With a over a hundred art galleries; a rich history of theatre, cabaret and the performance arts; a whole island dedicated to museums; plus a world famous film festival, it's fair to say that if you're after culture you’ve come to the right place.
Berlin's turbulent and chequered history can’t be easily forgotten, however the need to regenerate both physically and psychologically has fostered a unique atmosphere of energetic creativity. Today's visitors can enjoy the aura of New Berlin by strolling through the wide bohemian streets of Kreuzberg or Prenzlauer Berg, taking in the shops, cafes and art galleries in Mitte, or by paying a visit to one of the many art-house cinemas or fringe theatres in the city. Those searching for more traditional culture can spend literally days exploring the treasures of Museum Island, walk through the Brandenburg gate into Tiergarten park, or pay a visit to the breath-taking Schloss Charlottenburg
The Berlin Wall surrounded the West of Berlin from 1961 to 1989, a symbol of the divided ideologies of the times whose fall presaged the fall of Communism. Although the vast majority of the Wall was destroyed by citizens eager to tear down this terrible divide, chunk and remnants of Berlin's most famous landmark remain for the history buff to track down. Head up to Bernauer Strasse on the border of Prenzlauer Berg and Wedding District for one well-preserved section, or south of the city centre to the border of Mitte and Kreuzberg for another section, where you can also find the Wall Museum. Finally in Friedrichshain, by the river, find the East Side Gallery - a 1.3 km section of the Wall painted by artists from around the world.
The Berliner Dom in Berlin, Germany, is an impressive basilica known as the "Protestant St. Peter's." The present Baroque structure dates only from 1905, but stands on the site of several earlier structures. Berlin's cathedral is not a must-see, but it is certainly worth a look if time allows.
Well worth the five Euros entry fee, the Berliner Dom is an impressive Renaissance-style cathedral, which enjoyed extensive restoration after being ravaged by the Allied bombs in WWII. Since 1993, visitors have been able to stroll around its magnificent interior, head down into the crypt for a peek at the sarcophagi and, best of all, climb up to the Cupola for a fantastic panoramic view of the city. Take your camera! The Dom also holds regular Protestant services for the faithful as well as classical concerts for ticket purchasers.
The Red Town Hall, seat of the mayor and the Senate of Berlin, is one of the famous landmarks of Berlin. The name of the building dates from the facade design with red brick. Between 1861 and 1869, the Red Town Hall was built according to designs of Hermann Waesemann. After laying the foundation stone was the first municipal meeting will be held four years later at City Hall. The Neo-Renaissance style is characterized as a multi-winged building in the round arch style with three courtyards and a nearly 74 m high tower.
Known as the Brandenburger Tor in German, Berlin's second most famous landmark (after the Wall) was built by Carl Gotthard Langhans in 1791, on the commission of Friedrich Wilhelm II. A triumphal gate built to celebrate the status of Berlin as Prussia's grandest city, the arch was partially modelled on the Propylaea gateway in Greece and originally named Friedenstor, or 'Peace Gate'. The mighty Quadriga statue, a four horse chariot driven by the Greek God of Victory, was actually stolen by the dastardly Napoleon in 1806 - but returned after his defeat in 1814. Destroyed during World War II, the statue that now sits upon the Brandenburg Gate is in fact a copy erected in 1957.
The Neue Synagoge (New Synagogue) in Berlin was built between 1859 and 1866 and destroyed in the mid-20th-century. When it was consecrated on Rosh Hashanah in 1866, it was the largest synagogue in Europe, with 3,200 seats.
Now a meticulously restored landmark, the New Synagogue is an exotic amalgam of styles, with a Moorish feel. Its bulbous, gilded cupola stands out in the skyline.
Like many of Berlin's finest buildings the Neue Synagoge (New Synagogue) has literally 'been through the wars'. It suffered it's most notable attacks from the Nazis on Kristallnacht in 1938 and, more damagingly, from the Allied bombs in 1945. Today the dome has been restored on top of the surviving facades, so that a shell of the original remains. Inside, where once worshippers would have congregated, is a permanent exhibition of the building's history, and a number of spaces for temporary exhibits. The heavy security (expect no-nonsense guards and metal detectors) is a grim reminder that there are still some fanatics who harbour Nazi sentiments.
The Fernsehturm - Alexanderplatz Tower - is the tallest structure in Germany, with its 368 meters. It is a television tower in the centre of Berlin. Close to Alexanderplatz, the tower was constructed between 1965 and 1969 in the former German Democratic Republic and intended it as a symbol of Berlin, which it remains today, as it is easily visible throughout the central and some suburban districts.
Deutsches Historisches Museum
The Deutsches Historisches Museum (DHM, German Historical Museum) was founded in 1987 by the chancellor of Germany, Helmut Kohl and the mayor of Berlin, Eberhard Diepgen on the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the founding of Berlin. It is situated in the Zeughaus which was founded in 1695 and is the oldest structure on the Unter den Linden avenue in central Berlin.
In 2004 an extension to the DHM, designed by I. M. Pei, was completed. The permanent exhibition was opened to the public in 2006, following the restoration of the Zeughaus building,
The current Chancellery building, opened in the spring of 2001, was designed by Charlotte Frank and Axel, in an essentially postmodern style, though some elements of modernist style. With it's 12,000 square meters it is one of the largest government headquarters buildings in the world. Access for the general public is possible on particular days - one weekend per year - usually in August.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin is Germany's national centre for contemporary non-European art. It presents art exhibitions, theater and dance performances, concerts, author readings, films and academic conferences on non-European Visual Art and culture. It is one of the few institutions which, due to their national and international standing and the quality of their work, receive funding from the federal government.
The building is located in the Tiergarten park and a direct neighbour of the new German Chancellery. It was formerly known as the Kongresshalle conference hall, designed in 1957 by the American architect Hugh Stubbins Jr. as a part of the Interbau exhibition. The hall has been rebuilt in its original style and reopened in 1987 at the 750 years jubilee of Berlin.
The Berliner Philharmonie
The Berliner Philharmonie is a concert hall in Berlin, Germany. Home to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the building is acclaimed for both its acoustics and its architecture.
The Philharmonie lies on the south edge of the city's Tiergarten and just west of the former Berlin Wall, an area that for decades suffered from isolation and drabness but that today offers ideal centrality, greenness, and accessibility. Its cross street and postal address is Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße, named for the orchestra's longest-serving principal conductor. The neighborhood, often dubbed the Kulturforum, can be reached on foot from the Potsdamer Platz station.
Actually a two-venue facility with connecting lobby, the Philharmonie comprises a Großer Saal of 2,440 seats for orchestral concerts and a chamber-music hall. In the years 1960-1963 the Philharmonie was built by the architect Hans Scharoun. Because of the good acoustics the interior design was copied in many later concert halls.
Following German reunification on October 3, 1990 the Bundestag - German Federal Parliament - decided to make the Reichstag the seat of Parliament in Berlin, the restored capital of reunited Germany. The Reichstag building was completed in 1894 following German national unity and the establishment of the German Reich in 1871. Under the attentive eye of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Paul Wallot’s Reichstag competition winner of 1882 was a synthesis of High Renaissance and classical motifs such as the façade of columned porticos.
It already included a modern glass and steel dome. The building’s grandeur was accentuated by an imposing projecting columned entrance supporting a triangular gable and a wide flight of steps that must be climbed to reach the main entrance portal.