Berlin is the capital and the largest city of Germany.
Berlin is home to many famous buildings and monuments, like the Siegessäule, the Brandenburger Tor, the Reichstag and the boulevard Unter den Linden. On the boulevard are the Humboldt University and the State Opera of Berlin.
In 1933, the darkest chapters in Berlin’s history had begun. Adolf Hitler seized power, becoming German Chancellor. Soon after this, he initiated a programme of persecution against communists, political opponents, Jews and many others. On September 1st 1939, Hitler attacked Poland and began the Second World War. At this time, Berlin had a population of almost 4.5 million. Hitler’s advance was stopped by the Russian Army at Moscow and Stalingrad, and in 1943 the Allied forces began to bomb Berlin, destroying at least a third of the city’s historic buildings and living-space. Berlin capitulated on May 8th 1945, followed by Germany’s capitulation on th 9th. Germany had lost the Second World War and the aftermath was overwhelming. Berlin lay in ruins and its population had almost halved. The victorious Allied powers divided the city into four sectors, each under control by one of the powers.
From 1961, Berlin was divided in 2 parts, East Berlin and West Berlin, separated by a great stone wall, Berlin Wall. This wall made the travel between East Germany and West Germany impossible until late 1989. On the night of November 9th 1989, the Berlin Wall was unexpectedly opened and both Berlin and the rest of Germany began celebrating.
Architecture of Berlin:
The Fernsehturm (TV tower), at Alexanderplatz in Mitte, is among the tallest structures in the European Union at 368 meters (1,207 ft).
The Brandenburg Gate is an iconic landmark of Berlin and Germany which appears on Germany’s euro coins (10-cent, 20-cent and 50-cent). The Reichstag building is the traditional seat of the German Parliament, which was renovated during the 1950s after severe World War II damage. The building was again remodeled by British architect Norman Foster during the 1990s and features a glass dome over the session area, which allows free public access to parliamentary proceedings and a view of the city.
Berlin’s Museum Island is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites and home to the city’s most important exhibition centres: the Altes Museum (Old Museum), the Neues Museum (New Museum) the Bode Museum, the Pergamon Museum and the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery). The collections in these buildings encompass over 6,000 years of art and cultural history.
The German Cathedral (Berliner Dom) with its magnificent dome is a remarkable example the of late 19th century architecture.
The Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial) is located between the districts of Wedding and Mitte on Bernauer Straße, consisting of the Memorial to the Victims of the Wall, a Documentation Centre and the Chapel of Reconciliation. The surviving section of the wall and watchtower enable visitors to get a real feel for the reality of the border facilities. The Memorial has been undergoing extension work in recent years, the full completion of which is intended for 2014.