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#About the City of Berlin

There's no place like Berlin to show the change Germany has undergone since the days of the Nazis and World War II. Here the Germans tried even earlier to establish a democracy in the Weimar Republic, but the country fell into economic crises that completely crumbled democracy. Here Dada was born, the German expressionism in cinema, the cabaret, the "Bauhaus", the important school of design and architecture, and more.

Later the Nazi demons took control of Berlin, and from there tried to take over the world. Here the Nazis were finally defeated by the Allies, and the city was divided into two, the "Berlin Wall" was built, and what Winston Churchill called the "Iron Curtain" between East and West descended on Europe.

Here German reunited at the end of the 1980's, and on both sides Berlin, from East and West, a new Germany was being built, a European leader, a new nation with new values. This is the Germany who's leadership is an example for the rest of the world on how to assist refugees, even when the political price is a heavy one.

Berlin of today is vibrant and young, and might be the most cosmopolitan city in the world, tolerant, vibrant, and attractive city in Europe. A city that attracts beautiful and talented young people like a magnet from all over the world.

As soon as you land at the airport, buy a weekly AB ticket, 30 euros for all public-transport. Berlin's public transport is excellent and you will not need anything else.

#Must See
Want to see the most popular destinations? - Click on the tag "Must see in Berlin".

#With children
A trip for the whole family? - Click on the tag "Attractions for Children in Berlin".

Looking to eat well? Click on the tag "Must Eat in Berlin"

In most European countries service fees are already included in the check, so it is customary to give a 2 euro tip, regardless of the price of the check itself.

Start club the legendary club Knaak on 224 Greifswalder Strasse. It is known all over the world, open every day, partiers and night owls come here from all over the world. Berghain is so one of the world's techno temples, and if you will manage to get inside, will you feel blessed.

At the Berghain Club, which is located in an old power station and its parties continue past the sunrise, several floors and several dance floors are open to everyone. There is no discrimination of race, gender, or sexual preferences, and it has become known throughout the world in its permissive atmosphere.

The Matrix Club is also excellent, with two different music rooms that plays different music, there is an excellent atmosphere.

#Germany Country Code

For public transportation - buy a weekly free pass ticket, or a ticket for the number of days in the city, savings are huge.
Supermarket - Aldi and Rossmann chains are cheap and very available. The first is very economical but offers mainly basic products, the second is more expensive but offers everything.
Regular bus - a great way to get to know Berlin. Take our app and whenever you refresh it, the app will recognize what is nearby, and let you listen to explanations.
Discounts in all kinds of places - bring a student card.

If Primark at Alexanderplatz teased you, and you are looking for more, visit the Mall Of Berlin - a stunning shopping mall with a stunning shopping experience and even a map in Hebrew.

The Alcasa Mall with its great stores and excellent prices and the impressive Sony Center, especially in the evening, are worth gold.

Click on the tag "Shopping in Berlin" for other excellent recommendations.

#Electric Outlets
Possible plugs to use are Type C, Type E, and Type L (see link below with photos).

A taste of the upcoming trip? - Here's a video that will show you the city in all its beauty:


And a Little History - Modern Berlin, and Berlin of World War II:


Some of the Local street food:

Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburg Gate
#About the Iconic Berlin Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate, or Brandenburger Tor, has already known 800 historic years of fame, and has become one of the most important symbols for Germany and Berlin in particular. The Gate is located at Paris Square, not far from the Reichstag Gate, and is the last gate left from a series of gates that were used as entry ways into the city. This gate also stands in the spot where the Berlin Wall once divided East and West Berlin.

The gate is styled after the Propylaea style (a monumental gate building that was used as the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece). Just like the use of Propylaea to lead into the temple of the ancient world, is the same use of the Brandenburg Gate to lead into the most important city of the Kingdom of Prussia. Talking about architecture, the gate completely announced the entrance into the classical Berlin architecture age.

The gate was built between 1788 – 1791. Its height is 15 meters tall, 65.6 meters wide and 11 meters longs. It contains 12 columns each 15 meters tall, with a meter and a half diameter. Through here are five separate passageways, though only two were originally opened. Today the gate is for pedestrian use only.

The gate and fence symbolize freedom and unification, and today it is one of the most important locations in the city.

#About the History of the Brandenburg Gate

The gate was especially ordered by Frederick Wilhelm II, who was the King of Prussia and his mission was to symbolize peace. You can see his portrait on the German Euro coins.

In 1806, after the conquering of Berlin, Napoleon walked through the gate into Berlin and took with him the status above the gate, Quadriga
as a war prize. Napoleon transferred the statues to Paris.

In 1914 the war celebrations were celebrated around this gate.

In 1933 the Nazi’s walked through the gate in a march that symbolized the beginning of the darkest time in the history of Germany, what would lead to the destruction of the city and its division.

