For our third day in Berlin we got up early and attempted to tackle a long list of historical and cultural sites in the span of several hours. Mission accomplished. We started out taking the U-Bahn to Mohrenstarbe for Cafe Einstein – Unter Den Linden for breakfast and from there we didn’t look back until late afternoon.
We managed to see, and in some cases tour, the following:
1. Brandenburg Gate
2. Reichstag Building (We took a tour here. Free, just need to book ahead of time.)
The Reichstag is the German Parliament building which dates back to 1894. The building was destroyed by fire in a suspected arson which is still disputed to this day. The Nazi’s blamed the Communists but there is decent evidence that the fire was set by the Nazi’s which led directly to the passing of the Enabling Act of 1933. This law set Germany on a path to total dictatorship.
The current building repurposed the original shell of the former building and created the new glass dome to display the transparency of the German Republic.
The Memorial was constructed from the ruins of various German government buildings at the end of the war. The site sits on the graves of 2,000 Soviet soldiers.
4. Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe
One block south of the Brandenburg Gate is the German Holocaust Memorial (formerly the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe) which was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and opened to the public in 2005. The memorial was stark but there was very little information about what you were seeing/experiencing unless you knew what were looking at. I say this to mean that unless you were looking for it you would have come across a near city block directly across from the American Embassy that appears to be hundreds of slabs of stone with no description.
From the Wikipedia:
According to Eisenman’s project text, the stelae are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason.
5. Finance Ministry – Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus (Formerly the German Ministry of Aviation during the war).
This building contained the German Avaiation industry as well as the German Air Force during the War. It was also the largest office building in Europe for several years.
Goerg Elser was a German worker who planned and carried out an elaborate assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi leaders in November 1939. Elser built a time bomb behind a podium over a serious of nights that was the scene of a speech by Hitler. The bomb nearly missed as Hitler cut his speech short by 10 minutes. Elser was later arrested and held in a concentration camp as a special prisoner throughout the war and was murdered along with others whom had plotted against the regime at the end of the war.
7. Berlin Wall
9. U-Bahn to Museum Island
10. Humboldt University
10a. Berliner Dom/Berlin Cathedral.
As Julie said, beautiful architecture.
We took the tram to out to Friedrichshain in the far reaches of East Berlin to checkout Hops & Barley on a recommendation.
It was worth the hike. The IPA and Stout were solid.
15. S-Bahn back to the hotel.
For many more pictures and close-ups of a lot of the architecture, click here.