Historic Sights in Berlin
Bebelplatz- This square was designed to become the cultural center of Berlin, but those plans fell through. Today you will find St. Hedwig's Cathedral which was designed similar to the Pantheon in Rome. In the center of the square is a memorial to the Nazi book burning campaign.
Brandenburg Gate (Tor)- This large gate was built as a triumphal arch for King Friedrich Wilhelm II in the 18th Century. It was designed in the classical Greek style and is topped with a statue of the Goddess of Victory riding in a chariot. During the cold war period the gate was incorporated into the Wall, a no man's zone. Since the fall of the wall it has been restored and is now the meeting point for national celebrations such as New Years' Eve.
Gendarmenmarkt- This is considered the most beautiful square in Berlin. On the square are the Konzerthaus (Concert Hall) and the French and German Cathedrals. These 3 buildings together create a beautiful harmonious architectural balance.
Nikolai Quarter (Nikolaiviertel)- This is the oldest part of Berlin, dating back to the 13th century. You will find tiny cobblestone streets, small shops and cafés, typical German cuisine and souvenirs and the city's oldest church, St. Nicholas Church. If you find yourself in Berlin and wonder what happened to old world Germany, go to Nikolai Quarter. In summer months there are cruises on the Spree River that focus on this area. Also in the neighborhood is Ribbeckhaus, a Renaissance building dating back to 1624.
Reichstag Building (Bundestag)- This is the seat of the German Parliament. The original dome of the building was destroyed in a 1933 shortly after Adolf Hitler seized power. It was destroyed by a fire set to symbolize the death of the the parliamentary democracy in Germany. Since the fall of the wall, a glass dome designed by British architect Lord Norman Foster has been added. The public is welcome to go to the top of the building via elevator and then walk up the spiral platform to the top of the dome. Not only due you have wonderful views over Berlin, but you can also look down onto the government. In a twist of irony, the Parliament meets in the large room below you and you can literately look down on them. This sight is free but lines are long. An alternative is to dine in the roof top restaurant. While expensive, it allows you to skip the lines.
Stasi Headquarters- The former Stasi Headquarters.
Tiergarten- The Tiergarten is a large natural park in the center of the city, bounded be the Spree River. Within the park you will find the Victory Column, the Bellevue Palace (official presidential residence) and the Berlin Zoo (one of the oldest and largest in the world). Bordering the garden is also the Reichstag Building and the Brandenburg Gate.
Private Guides: See Berlin and learn about its history with a private guide. www.PrivateGuidesInEurope.com
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