With the end of World War II the gate was badly damaged by bombings.

In 1987 the President of the United States Reagan visited Berlin, and gave a speech in front of the gate where he called the President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, “if you are a man of peace, take down this wall.” After a wave of applause, in 1989 the Berlin Wall fell, and the gate became a symbol for the reunited Berlin. At the same time the gate also became a main location for different celebrations: New Year’s Eve, the Berlin Marathon, street markets and the Pride and Love Parade.

Between the years 200 and 2002 the gate went through extensive renovations, to the price of about 3 million dollars.

After the war the gate became a part of the wall dividing East and West Berlin, and also symbolized the city’s division.

In 2017, the gate was lite up by the pictures of the Israeli flags, to pay respect for the terror attack that had happened in Jerusalem the day before.

#What Do You See in the Statue Above the Gate?

The statues that is above the Brandenburg gate the Quadriga , is a horse carriage lead by four horses. On the carriage is the figure of the goddess of victory (Victoria), carrying an olive branch and riding to bring peace into the city. At the base of the statue you can see symbols of war and of the renovations that came after. The carriage was used in the ancient Olympic games in Greece and in carriage races in ancient Rome.

In 1806, after the conquering of Berlin, the statues was stolen by Napoleon and taken to Paris. It was returned to its rightful place only 8 years later, in 1814, with the olive branch having been replaced by a cross. This was also the reason for the difference in the status’s symbol – from a bringer of peace to a goddess of victory.

#A Closer Look:

#About Prussian Versaille, the House of the KGB’s Officers and the City of Riches

If you want to head out of Berlin for a few hours and visit a classic German city in its full glory,, go for a short visit in Potsdam. The capital of the Brandenburg State and the state’s largest city.

Castles, palaces, and spotless parks of this magical city, with alleyways, are a part of the magnificent view of the ancient city, where the king and his family preferred to reside, for its closeness to the capital and its vast beauty.

The German city Potsdam sits on the banks of the Havel River, about 26 kilometers South-West of the German capital Berlin. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, lived here officers of the Russian KGB, who would go around East Berlin. Today, it is a city for vacations and for German royals and is famous as one of the hub spots for the movie industry in Europe.

Only a half hour ride from the center of Berlin to Potsdam in a Train. This city is wide, and has many interesting points to visit. It contains a series of lakes that are all connected.

If you have some time, take a look at the Sanssouci Palace, the palace that Frederick II built and preferred to enjoy his time. Notice the internal decorations of the castle, in the Rococo style, and the fact that today it is acknowledged as a world heritage site.

Extravagant parks are also at Sanssouci Palace, remaining from the royal times. It contains fountains, status and many pieces of art for all to admire.

Also worth looking at is the Einstein building, an observatory place that was built in accordance with the famous Albert Einstein and one of the greatest German architects, Erich Mendelsohn.

#A Closer Look:

Schloss Charlottenburg
Schloss Charlottenburg
#About the Big Palace in Berlin

One of the most important Baroque buildings to survive in Berlin is also the biggest palace among 9 palaces in Berlin, the Palace of Charlottenburg. In its past Berlin was once the capital of the Prussia Empire. The palace is actually one of the most incredible remains of that time.

It was built between 1695 and 1699. Prince Frederick III gave the order to build it for his wife Sophie Charlotte. Following the death of the queen in 1705 the king decided to name the palace after her, Charlottenburg. In the following years it became the king’s summer housing.

In 1740, King Frederick II ascended the throne and lived in the palace for some time.

In 1952, a monument by Andreas Schlöter was placed, where the prince is riding his horse in the garden entrance to the palace.

Today visitors can view the permanent exhibit for Baroque furniture, ceramics, and other displays about the lifestyle of Prussia in the 17th and 18th centuries.

#The Palace’s History

The amazing palace was built between 1695-1699. Though the design was created by the court architect Johann Arnold Nering, the actual building was overlooked by Martin Grunberg after Nering’s death.

The palace has managed to maintain its ancient vibes, however throughout the years many architects have made changes to it.

Between the years 1702-1713 a Swedish architect Eusander von Gette. He added a building, a chapel and a greenhouse for oranges. In 1711 a status was erected for the the goddess of fortune, Portuna, on the central roof.

In 1740, during the stay in the palace of Frederick II, the royal architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff added the ‘new wing,’ continuing the main building from its eastern side.

In the year 1790 an addition was made to the "orange greenhouses" - the "Little Oranges" and in the years that followed a theater was also added, a Belvedere in the Palace Park, a Mausoleum and the Beit Sheinkel.

In World War II the palace was destroyed. Restoration and reconstruction of the rooms were based on photographs taken before the war.

