Berlin, Germany's most visited metropolis, is steeped in history. She seduces you as much by its monuments and museums as its contagious energy. And why not start with a historical discovery of the German capital?
Almost 30 years after its fall, the wall that split the city in half between 1961 and 1989 is still as fascinating as ever. Even if the impassable 43 km barrier has been almost completely demolished! The most important vestiges are along Mülhen Strasse. 120 artists have "decorated" this 1.3 km section, renamed "East Side Gallery". A visual shock!
Museums and memorials throughout the city also bear witness to the Cold War. Checkpoint Charlie's guardhouse, the most famous of the crossing points between the two parts of Berlin, has been restored, complete with fake soldiers on duty! Like a wound healed, the monumental Brandenburg gate capped by its chariot and horses has regained its splendour... From there, glittering monuments line Unter den Linden, the "Champs Elysées of Berlin". From churches to baroque or neoclassical buildings, the avenue leads to the cathedral with its monumental dome and further on to Alexander Platz, once the shop window of the former East Germany. At its heart, your eyes are irresistibly drawn by the sixties look of the television tower (368 meters) capped by a giant ball... From up there, Berlin is laid out before you, eight times bigger than Paris!
With territory like that, the constructors have had a field day! On the Kurfürstendamm, a long shopping street in West Berlin, the "Hollow Tooth" serves as a beacon. This bell tower, which was gutted during the war (but preserved in that condition) is flanked by a modern tower. The alliance between contemporary architecture and history continued with the Herculean work that followed Berlin's reunification. From Pei to Jean Nouvel, the most famous architects have constructed bold buildings on the no-man's-land inherited from the wall. By covering the Reichtag (Parliament) with a transparent dome, Norman Forster (architect of the Millau viaduct) gave lightness to this heavy neo-baroque building. Further on, Postdamer Platz is now a shopping centre protected by a gigantic glass tent. The same audacity can be seen in the embassy district bordering Tiergarten park. Walking around it is a bit like visiting a world exhibition!
For its part, the former East Berlin serves as a laboratory for fanciful creators. First there was the Hackescher Markt district in the 90s, whose atmosphere is somewhere between the Latin Quarter and the Marais in Paris. The renovated neo-Renaissance buildings house trendy art galleries, showrooms and bars. Chased out by luxury shops, the artists pushed further, towards Prenzlauer Berg. This popular neighbourhood with its shady avenues has forged a new soul as its buildings have been newly rendered. The Schultheiss brewery, which has been restored to a cultural complex and organic restaurants, is now in great demand. Too Bourgeois Bohemian? Go to Kreuzberg, home of the hippie scene in the 1970s. Its offbeat atmosphere attracts night owls. While on the other side of the Spree River, partygoers flock to Friedrichshain's "underground" district, with its industrial wastelands converted into techno clubs...
- Berlin Wall
- The German Parliament: Reichstag
- Potsdamer Platz and the Kulturforum
- Brandenburg Gate and Unter den Linden
- Museum Island
- Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart
- The Jewish Museum
- East Side Gallery
- Sanssouci palace and grounds (Potsdam)
- February: Film Festival
- April: International games week
- May: Carnival of Cultures
- August: Long Night of Museums
- September: Berlin Marathon
- October: Festival of lights
- December: New Year's Eve
Underground passages: The Berliner Underworlds Association has been excavating Berlin's underground passages since 1997 and making them accessible to the general public. Bunkers, tunnels, canals, disused underground stations... So many places where you can discover the history of Berlin and this particular chapter of the city. Reservation required!
Immerse yourself in GDR history: The Stasi Museum reveals the methods used by the East German secret services from 1957 to 1989. An intriguing and exciting visit!
Visit a former airport: Tempelhof airport has been closed since 2008 but remains open to the public! Skaters, cyclists and kite enthusiasts enjoy a 386-hectare playground on the runways. The buildings, relics of the Third Reich, give off a unique atmosphere!
Spreepark, the abandoned amusement park: Since 2002, Spreepark is an abandoned amusement park. Dating from 1967, it once welcomed 1.7 million visitors. Today, the ferris wheel and the empty trains offer you a mysterious and scary experience...
- Pellkartoffel: Prussian potatoes
- Eisbein mit Erbspüree und Sauerkraut: Pork shank with pea purée and sauerkraut.
- Schlachtplatte: black pudding and liver sausage, pork meat and trotters.
- Kasseler Rippenspeer: smoked pork chops.
- Hering in Dillsauce: herring with dill
- Aal grün: fresh eel
- Rinderbrust auf Berliner Art: Berlin style beef brisket
- Hackepeter: Pork tartare
- Rollmops: Marinated herring fillet
- Teltower Rübchen: Teltow turnips
- Berliner Weiße: white beer brewed from wheat
- Hefe: light yeast beer
- Kneipen: Berlin coffee
- Käsekuchen: cottage cheese cake
- Rote Grütze: Red fruit compote topped with vanilla cream
- Pfannkuchen: Jam fritters