Visitors to Berlin, the capital of Germany and its largest city, are often astonished with the highly eclectic array of architecture and buildings the city has to offer. The city’s appearance today is predominantly shaped by the key role it played in Germany’s history during the 20th century. Berlin was ravaged by bombing raids throughout World War II, and many of the buildings that had remained after the war were demolished in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Berlin Television Tower, or the Berliner Fernsehturm located at Alexanderplatz in Mitte (District Center) was unveiled on October 3, 1969 and is among the tallest structures in the European Union, standing at 1,207 ft. Every year more than a million visitors from 86 countries ascend the 669 ft to the observation floor and take in the breathtaking view of the city below.
Other sights near the Berlin Television Tower worth visiting include Museum Island and the Berlin Cathedral.
Museum Island located in the River Spree is home to five museums built between 1830 and 1930 and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Altes Museum is one of the five internationally renowned museums on Museum Island. Constructed between 1823 and 1830 by the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, it was originally constructed to house the city’s fine arts collections. However, after its restoration in 1966, the museum has housed only the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities). Special exhibitions are usually displayed on the second floor of the museum.
Located in the northern part of the island, you will find the Berlin Cathedral with its magnificent dome. The cornerstone of the cathedral was laid in 1894 and the inauguration ceremony took place in 1905. However, like other historic structures in the city, the cathedral suffered heavy damage during World War II. It wasn’t until 1975 that the GDR (German Democratic Republic) began restoration work on the cathedral. The restoration was finally completed four years after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1993.
Tourists can see the ministry church along with the baptismal and matrimonial chapels, the imperial staircase, the Hohenzollern crypt with nearly 100 coffins dating back four centuries and the Cathedral museum. Visitors can also climb to the top of the dome for a remarkable view of Berlin. Please note that tours are not permitted while services and events are being held.
Speaking of the Berlin Wall, a large stretch of the wall remains intact today and can be found to the east of the city center along the River Spree in Mühlenstraße near the Oberbaumbrücke. The wall is preserved as a gallery known as the East Side Gallery.
After the fall of the Wall, the Friedrichstadt-Palast was established as the first address in reunified Germany. Dating back to 1919, the Friedrichstadt-Palast is Europe’s premier show palace. It houses the largest theater stage in the world where hundreds of Berlin’s best soloists, dancers, musicians and artists have performed and continue to perform for over 700,000 visitors annually.
Located just 7 miles from Berlin proper, you will encounter Hermsdorf. Hermsdorf was an autonomous municipality until it was merged with Berlin in 1920 with the “Greater Berlin Act”. Today the city is where the two German autobahns A 4 (Frankfurt – Dresden) and A 9 (Berlin – Munich) meet and where you can still experience a piece of “old” Europe with its cobblestone streets and turn of the century architecture.
Whether putting aside or embracing Berlin’s past history during the World Wars, tourists flock to today’s Berlin with its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, and culture. A place definitely worth visiting.
Photo Credits: A. Hijikata