#About the Palace Gardens

In the 17th century, a long time before the outbreak of the war, Simone Gudu planned the palace gardens in the formal French style. He was greatly influenced by the French architect Andre La Notre. In 1788 the tea house was added to the garden. In 1810 the mausoleum was built for Queen Louise, and in 1825 the Neapolitan villa was built.

During the air raids of World War II, and during the Battle over Berlin, the palace gardens were almost completely burned.

The palace gardens were only partially reconstructed. Those who were restored remained in the formal French style, as they were in the 17th century, and the parts that were far from the palace were restored, but in English style. Today the palace gardens are used by the residents and the entrance to them is free.


Entrance to the gardens is free.

#A Closer Look:



#About the Shopping Street in Berlin

Kudamm, or Kurfürstendamm Boulevard, is a best boulevard of all the ones Berlin has to offer for shopping and pampering. It is a long avenue, a sort of paradise for shopping enthusiasts, especially for those who are extremely wealthy.

The ones without the large bank accounts can pass hours window shopping, looking through the detailed and unique shop windows, sit for a cup of coffee or a meal at one of the many restaurants and cafes along the boulevard.

The street has memorials for World War II, for example at the Kaiser Wilhelm Church, that was bombed and destroyed, and its exterior left bare without renovations, as a silent testimony for what happened during those dark days.

Tourists can also see an old department store Kaufhaus des Westens (referred to as the Kadewe for abbreviation), which was confiscated from a wealthy Jewish owner by the Nazis.

#A Closer Look:

Wilmersdorfer Eisstadion
Wilmersdorfer Eisstadion
#About Berlin's Frozen Stadium

Berlin's Ice Stadium is a perfect attraction for the snowy days of the year. Beyond the main stadium, which is actually a huge skating rink, there are three large playgrounds, an awesome tennis court, a sports hall and more. The stadium can sit up to 4,000 people

#A Closer Look:


#Another Look:

Kaiser Wilhelm Gedchtniskirche
Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche
#About the church the Kaiser Built

The Protestant Church was first built in the 1890’s. The Kaiser Wilhelm II built the church in memory of his grandfather, and made sure to inaugurate the building on his grandfather’s birthday – September 1, 1895. He was the one who chose the location for the church, and started a competition for the design of the building, which the architect Franz Schwechten won, and who later became the Royal Architect and a member of the Academy for Construction. Beyond the neo-Romanesque design, Schwechten also wanted to create a mosaic wall the size of 2,740 square meters that displayed the life of the Kaiser.

This church was very important to the Kaiser, and he took a very serious and prominent role in designing and building the church. That being said, the Kaiser’s family did not make any donations of any kind towards the building of the church, whose price reached about 6.8 million marks. Around the church other buildings were built in the same neo-Romanesque style, and the entire neighborhood received the nickname ‘the Roman Forum.’

The church walls are scattered with blue windows. On Saturdays at 6 pm a concert is performed by organ.

#The Church During the War

Due to the heavy bombings during World War II, the church was badly damaged. During an air raid by the royal air force on the 23rd of November, the roof over the center of the church collapsed, along with the top most part of the building. Many parts of the church were destroyed, and the only part that remained was a part of the bell tower (whose height is 68 meters).

Despite the Nazi leadership’s promised to the citizens of Berlin to repair and improve the church into a more big and beautiful structure at the end of the war, the plans were never executed. The reason was the tough financial times that Germany went into, and perhaps because of fear that new national pride might rise up with the renovation of the building. Only in 1956 were the church ruins removed, all except the partial bell tower that was left as a memorial for the war.

The church was built again between the years of 1959 – 1963, in the neo- Romanesque style. Alongside the church and its original turret, a new church was built with a bell tower that was inaugurated in 1961. The combination of their shapes got them the nickname ‘The Cover Up’ and ‘the Lipstick.’ Be sure not to miss the damaged bell tower, which only has a part left standing, kept since the war, and the ground floor that has become a sort of memorial hall. Because of its appearance, Berlin locals refer to the turret as ‘The Broken Tooth.’

#A Closer Look:

Gedenksttte Berliner Mauer
Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer
#About the Death Belt Around the Berlin Wall

In the Bernauer Street in North Berlin, there is the the official memorial site for the Berlin Wall (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer). Here you can see a section of the original Berlin Wall, along the length of the historic "Death belt" section, the area where East German soldiers guarded, equipped with watchtowers and lighting equipment, shooting anyone trying to move towards to West Berlin for freedom. From a nearby watchtower, you can watch the death belt. There is also a documentation center for the history of the wall and along the street are explanatory signs displayed in a kind of open museum, which deals with the Berlin Wall and the escapes from it, and displays with arrows the escape tunnels dug underneath.

#About the Wall that Divided Europe and the Whole World

The Berlin Wall was a very long fence, about 155 kilometers long, that served as a buffer between West Germany and East Germany in the period after the end of World War II. East Germany was a communist state, which was ruled after the war by the Soviet Union and did not allow its inhabitants free movement to Western Berlin and the rest of the free world.

