Berlin, the Capital of Germany has been the capital of the reunited Germany since 1989. During the years that transpired from the end of World War II until that year, it was the capital of East Germany and Bonn was the capital of West Germany.
Aerial view of the Capital of Germany, Berlin
A Past of East and West gave way to a United Germany
Berlin itself was divided into East and West firs politically and later by a tall wall of concrete better known as “Berlin Wall”. I was fortunate to arrive in Berlin with my wife on the las days of 1989 a few days of the demolition of the wall by the German people, tired of being divided.
Since then Berlin now the Capital of United Germany has been developing to be one of the most important World Capitals. Located in northeastern Germany it has a population of 3.3 million people and a total of 4.5 million for the metropolitan area.
This is a city of culture, politics, science and media with many industries, convention centers and many tourist sites for the delight of the visitors. It is well known for its great nightlife, festivals, restaurants and cafes as well as art and architecture. Let’s visit a few of the most important sites of Berlin, Capital of Germany.
The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin a symbol to the Reunification of Germany
Built in the 18th century this was a monument symbol of peace. At the end of WWII when the city was divided into east and west the location of the monument was exactly on the divide and therefore became an important gate between the “two” Berlins.
Since the fall of the horrendous wall it became a symbol of the Reunification of Germany.
It is located at the end of Unter den Linden Street, a grand boulevard of Berlin. The area of its location is called Pariser Platz that is now totally renovated and the whole area has regained its grandeur as in the 19th century.
The monumental gate was commissioned by Emperor Wilhelm II and designed by Carl Gotthard. It is 66 meters wide by 28 meters high and the designed was based on the Propylaea, gateway to the Acropolis in Athens Greece. It was built between 1778 and 1791.
Before the war it was one of the busiest parks in Berlin. It was totally destroyed during WWII and became a no man’s land.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall it was decided to rebuild the whole 480,000 sq meters area. The project included the construction of several landmark towers, a shopping arcade, an entertainment center and residential buildings.
The Reichstag Building in Berlin is home to the
This is the seat of the German Parliament and Berlin’s most historic sites. It is located next to the Brandenburg Gate and before 1989 it was next to the wall. The building was totally refurbished after the fall of the wall and the dome replaced by a modern glass one. Since 1999 it serves again its original purpose.
When the German Empire was founded in 1872, after the Prussian War where France was defeated, there was a need for a big parliament building. It was designed by Paul Wallot and constructed between the years 1884 and 1894 mainly with wartime reparations money from the defeated France.
It is an imposing neo-Renaissance building 138 meters long by 97 meters wide. In 1916 the then Emperor Wilhelm II added the words in bronze letters “Dem Deutschen Volke” meaning “To the German People”. Legend says that the bronze letters where cast from seized French cannons.
The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin the Capital of Germany
In 2005 on the 60th anniversary of the fall of the Nazi regime and the end of WWII, the city of Berlin inaugurated a memorial for the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis with Hitler al the helm.
The idea surged in 1988 and the final design by U.S architect Peter Eisenman was approved in 1999. Eisenman’s designed occupies about 19,000 sq meters near the Brandenburg Gate and near the ill remembered Hitler’s bunker lies buried.
People may walk through the slabs of the memorial in any direction, since the stones are not set in any specific pattern. It is definitely a place where peace can be felt.Berlin Wall
Since the end of the war and until 1961 Berliners from both sides could move freely between east and west, but many east-Berliners found out that the west side offers more facilities and progress and by 1961 about 20,000 residents of the east where leaving the east and settling in the western side. This is when the East Germany communist Government decided to build this wall “supposedly” to protect the east from the west aggression.
We all know from history that many East Berliners lost their life while trying to cross to the west. Then in October of 1989 when the whole Soviet Union and its Eastern Europe satellites dismembered, the wall was tumbled down.
As mentioned I came to Berlin for a convention in Hamburg just a few days of the fall of the wall. People were still selling little wall pieces as souvenirs and the whole area so well refurbished today was as it was for more than 40 years.
Museum Island with its Five Museums in Berlin the Capital of Germany
Called in German the Berlin Museumsinsel, is located between the Spree River and the Kupfergraben canal in the Mitte district of Berlin. It is home to five museums one next to another. The museums are:
This checkpoint between east and west Berlin became a symbol of the Cold War since in 1964 there was a bitter encounter between American and Soviet tanks.
For more than 30 years it was not only a checkpoint to allow traffic between the two cities but a sign of a divided world in turmoil.
During all these years it was almost the only checkpoint used by diplomats and other visitors to cross from one section to the other. In 1961 President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visited Checkpoint Charlie.
The famous World Clock in Alexanderplatz in the Capital of Germany
This square has been the center of town for many centuries. It is named after the Russian Czar Alexander that visited the place in 1805.
As in the past it is Berlin’s most important and busy square. Two monuments were added to the square in 1969, the Weltzeituhr or World Time Clock by Erich John and the Fountain of International Friendship.
For more information go to Berlin Tourism Website
The Charlottenburg Palace an important landmark in the Capital of Germany
This is an 18th century baroque palace in the Berlin districtn of Charlottenburg. Several sections of the lavishly decorated building are open to visitors. The palace, largest Berlin, was designed by Arnold Nering asnd constructed between the years 1695 and 1699.
In 1740 Frederick the Great, King Frederick III, commissioned the expansion of the east wing to complement the longer west wing.
During the war it was totally destroyed by an allied air raid, and after the war it was totally refurbished to its original glory.
Parts of the palace are open to the public such as the Oak Gallery, the Porcelain Gallery, the White Hall, the Golden Gallery and The Gallery of the Romantics. We also want to mention the Schlosskapelle, the reconstructed palace chapel.
This park located behind the Charlottenburg Palace was designed in the French Baroque style but was later converted into a less formal park.
We have enjoyed the tour of the Capital of Germany, glorious Berlin, a city that recovered all its lost charm during the last few decades.
images credits for the capital of germany
brandensburg by hunzi
reichstag by ex-smith
holocaust by mazbin
museum island by brokensphere
charlotensburg by norbert aepli
berlin view n/a
world clock n/a
all courtesy of wikimedia commons