Berlin - the hotspot of the twentieth century.
From the Third Reich, over the divided city and the cold war to the fall of the Berlin ... more »
Berlin - the hotspot of the twentieth century.
From the Third Reich, over the divided city and the cold war to the fall of the Berlin ... more »Wall and reunification of Germany. All in one city. Berlin is really rich of landmarks of the history and the traces of the different chapters are visible. Find the past and get an impression how Berlin starts the 21st century. The city offers the memorials for victims of the Third Reich, like the Holocaust Memorial and for the soldiers of the Red Army. And new steps for the development of the city and the capital of Germany are visible with the parliaments area and the spectacular Jewish Museum. All complemented with the classical sights of the 18th and 19th century, like the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag Building.
The Top 10 Highlights plus two waypoints you should not miss (Watchtower + Memorial to Peter Fechter) are ready to explore. less «
How to get there?
The starting point is almost next to the U Bahn Station: Bundestag. But also the central station (Hauptbahnhof) and... more » the Bus 100 with the stop: Platz der Republik are in walking distance. less «
The German Chancellery (German: Bundeskanzleramt) is the executive office of the Chancellor, the head of the government. The current Chancellor of Germany is Angela Merkel, who was elected in November 2005.
The building, opened in spring 2001, was designed by the Berlin architects Charlotte Frank and Axel Schultes in an essentially postmodern... More style. With 12,000 square meters (129,166 square feet), it is also one of the largest government headquarters buildings in the world. In the entry area you will see a sculpture by the basque artist Eduardo Chillida.
The Chancellery is a part of an ensemble of buildings which are built in one line, named The Ribbon of Government (Band des Bundes). On the opposite of the Chancellery you will find the Paul-Löbe Haus, followed by the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders. They host offices, conference rooms and the parliaments library. The two buildings are connected by a bridge crossing the river Spree. And in this case crossing the old border between East and West. It was going through the river.
In 1991 the german parliament voted for Berlin as seat of the parliament and the government of Germany. The moving from Bonn to Berlin was done in 1999. At that time the building here was not finished. For that reason, Gerhard Schröder, chancellor from 1998 - 2005 used temporarily the former GDR State Council building (Staatsratsgebäude) located next to Palace Square in East-Berlin.Less
The Reichstag was built to the plans of the architect Paul Wallot from 1884 to 1894 in the style of the Italian high renaissance. It served as seat of parliament in the Kaiserreich and the Weimarer Republic. A fire in 1933 destroyed the the plenary chamber. The circumstances are still unclear. Whether it was an accident or on purpose by National... More socialist to get the power. The last battle of WWII made the building to a ruin. In 1948, 300000 inhabitants of West-Berlin assembled in front of the Reichstag to demonstrate against the Berlin blockade by the Soviets. Ernst Reuter, the major of West-Berlin asked everybody around the world for help. After the reunification the parliament voted for Berlin and the Reichstag as new seat of the Bundestag. The artist Christo used the building in 1995 for an art project which is still well known around the world as Wrapped Reichstag. He packed the entire building in silver fabric. From 1995 to 1999 the building was rebuilt and renovated by the plans of the architect Norman Foster. Since, 1999 the Reichstag is the seat of the parliament of Germany.
The glas dome and the roof terrace is open to the public. Daily from 8 am to midnight, last entrance at 10pm.Less
The first Soviet war memorial in Berlin was erected in november 1945. It is located precisely at the point where Albert Speer (main architect of the Third Reich) planned the cross of two axes. The east-west axe you see here starts at the Brandenburg Gate and continues the other way behind the victory column. It is around 6,5 miles (10km) long. Due... More of the start of the WWII the north-south axe was not built.
The memorial shows an oversized soldier of the Red Army standing on a colonnade. The granite used is taken from the New Chancellery of A. Hitler. In front two Soviet tanks of the type T34. In the park behind around 2200 Soviet soldiers are buried who lost their lives during the battle of Berlin, especially the Reichstag.Less
The Brandenburg Gate - the representative entrance to the historical part of Berlin. A sandstone construction erected from 1788 - 1791 to the plans of the architect Carl Gotthard Langhans. Crowned in 1794 by the sculpture quadriga and the goddess of victory which were created by Johann Gottfried Shadow.
When the GDR set up the wall in 1961 the... More Brandenburg Gate was just a few meters behind. And then for 28 years in view from both sides but not reachable in the no mans land. 1987 the U.S. President Ronald Reagan announced a speech in front of the Gate addressing CPSU General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev: "Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"Less
1999 the German Bundestag passed a resolution to build a »Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe«. The Memorial consists of the field of 2711 stelae and the information centre underneath. It was built after the design of the architect Peter Eisenman and is open to the public since may, 2005.
The Memorial, is located where from 1961 to... More 1989 the 'death strip' behind the wall marked the border from the GDR. Before WWII the Reichs Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels had an office villa on the land and three years later a bunker.