From the famous wall that surrounded the city of Berlin and divided it, only a few fragments remain, which are evidence of the period in which it divided the two areas, the eastern and the western parts of the city.

Throughout Berlin you can follow the outline of the Berlin Wall with a brick track that runs across the city and marks the places where it once passed.

#About the History of the Construction of the Berlin Wall

It all began in August 1961, when the Russians, who then ruled East Germany and East Berlin, began to build a barrier between the part controlled by them and the one controlled by the West. Thus Berlin was divided into two parts: East Berlin and Western Berlin.

Initially the Berlin Wall was only a fence, but soon the forces of East Germany began to replace it with a wall. Many watchtowers were erected along the wall and eight border crossings were set up, which did not allow the residents of East Germany to move to the west.

Thus the Berlin Wall was built, which was about 155 kilometers long. It divided the city between east and west and became the unofficial symbol of the Cold War. Its presence created a split among the city's residents and many tried to escape over the years. Most of these escape attempts ended with death.

In 1989, about 28 years after its establishment, the wall was toppled, and Germany was reunited into one state.

To this day, small sections of the wall remain, as evidence of the folly of its construction, and the route of the wall is marked all through Berlin, with metal plates posted throughout the city, with the German inscription "Berliner Mauer.”

#How was the Berlin Wall Taken Down?

The 1980's were marked by years of crisis among the Warsaw Pact countries, the Soviet-controlled states. It all began with the economic crisis itself. When the pact countries weakened they were opened freely, under the policy of its leader, Gorbachev, the Communist-inspired regimes in Eastern Europe collapsed. One of them was the communist regime of East Germany.

The toppling of the Berlin Wall on November 9th, 1989, about 28 years after its establishment, marked the fall of the Communist regime in East Germany and was the signal for the reunification of divided Germany. It was also one of the most significant symbols for the collapse of the Communist bloc, and the victory of the West in the so-called Cold War.

At the same time period, the German reunification brought about the fall of the wall caused considerable concern for the future. In particular, the world worried about a situation in which Germany might again become a superpower that would threaten the free world. In the meantime, Germany has become one of the leaders of the free and democratic world, and learned from the lessons of the past all too well.

#A Closer Look:


#About the Largest Department Store in Europe

The Ka-De-We Department Store has real consumer power. This is the largest and most prestigious department store in Europe. Even if shopping is not your favorite pastime, you should visit it. Between 40,000 and 50,000 customers visit here on any given day and nearly 400,000 products are sold here daily.

Ka-de-Wa is short for "Kaufhaus des West" in German: “The Western Department Store."
The department was founded in 1905 by Jewish businessman Alfred Jendorf, inspired by the department stores that were then in the United States. He combined a large number of specialized shops under one roof. It was very luxurious and innovative for those times, so much so that the people of Berlin flocked to it like doves. The entire street where it was built became a commercial street and many businesses gathered around it. There were rare technological innovations in Berlin of those times, such as the fact that the whole building was lit with electricity and had no less than 20 elevators.

Over the next few years, the department changed hands until 1933, when the Nazis came to power and nationalized it. At the request of the Nazi regime and the banks' threats, the Jewish owners, the Titts family, were ‘persuaded’ to transfer control of the company to a businessman of Aryan origin. Thus, for 50,000 marks, the house was bought by businessman Georg Karag from the state.
During World War II, an American bomb crashed into the building. Only in the 1950’s was the building rebuilt and the store reopened. Berliners saw this as a sign of a return to normalcy, since the end of the war.


Be sure to do up to the dining floor in the upper levels, on the sixth and seventh floors of the department store. There is a huge food area here and a cafeteria and restaurant. The food is amazing and the quality is great. Try to sit in a place by the window towards West Berlin.

#A Closer Look:

#About the Park that is Located on the Borders of East and West Berlin

Mauer Park (Mauerpark), in German meaning the ‘Park of the Wall,’ is a park in Berlin. The origin of its name is from the Berlin Wall that was built here in 1961 and created the border in Berlin, between the West and East sides. A part of the wall passed here and was considered ‘no-man’s-land,’ anyone trying to escape across the border towards the West side and its freedom,
was shot and killed.

As the years pass, Mauer Park gained popularity by locals, and it attracts among the rest artists, musicians, and the homeless. The park, being one of the more popular destinations among the young locals, especially those from neighborhoods such as Prenzlauer Berg, attracts athletes, and
circus jugglers, who come here for the semi-spontaneous summer nightlife, and for the Walpurgis Night celebrations, on April 30th every year.

Since 2004 a flea market has been going on right near the park. The park still contains about 30 meters of the Berlin Wall, which is used as a memorial for the time when the wall used to divide the city. It has become common for Graffiti artists to paint graffiti on the Wall, and repaint new artwork all the time.

