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 tour 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.