The Field of Stelae is open to the public day and night. The Information Centre in the underground is open from April to September from 10 am to 8 pm. From October to March from 10 am to 7 pm. The Information Centre is closed on Mondays except statutory holidays.Less
There is just a hint to the location of the Führer Bunker. You will find an information board with a map of the ground floor of the bunker. It was here 12 meters below ground level, side walls and ceiling were 4 meters thick. The bunker was the last command centre of the Third Reich. 30rd of april, 1945 Adolf Hitler committed here suicide... More together with his wife Eva Braun.Less
With the establishment of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1949, a new political and economic system was set up. A start of a dictatorship with the result of a mass migration to the West. From 1949 to 1961 East Germany had lost a sixth of its population. To stop the migration the GDR decided to close the last loop hole of the border with... More the Berlin Wall.
The Berlin Wall enclosed West Berlin from August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989. It was supposed to prevent citizens of East Germany from fleeing to the West. The first version was set up in one day. It had a height of around two meters, on top covered with barbwire. Over the years they added a system of barriers in front, like a signal fence, a gap for cars, carpets of steel spikes, tank traps and another fence or a second wall. And at regular intervals of approximately 250 meters observation towers stood for the border troops to monitor the border area. This area of barriers is well known as death strip.
The Wall you see here is the latest version from the 70s which substituted earlier versions. The hight was raised to 3,50 meters (12-foot). Typical for the west side of the wall were the graffitis, here you see them on both sides. And pieces are missing, cause all kind of wall hunters came along to get a souvenir in the 90s.Less
Between 1933 and 1945, the central institutions of Nazi persecution and terror were located on the grounds of the present-day “Topography of Terror.” Since 1987, the permanent exhibition “Topography of Terror” has informed the public about this historic site. The new Documentation Center and the redesigned historic grounds are opened since May,... More 2010.
The focus of the exhibition is the central institutions of the SS and police in the “Third Reich” as well as the crimes they perpetrated throughout Europe. It is about the offender.
There are three exhibitions to see. Beside the documentation centre, with the Topography of Terror, you will see outside along traces of the cellar of the Prinz-Albrecht-Palais a permanent exhibition about Berlin between 1933-1945. The capital of the Third Reich between Propaganda and Terror. The third part is a walk across the ground of the find hints to the historic locations. 15 stations display information and remnants.
Open daily from 10 am to 8 pm. The admission is free.Less
The Checkpoint Charlie was between 1945 and 1989 the most well known checkpoint in Berlin. The checkpoint was one of three controlled by the USA. Named after the spell order C for Charlie. The checkpoint was in use for foreigners and diplomats, the allied forces and their relatives. Germans from West Germany and West Berlin used mainly the... More checkpoint at the railway station Friedrichstraße.
The atmosphere of the cold war was present as nowhere else. In 1961, tanks of the Soviets and the USA stood here face to face. The Checkpoint Charlie was one of the spots where several times people attempt to escape from the East.
Today it is a sightseeing attraction with copies of the checkpoint guard house, information board: "You are leaving the American Sector" and actors dressed as soldiers for a photo shooting.
In 1998 a sculpture by Frank Thiel was installed to mark the checkpoint. Two lightboxes with portraits of soldiers. From the viewpoint of the east side you see a soldier of the USA, from the west one of the Soviet Union.
Around the checkpoint you will see immediately a series of information boards which offer an overview of the history of the checkpoint and the cold war. The 'Museum of the Wall' at Checkpoint Charlie focuses on the documentation of the attempts to escape and the objects they used.Less
Peter Fechter became one of the first victims of the Berlin Wall. While trying to escape he got shot by the border guards of the GDR. It happened on august, 17th, 1962, in the neighborhood of the Checkpoint Charlie.
Together with his friend Helmut Kulbeik, he had the idea to jump out of a window of a building into the death-strip, run across it... More and climb over the wall. When both reached the wall, guards fired at them. Although Kulbeik succeeded in crossing the wall, Fechter, still on the wall, was shot in plain view of hundreds of witnesses. He fell back into the death-strip on the Eastern side, where he remained in view of Western onlookers, including journalists. Despite his screams, he received no medical assistance either from the East or the West side. He bled to death after about an hour.Less
The official name of the project is 'Jewish Museum' but I have named it 'Between the Lines' because for me it is about two lines of thinking, organization and relationship. One is a straight line, but broken into many fragments, the other is a tortuous line, but continuing indefinitely." (Daniel Libeskind, 1998)
The new building of the Jewish... More Museum is one the most reasonable highlights of architecture in Berlin and Germany of the 90s. A structure of lines, fragments, axes and voids offer a space for exhibitions and an experience of architecture. The first two years they opened the new building without any exhibition - just to explore the unique creation of architecture.
The Jewish Museum Berlin consists of two buildings. Next to the new one there is old, classical part. A building built in 1735 in a baroque style as a court of justice.
The Museums shows a historical permanent exhibition of German Jewish History and temporary exhibitions focussing on special aspects of jewish life, like for example, in the first half of 2010 »Heroes, Freaks, and Super-Rabbis: The Jewish Dimension of Comic Art«
Monday from 10 am to 10 pm
Tuesday-Sunday from 10 am to 8 pmLess