However, the park’s biggest attraction, at least musical attraction, is the karaoke that goes on here. It all started as an unofficial karaoke show on February 2009. Since then, it has evolved into weekly Sunday afternoons performances, when the weather permits, the Bearpit karaoke show in the amphitheater. The show has long become an event that thousands come to, and get to listen to either new and exciting performanced and voice, or out of tune singers who are not self aware of their voices.

In the 19th century and into the first half of the 20th century, the park was used as the location for the old North train station. Following the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, this station was closed once and for all.

#A Closer Look:


#The Karaoke:


#And the Street Artists:

#About the Museum of Classical Art in Berlin

If you are an avid art enthusiast, then Gemaldegalerie is one of the most important painting Galleries for European art between the 13th century and the 18th century. This is one of the national museums of Berlin and is located in the Museum complex ‘Kulturforum,’ across from the largest concert hall in
the city.

The museum’s collection was started in the 19th century by experts, and it correctly depicts almost accurately the political events of Europe in the last 200 years. World War II left its mark on the collection. The collection was substantially hurt by fires or theft. After the reunification of Berlin, the
gathering of the collection again begun, and the museum was only inaugurated in 1998.

If you were wondering which pieces of art you will be able to see there, there are painters such as Vermeer, Botticelli, Raphael and Titian. And these names are only a small portion of the whole collection. A collection of Rembrandt paintings is also a part of the collection, and it is the second largest in its size.

#A Closer Look at the Museum:

Soviet War Memorial Tiergarten
#About the Soviet Monument Erected After Their Victory

In Park Tiergarten at the center of Berlin, in 1945, a Soviet monument was erected, shortly after the Russian army takeover of Berlin. This is not the only monument that was built to remember the 80,000 Soviet soldiers that died in the battle over Berlin during April and May of 1945. But it is the most impressive of them all.

Photos from that time show the monument surrounded by open space. Following the bombings over Berlin, many of the park’s trees were burnt. The rest of the trees were cut down and burned for heating in the final months of the war.

An interesting fact – during the Cold War, the Soviet soldiers were permitted to maintain an honor guard at the monument, event though the monument was located in British held territory. Soviet soldiers were even permitted to cross over onto the British territory to the monument and pay their respects to the fallen soldiers.

The architect Mikhail Gurevich is the designer of the monument, and nearby are sculptures by artists Vladimir Chigal and Lev Karbel.

#A Closer Look at the Museum:

Denkmal Für Die Ermordeten Juden Europas
#About the Memorial in Memory of the Many Jewish People Murdered by the Nazis

The Holocaust Memorial, was built exactly where the office of the Nazi oppressor Hitler was once located. The monument is the main memorial in German for the commemoration of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and for the crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis.

The monument purposefully reminds us of a massive grave site, a sort of huge collection of graves and dark headstones, all different sizes, as if its designers wanted to say that everyone was murdered – men, women, and children.

The location of the memorial site, right at the center of Belin and near the Reichstag Gate, makes sure that no one can ignore it. Many people are not aware that under the memorial is an information center underground dedicated to conserving the Holocaust victims, with a multimedia presentation about the subject.

The designer of the Holocaust Memorial, who’s office name is “The Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe,” and spans over 19,000 square meters, is the Jewish American architect Peter Eisenman. He designed it as a field,, with 2,711 horizontal headstones, an older style of headstones, in columns and rows, creating mazes between the space, where one can stay and contemplate. Eisenman refused to explain the odd number of headstones, and said the number had no meaning.

# About the Scandal Around the Holocaust Memorial

Before the memorial site was finished being built, a few scandals arose regarding it. This started criticism for its simple design, others complained about the absurd amount of space it would take up, some said that children run around and play at the site like a park, and there were groups who complained that the memorial needs to be in the memory of other groups also murdered by the Nazis.

But the most embarrassing moment brought up was that that the company for the coating of the pillars, Degusa, was found to have helda subsidiary company during World War II that produced that same Zyklon B type gas, used for the mass murders of Jews. The executives of this company were even tried for their part in the war.

#A Closer Look:

Legoland Discovery Centre
#About Berlin’s Lego Kingdom

Who among us doesn’t love the playful pieces of Lego? It speaks to everyone in the same language – kids and adults alike. Children’s creativity will stand the test here, and adults will find themselves returning to their childhood days.

Legoland, the Lego Company’s center, is located at the Sony Center, and it includes a long list of activities. It is perfect for a trip with the kids, and of course most relevant during chilly days. At Legoland you will find activity booths, different rides that will put you face to face with different shapes and figures built with Legos.

At Legoland are a few interesting attractions: a small roller roaster, Miniland – where famous sites and buildings are built here, Gymboree for smaller children, a 4D movie theater, and a pink princess area. Don’t forget to see the huge giraffe made of Legos at the entrance.

