlin's city centre and surrounding region. At the tops, a revolving restaurant offers views while you eat, rotating twice every hour.
The Memorial for Europe's Murdered Jews
Located close to Brandenburg Gate is a permanent place of remembrance for Jews murdered during the holocaust. The poignant memorial consists of a simple grid pattern of concrete slabs set on a sloping field - the slabs begin to tower over you as you walk among them. The memorial is supplemented by an underground information centre containing the names of all known victims.
East Side Gallery
What has come to be known as the 'East Side Gallery' is in fact the longest surviving section of the Berlin Wall, at 1.3 kilometres in length. It runs along the banks of the River Spree, with 118 international artists from across the world immortalised on the Wall with graffiti art and paintings.