Berlin’s recent history has fortunately left a positive mark on the German capital; the city brims with optimism and welcomes tourists with open arms, the former East side has a burgeoning arts and club scene while the West is thriving with business.
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the cold war between the East and West can be remembered at Checkpoint Charlie, a former crossing point, and the Stasimuseum, which used to be the home of the Ministry for State Security. Offices where officials once sat as well as prisoner’s cells can be seen here.
The Brandenburg Gate, built in the 18th century, today symbolizes unity, a far cry from its past as a Nazi political symbol. The Reichstag is a stone’s throw away, home to the German government. Despite having been built in 1894 as a neoclassical palace it suffered many explosions and fires throughout the 20 century. British architect Norman Foster recently restored it, and it is now a popular tourist site.
West Berlin contains the Gedachtniskirche, a church which was badly damaged during a bomb raid in 1943. Today, its partly destroyed spire serves as a reminder of the terrible destruction caused by the Second World War.
In East Berlin you will find art spaces, quirky shops and cafes, friendly bars and nightclubs, some of the latter are even housed within former gas stations. There is also plenty for architecture fans: just beyond the Unter den Linden boulevard are the German Cathedral and French Cathedral on the very charming Gendarmenmarkt square.