If you want to take advantage of the opportunity and fill up on your Lego supply, this would be the perfect time. Here you can buy Legos in all shapes, colors and sizes.

#A Closer Look:

Sony Center
# About the Futuristic and Tourist Shopping Attraction

The Sony Center, the huge glass and steel building at Potsdam square, is a futuristic tourist attraction for shopping. A few thousand tons of steel and glass were installed here (some of the glass panels are actually electric solar panels). The glass and steel, who shine bright during the day, make this building quite remarkable. During the evening hours the building is lit up with many different color lights.

The building is built on 132,500 square meters and contains a huge amount of stores and offices, a hotel and conference center, movie theater and an impressive film history museum.

The building was designed by architect Helmut Jahn in 2002, and was built for the price of 750 million Euros, and it is not difficult to imagine which company it was built for…Sony of course. In 2008 the center was sold for 600 million Euros to investors.

Before World War II the last of the square was a trading area full of people and cars. With the bombings over Berlin, almost the entire area was destroyed. Because of its proximity to the Berlin Wall, the square was abandoned, and only after the Berlin Wall was taken down was the square reopened.

By the way, you kids would be really thankful if you would take them to the Legoland Discovery Center.

#A Closer Look:

Potsdamer Platz
#About Berlin’s Main Square – Where Everything Started

Potsdamer Platz, or Potsdamer Square, is a lively central city square. It may be the busiest intersection in all of Berlin. The square is located about a kilometer south of the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, adjacent to the South-East corner of the public Park Tiergarten.

The square contains buildings constructed by some of the most famous architects, and are some of the most impressive buildings in Berlin. Notice the building with the big futuristic looking dome. This is the Sony Center, which is a heaven for modern architecture enthusiasts.

Beyond the shape and aesthetic of the new and modern building, you can find the big and luxurious Sony store. In this store one can see all the company’s new technologies, with a wide variety of options for cafes and restaurants. In the Sony Center there is also an IMAX movie theater, and a very nice film museum.

At the Potsdamer Square is also loved the Panorama Punkt, a great viewpoint to see the whole city of Berlin. Among the sites that one can see is the Brandenburg Gate, The Reichstag, the Berlin Cathedral, the TV Tower, Kaiser Wilhelm Church, the Holocaust Memorial, and more.

#About the history of Potsdamer Square

Potsdamer Square is named after the city of Potsdam, which is located about 25 kilometers South-West of Berlin. The square commemorates the place where the road from Potsdam enters Berlin. This is where the Potsdamer Gate.

Potsdamer Square, or Potsdamer Platz in German, is the center of historic Berlin. In the 1920’s this was a center for nightlife in the flourishing Weimar Republic, a decade before the Nazi’s darkness will fall upon Germany, Europe and the whole world.

Within 100 years, the square has developed from a suburban crossroad to one of the busiest intersections in Europe. During World War II the square was almost completely destroyed by bombing, and after the war the area was abandoned for many years. The reason was that because during the Cold War this area was ran alongside the Berlin Wall, and this prevented the area from developing. At the end of the 1980’s, with the unification of German, plans for the reconstruction began, and in 1990 the construction of a new urban quarter began, named Potsdamer Platz after Potsdamer Square.

#A Closer Look:

Hackesche Höfe
#About the Colorful and Playful Complex in Berlin

One of the more colorful attractions in Berlin, is the complex named Hackesche Höfe, at the old Jewish quarter of the city. Around the inner courtyards, existing here since the 20th century, streets are paved with stores, bars, restaurants, galleries and design stores. The courtyards are nicknamed by some of the Berlin locals as ‘The Barn.’

During the evening and night hours the complex changes so much, it could be hard to even recognize it! Many have a hard time believing it is the same place that they visited earlier that very day. The complex fills up with young people, coming in to pass away the hours in the lively area. The Hackesche Höfe is one of the most recommended nightlife areas in Berlin. There is vast nightlife here, with clubs, bars, and restaurants where alcohol flows like water, and the celebrations can go on until the small hours of the night.

There is a decent number of tourist attractions to be found in this complex. In the courtyards themselves one can see all kinds of vegetations, and art is a key player here (by the way, notice that the connecting between the courtyards remind the shape of the letter ‘S’, which is a calculated architectural concept and is not by accident). Despite the constant effort to provide to tourists, it seems that this complex truly shows an authentic Berlin and enables a true local experience.

Beyond the set tourist sites, the Hackesche Höfe becomes an even livelier center for a few occasions during the week. On Thursdays and Saturdays there is a food market, and during the summer months tourist can enjoy street artists scattered around the complex. Sometimes the complex can be over crowded (especially during the summer months and weekends), but in a way this is part of the charm.

#Inside the Hackesche Höfe Complex

In this interesting complex are eight courtyards that were built at the beginning of the 20th century, in the Jugendstil style. Not only did these courtyards serve to the Jewish population, but the owner of the complex was a Jewish man named Jacob Michael.

If you walk into courtyard number 39, you would probably observe a mostly neglected courtyard (the Schwarzenberg House), but inside are several small museums in the memory of the Holocaust. Among them is the Otto Weidt Workshop for the Blind (in German - Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt), which hides a spectacular story of the owners that saved the lives of their Jewish employees during World War II.

Tourists can go to the movie theater where movies are screened in their original languages (which is, by the way, one of only several theaters in Berlin that do so).
Additionally, tourists can walk along the colorful graffiti walls where Anne Frank’s famous painting is located.

#A Closer Look at Hackesche Höfe:


#About the Museum that Catalogues Ancient Cultures

In Museum Island is located one of the most noticeable museums in Berlin – Pergamon Museum. You can be exposed to difference architecture from different time periods – ancient Greek and Roman, Middle East, and more. The museum was built between the years 1910-1930 by Alfred Bin and Ludwig Hoffman.

So what is the reason that this museum was opened for? When the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum was constructed it was already understood that not all the archeological items that were discovered and collected around the world about be housed there. This is why back in 1907, the decision was made to built another building to house the rest of the collection by Wilhelm von Bode, the Kaiser Museum curator.

More than a million visitors come to the museum each year. This museum today is considered a world heritage site, especially for its unique architecture and the unique collections it possesses.

#What to See at the Museum

At the museum anyone can see a few amazing historical exhibits; the Pergamon altar, a marble altar built in the 2nd century BC, in the Greek city of Pergamon, and remained almost intact. Also, on display are 113 meters of the Frieze altar. The market gate from Miletus from the Roman period, the Ishtar Gate which was the eighth entrance to the city of Babylon, the façade of the Shata Palace, and a milk room directly from milk room in Syria. Tourists can also admire the other exhibits from Near Eastern cultures such as Babylon, Assyria, and other great empires of the ancient world.

More at the museum is the fascinating Islamic museum. The Islamic museum used to sit at the entrance to the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, but was moved here. Among the displays is the façade of the Palace of Shata, today located South of Amman in Jordan. This frontal façade was given as a gift from the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II to the Kaiser Wilhelm II

There is also an ancient collection of statues from marble and bronze at the museum, and architectural elements from ancient Greece and Rome such as mosaics and jewelry.

#Pergamon Museum during World War II

During World War II the building of the museum was badly destroyed. This is also the reason that many of the artifacts were stored ahead of time in a shelter for their protection. Full models were covered by a protective layer. Until today one can see damage to the building from the war on its North side.

In 1945 the Red Army collected the displays and moved them to the Soviet Union. They were returned to German only 13 years later. Not all of them, only parts. The ones that were not returned one can see today in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Overall, even with Russia’s promise to return all items to Germany (an agreement that was signed in 2003), it has still not done so because of a Russian law (Russian law forbids taking archeological finds outside the country).

#A Closer Look:

Checkpoint Charlie
#About the Place that Symbolized the Cold War

Checkpoint Charlie is located in the center of Berlin, and was the main crossing point between East and West Berlin. And so, during the end of the Cold War the decision was made to keep the checkpoint, including the armed guards who stand in front, with piles of sand bags laying around.

The point is located at one of the main streets in Berlin, Frederick Street (Friedrichstraße in German). From here it tells the historic story of the Berlin Wall and the divided Berlin city.

Today Checkpoint Charlie is a tourist destination, but while the Berlin Wall still stood, it was one of the main tension points between East and West Berlin. During the Cold War era there were many of escape attempts into West Berlin, some through Checkpoint Charlie. Most of these attempts failed, many times ended with the escapee’s death, only every so often a successful escape.

Who is Charlie you might ask? Charlie, as some might think, is not a person that this checkpoint was name after. Charlie is the word that stands for the letter ‘C,’ meaning the number 3 in military terms.

#About Checkpoint Charlie for Tourists

The crossing point Checkpoint Charlie is considered one of the most popular destinations for tourists. Along the street are many stores, souvenirs shops, cafes and restaurants, but tourists prefer the checkpoint.

When arriving at the location of Checkpoint Charlie, one sees a small shack in the middle of the street, in front of which are soldiers standing still, actors of course, dressed in an army uniform and big flags waving nearby. The soldiers offer tourists to take photos with them, for a small donation. Around the shack, as if the Cold War has not ended, are placed many sandbags…these show the military tension that used to haunt the spot, between the soldiers of East Berlin and the soldiers of West Berlin. There is also a stand here for passport controls, and permits into East Berlin. This place used to cost some people their lives, today, “only” 5 euros will get you a permit.

