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Germany’s lively capital, Berlin, known for its significant history, is built around the river Spree in the German Federal State of Brandendburg in a region referred to as Bundesland. The city has had an incredible transformation during the last 10 decades. Over 4.5 million people live in the metropolitan area (almost 3.5 million within the city limits) making it the largest population of any municipality in Germany. What was a divided city, separating East from West, Berlin is now open for tourists and business travelers, students of history and lovers of the arts. Remarkable architecture abounds, ancient and modern, buildings, monuments and other structures standing side by side with a nod toward Berlin’s incredible background. Within a few blocks of the city’s center visitors can see representative examples of the many diverse historic periods of Berlin from medieval structures to ultramodern steel and glass buildings. Berlin has done an excellent job of maintaining open space in such a populated city with nearly a third of its footprint made up of the river, lakes, forests, parks and gardens. The city is divided into multiple districts, further segmented into boroughs, each with their own unique attributes. This segmentation supports several “down town” areas spread about Berlin.
Berlin has a limitless offering of museums. Among their favorite places, tourists count visits to the Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum containing the popular Fur Gegenwart Museum. Musemsinsl (translated in English means “Museum Island”) houses extensive collections of ancient Greek, Islamic and Middle Eastern art in its Pergamon Museum; The Altes Museum, Alte Nationalgaleri, Bode-Museum and Neues Museum, all on the grounds of the Island also contain must-see collections. Other museums and galleries in Berlin that are of interest to almost everyone include the Deutsches Historiches Museum, Judisches Museum, Gemaldgalerie, Nuseum fur Naturkunde, Musikinstrumenten-Museum, The Holocaust Museum and the Berlinische Galerie among many more. Tourists with an appetite for World War II details can visit the site of Hitler's Bunker in Mitte-Unter Den Linden. Although the site of Hitler’s death is now a parking lot, there is a diagram of the bunker and a monument explaining his final days.
What is left of the Berlin Wall, the iconic structure that separated Eastern Europe from the West can be visited (a portion of the wall is decorated with murals) along with the Berlin Wall Memorial and its monument to the infamous “Checkpoint Charlie”. Brandenburg Gate, one of the main symbols of Berlin, erected in the 18th century and recently restored, stands near the city centre, alongside the Pariser Platz which then leads to the Reichstag, dating back to the end of the 19th century and home to the German Parliament, known locally as the Bundestag. Central to Berlin’s city life and surrounded by many world-class entertainment venues is Mitte Unter den Linden, a lengthy avenue stretching from the Brandenburg Gate, lined with grand buildings and landmarks. Berliner Dom, the city's main Cathedral, featuring a magnificent dome and offering superb views of central Berlin and beyond is just one of the often visited facilities associated with the diverse religious culture of Berlin.
The 'Story of Berlin' Exhibition , the Schloss Charlottenburg, a beautiful palace built more than 300 years ago, the spectacular antiques and paintings found in Potsdamer Platz and the New Centre, a lively public square in central Berlin are additional favorites of tourists that have visited the capital of Germany. Including a tour Germany's oldest zoo, the Berliner Zoo and Aquarium in Tiergarten where visitors enjoy viewing the penguins, rhinos, orangutans, giraffes and the rare giant panda, Bao Bao, a gift of the Chinese government is another requisite attraction of the city. Charlottenburg Palace, a beautiful Prussian monument located in the suburbs of Berlin commands attention as does the Victory Column, an important Berlin monument constructed in 1873 to honor important military campaigns
Berlin is crammed with offerings for nightlife. One of the favorite areas is found at Oranienburger Strasse 28-30, a particularly trendy part of Berlin, overflowing with cafés and bars. Berlin has a rich sports history as well as a thirst for professional and amateur sports of every kind. A visit to Olympiastadion, an enormous stadium which hosted the Olympic Games in 1936 provides a little perspective into that part of Berliner’s lives while the tradition of sports and entertainment continues in the city with many popular seasonal festivals, sporting events and concerts, the world famous International Film Festival of Berlin or some of the other festivals staged throughout the year such as the Berlinale, the Richard Wagner Festival and the Stuttgart Jazz Festival. The Christmas Markets, or Weihnachtsmarkte also attract visitors from the world over.
The city provides an excellent public transportation system, world class hotels and virtually any convenience to make your trip to Berlin, Germany a dream come true. The hard part will be deciding what important places you will visit on your first trip and the one’s you will save for the next time. Add a trip to Berlin to your list and start planning the exciting details today.
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