Berlin

“alternative and eccentric”

Alexanderplatz
Alexanderplatz
Alexanderplatz

Going back to the 12th Century, Berlin is rich in history, especially during WWII and the Cold War.

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The place to be

Oberbaumbrücke
Oberbaumbrücke
Berlin

The name Berlin has its roots in the language of West Slavic inhabitants of the area of today’s Berlin and comes from the word berl meaning swamp.

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Hi! My name is…

Bear
Bear
Buddy Bears

Since the “Ber” at the beginning sounds like the German word Bär (“bear”), this animal appears in the city’s coat of arms and all around the city as Buddy Bears, painted, life-size fiberglass bear sculptures.

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Bärlin

Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburger Tor

This is not just a prominent landmark in Berlin but the symbol of Germany, representing its reunification. It was constructed where a former city gate once stood, designating the beginning of the route leading from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel. On top of the gate is a sculpture of Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory, on a chariot drawn by four horses. This quadriga was taken by Napoleon to Paris after the 1806 Prussian defeat and restored to Berlin after Napoleon’s defeat in 1814.

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A symbol of unity

Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburger Tor
Pariser Platz

Brandenburger Tor is located at Pariser Platz. The name commemorates the victory in the Battle of Paris during the War of the Sixth Coallition which forced Napoleon to abdicate and go into exile.

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More than a symbol

Hotel Adlon
Hotel Adlon
Hotel Adlon

Next to Brandenburg Gate is one of the most luxurious hotels in Germany. Notable guests include Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and John D. Rockefeller, Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein, Michael Jackson, among many more.

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Lux

Old and New
Old and New
Marienkirche / Fernsehturm

Built in the 13th Century, St. Mary’s Church was one of the few large churches that could still be used in Berlin after WWII. The TV-Tower, on the other hand, was built in 1969 by the government of East Germany and was a symbol of Communist power. Today it is a symbol of reunified Berlin. It is the tallest structure in Germany and, at the time it was built, was the 4th tallest in the world.

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Something old, something new

Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche
Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche
Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche

Built in the 1890s, this church was severely destroyed in 1943 during WWII by allied bombings.

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Hauntingly beautiful

Prussia
Prussia
Prussia

Prussia was a German state that became a great power in Europe during the 18th and 19th century. It became the leader of the German Empire when the German states united in 1871. Its national colors were black and white with the black eagle as part of its coat of arms.

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Preußen

Dom scars
Dom scars
Berliner Dom

Partially destroyed by the allied bombings, the facade stills bears the bullet holes from the Battle of Berlin at the end of WWII.

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The scars of war

Berliner Dom
Berliner Dom
Berliner Dom

The cathedral’s original interior was restored by 2002. Visitors are allowed to go up to the dome.

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The dome

Berliner Schloss
Berliner Schloss
Berliner Schloss

Formerly the main residence of the House of Hohenzollern from 1443 and expanded in 1713, it was damaged during WWII, and demolished by the East German authorities in 1950. In the 1970s, the East German Palace of the Republic was built in its location only to be also demolished after German reunification and the Berlin Palace was reconstructed beginning in 2013 and completed in 2020.

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The Palace

Humboldt Forum
Humboldt Forum
Humboldt Forum

Located inside the Berliner Schloss, the Humboldt Forum houses a collection of ethnological items from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Oceania. There’s currently much debate about the acquisition of these items, many which were stolen. Do you think they should be returned to their original location?

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The world

Mohrenstraße
Mohrenstraße
Mohrenstraße

In the pre-colonial period from the 16th to the early 18th century, the German word Mohr (moor) was frequently used to refer to people with dark skin. In light of present re-examinations of European colonial history, a change of name has been suggested. Sometimes, bypassers will draw two dots on top of the letter “o”, changing its name and meaning to Möhrenstraße, literally “Carrot Street.”

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Colonialism

Bunker
Bunker
Just an ordinary parking lot

Or is it? Below this perfectly normal looking parking lot lies the bunker where Hitler hid during his last days and committed suicide. Apart from a small sign, there’s nothing to mark this place. This was done intentionally, as a way of anti-commemorating this site.

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Nothing to see here

Jewish Memorial
Jewish Memorial
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Germany is very open about the atrocities committed during WWII and this is one of its most iconic memorials. Commemorating the approximately 6 million Jews that were killed during the Holocaust with 2711 concrete stelae, you can fully immerse in this memorial where feelings of uncertainty, darkness, and drowning can be experienced.

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6 million

Ampelmann
Ampelmann
Ampelmann

This little guy was the green light for pedestrian traffic lights in former East Germany. He was so popular, that even after reunification he can still be found in many street crossings and even has his own official merch store.

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The little green man

West und Ost
West und Ost
West und Ost

Present-day Berlin is a relatively new city since it was separated into east and west and only reunified in 1990.

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Two Berlins

Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie

This is the world famous Checkpoint Charlie. It was the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War. If you don’t know which side of Berlin you’re standing on, take a look at McDonald’s. It’s located on what was the American sector.

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Check it out

Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie
Charlie

Many believe that the American soldier in the picture was on duty at the gate during the night the wall fell, but he wasn’t. He played tuba for the departing troops and was not stationed at Checkpoint Charlie that night. His picture was selected just because. And no, his name was not Charlie (it was Jeff.)

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Charlie who?

Checkpoint Charlie Sign
Checkpoint Charlie Sign
Checkpoint Charlie Sign

Checkpoint Charlie takes its name from the NATO phonetic alphabet: Checkpoint A (Alpha) near Helmstedt, Checkpoint B (Bravo) near Dreilinden, and Checkpoint C (Charlie) at Friedrichstraße. This sign is a replica, the real one is at the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie.