Highlights of Berlin (Part II)

Highlights of Berlin (Part II)

In Berlin, the historic capital of Germany and its largest city of 3.5 million people, you’ll never run out of places to discover and explore.

Our guided walking tour goes through the cityscape of magnificent squares (“platz”), parks, memorials, and buildings of old and contemporary architecture. Visited early as top priority of the day, the symbolic Brandenburg Gate and the nostalgic but “notorious” Berlin Wall are unforgettable!

The city is home also to more than 170 museums and art galleries. Although Germalde Gallery is one of the most popular with its huge collections of artwork by the European artists of the 13th to 18th century the Museum Island complex , a UNESCO World Heritage Site, consisting of five world-renowned museums Altes (Old Museum), Neues (New Museum), Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), Bode, and Pergamon, still remains as the focal point of the diverse art scene in Berlin. Actually, Berlin is a museum by itself!

One block to the north of Brandenburg Gate stands the impressive Reichstag building, the seat of the German Parliament called the “Bundestag” with its members of directly elected representatives of the people of Germany. Free admission allows you into this architectural landmark to reach its large glass dome at the top, its roof terrace and its restaurant.

From the Reichstag take a stroll along the city’s grandest boulevard, “Unter den Linden” (under the lindens), named for its linden (lime) trees planted more than three-and-a-half centuries ago. Along the grassed pedestrian mall you’ll find a number of historic sites including the famous Humboldt University and the German National Museum. At the centre of the Ùnter is the equestrian statue of King Friedrich Wilhelm II.

Located one block south of the Gate is the Holocaust Memorial, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Consisting of geometrically arranged gravestone-like concrete slabs (called `stelae`) in grey colour reminiscent of ash that are spread over the big sloping field the Holocaust Memorial honours and remembers the 6 million Jews the genocide of which was organised in Berlin during the Second World War. Built in 2003-2004, the Memorial was designed by American architect Peter Eisenman and Engr. Buro Happold. You can enter from all four sides and walk along the path between rows of the tall concrete pillars (`stelae`) and feel the memorial`s resemblance to a solitary cemetery. Anyway, the `Memorial attempts to present a new idea of memory as distinct from nostalgia`.

An underground information centre studies the Nazi system of extermination of the Jews.

If you are a history buff no trip to Berlin would be complete without visiting `Checkpoint Charlie`, the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the height of the Cold War (a period of conflict, tension and competition between the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, from 1947-1991). At this location a confrontation (standoff) occurred, known in international politics as the `Berlin Crisis of 1961` between 10 Soviet tanks and equal number of American tanks both ready to retaliate against each other. The crisis was however peacefully resolved following a US-Soviet understanding to withdraw the tanks.

We`ll end up our guided tour of Berlin on the 05-20, November 2014 issue. God bless.

TRIVIA: You cannot invent a name nor can the name be gender ambiguous in Berlin and Germany. That`s the law!