Berlin Day 1 ☺

We always wanted to visit Berlin; I am not sure weather it was due to its fascinating past or being current economic powerhouse of European union. But it was one of the must see cities that we wanted to visit during our Europe trip and would like to go back again to see and discover more of this great city.

The city’s appearance today is predominantly shaped by the key role it played in Germany’s history in the 20th century. Each of the national governments based in Berlin – the Kingdom of Prussia, the 1871 German Empire, the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, East Germany, and now the reunified Germany – initiated ambitious reconstruction programs, with each adding its own distinctive style to the city’s architecture.

Berlin, Germany’s capital, dates to the 13th century. Reminders of the city’s turbulent 20th-century history include its Holocaust memorial and the Berlin Wall’s graffitied remains. Divided during the Cold War, its 18th-century Brandenburg Gate has become a symbol of reunification. The city’s also known for its art scene and modern landmarks.

 

First day we decided to walk to Parliament Building (Reichstag Building), river cruise, Brandenburg Gate and then on the way back Holocaust memorial.

 

Reichstag Building:

 Situated just north of the Brandenburg Gate, this building houses the German Parliament and was the seat of the Weimar Republic government until the Nazis seized it in 1933. The architecture is compelling and the neighbourhood is very well maintained. Immaculate would be an appropriate description. Germany has taken great strides to break from mistakes in its past and the Reichstag (along with the Jewish museum and the Holocaust Memorial) is one example of this.

The Reichstag building was completed in 1894 following German national unity and the establishment of the German Reich in 1871. The Reichstag suffered damage and destruction over the course of the 20th century. The fire of 1933 completely destroyed the original plenary hall and it was necessary to demolish the original dome in 1954. Paul Baumgarten’s restoration completed in 1961 gave the building a new function as a venue for parliamentary committee meetings and exhibitions, located in the Western part of divided Berlin, just beyond the Wall, a short walk north of the Brandenburg Gate.

After reunification and the Bundestag’s move from Bonn to Berlin it became necessary to equip and thoroughly modernise the languishing building.

After a complete restoration of Paul Wallot’s original building, the Bundestag reconvened here in Sir Norman Foster’s spectacularly restored Reichstag building on April 19, 1999.

 

Brandenburg Gate:

The Brandenburg Gate is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin, built on the orders of Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm II after the successful restoration of order during the early Batavian Revolution.

Located in no-man’s land between East and West Germany during the Cold War, this famous monument, built during the 18th-century reign of Friedrich Wilhelm II, has long been a defining symbol of Berlin and both the city’s division and unification.

I suppose that this is the most famous view in Berlin, so therefore you should definitely pay a visit to the big stone monument. The area around it is pretty nice too, you can walk on Unter den Linden, which is a big street and in the other direction you can also visit the great park Tiergarten.

This gate is a landmark that represents Berlin because we have seen images of it for many years in the news and in travel books and magazines. We enjoyed seeing the Quadriga. The Quadriga is atop the Brandenburg Gate and was designed by Johann Gottfried Schadow. Napoleon had it brought to Paris after he entered Berlin. After the Battle of Leipzig in 1814, the Prussian commander Marshal Blucher had it brought back to Berlin.

The American and British Embassies are nearby as is the Hotel Adlon and a bunch of stores, coffee shops etc. Make an afternoon of it and you won’t be disappointed. Simply put, the Brandenburg Gate is to Berlin as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, in my humbled opinion. It is easily one of Berlin’s best-known monuments.

 

The Holocaust Memorial:

We were moved by the Memorial in Berlin – it extends over a city block, with a museum in the basement that reflects not only the historical context of the Nazi era, but the human aspects of the Holocaust, with individual devastating fates described in multimedia in a touching and sensitive way.

The underground museum is dramatic and profoundly moving. The personal records and letters on display counterbalance the scale of the crimes against humanity.
A dark and sobering visit, but an impressive and fitting memorial to the millions who were treated so appallingly.

 

Berlin River Cruise:

We explored the beauty of Berlin with this wonderful cruise. English and German commentary from the speakers on board was provided while visiting the; Museum Island, Berlin Cathedral, Berlin City Palace, TV Tower ,Red Town Hall, Nikolaiviertel, Reichstag, Government District, Main Train Station Hauptbahnhof, German Chancellery and House of the Cultures of the World.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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