#About the Person who Ran to Freedom at Checkpoint Charlie
His name was Conrad Schumann, and he was the first person to cross the Berlin Wall that divided East and West Berlin. Schumann, a part of the East Berlin police force, saw the injustice that the Berlin Wall division created. Especially horrifying to Schumann was a situation he observed, where a small girl from West Berlin, while visit her grandmother in East Berlin, was not allowed to cross back at the end of her visit. With his own eyes he saw the girl’s parents begging, the crying girl, and the soldiers ordering the girl to go back to her home, on the East side of the city…

After receiving an order from his officers to shoot to death anyone trying to escape to West Berlin, Conrad Schumann decided to abandon East Berlin and escape West himself. He did this by bravely jumping above the barbed wire wall, which he was supposed stop others from doing. And in one second he was free.

What is incredible, is that during that jump he was photographed on his way to freedom. The picture of him jumping at Checkpoint Charlie turned into a propaganda sensation. In the battle between the Communists and the Liberals in divided Germany at the time, this picture was like golden egg of propaganda. “East German soldier are themselves trying to escape” – the politicians from the West would declare again and again. They had no idea how right there were. The Easter Berliners all felt as if they were in one last prisoner’s camp.

Schumann did not see himself as a hero. At interviews he repeated that again and again. He met a young lady in Germany and married her, found a job and ran a normal life. But life in the West was not easy also, which can be judged by the fact that in 1990 Schumann committed suicide.

#A Closer Look:

Jüdisches Museum Berlin
#About the Museum with the Jewish History in Germany

The Jewish Museum in Berlin opened in 2001 and was designed by the famous Jewish architect Daniel Liebeskind. Liebeskind’s building is impressive and large, coated with zinc and built in the shape of a broken Star of David. This building’s exterior looks like ruins, broken walls with cracks. In Liebeskind’s design he evokes identification with the terrible Jewish catastrophe of unparalleled magnitude - the Holocaust.

The museum displays a permanent exhibition 3,000 square meters large, where visitors can examine and learn about the 2,000 years of Jewish history in Germany: pictures, objects and stories that together provide a clear and nostalgic picture of Jewish life in Germany. To enhance the experience, visitors will also experience interactive exhibits with multimedia, becoming active participants in the exhibition.

The rotating exhibits at the museum show the history of German Jewry, from the Roman period to the present. The exhibits showcases the Holocaust and give a glimpse into the years following the war, years of flourishing culture, years of cultural ruins of the many communities that were no more.

The museum halls emphasize the missing, the absent. This is how the museum manages to mention the millions who were murdered.

#The History of the Museum

How did the idea begin for a Jewish Museum? Well, Albert Wolf's collection of Judaica was donated to the Berlin community, where the collection began to develop. The person who developed it was Karl Schwartz, the Museum's first director.

The first Jewish museum was not located here, and opened many years prior to the present museum. In 1933, in Oranienburger Straße stood the first museum. Among the items found here was a collection of royal medals inscribed in Hebrew.

In 1938, not surprisingly, the Nazi regime ordered the immediate closure of the museum according to the Nuremberg Laws (racial laws defining a German citizen). The museum's works were then vandalized. Years later, in 1961, there was another attempt to display the Jewish exhibits, this time at the Jewish Community Center in Berlin.

In 1971, the Berlin Municipality reopened the museum and in 1975 a special association was established to build the Jewish Museum. The museum opened as an annex at the Berlin Museum, and became an independent museum in 1999, moving to its present location in the center of Berlin. It was officially opened in 2001.

#The Museum's Architecture

Berlin is a city that is not easy to stomach, especially for Jews, as it returns them to a difficult and intolerable past. The Jewish Museum in Berlin was built so that it could respond to these difficult feelings. On the outside, it is not clear what the sealed bloc holds, and it is impossible to know how many floors or halls are inside.

The building's facade looks like ruins, inside are halls in which absence is clearly felt. Its general shape is that of a broken Star of David. The building is 150 meters long and 27 meters high. Without a doubt, the purpose of Daniel Liebeskind, the Jewish architect who designed this building, who was also the son of a Holocaust survivors, was to oppose the Neo-Classical architecture or any other symbol that represented Nazi architecture.

The entrance to the museum is through the nearby building that was once the city municipal court and also the Berlin Museum. In 2007 Liebeskind connected the two buildings with a glass ceiling and created a closed courtyard designed according to the Jewish sukkah.

On the steps inside the museum, visitors will reach a fork in the way that leads to three different paths: one that leads to a dead end (whose purpose is to undermine the stability of the visitor, to provide a feeling of helplessness and confusion), one to the historical wing (the history of the Jews over hundreds of years), and the third one that leads outside to the garden, representing the diaspora and immigration.

When it opened in 2001, the museum succeeded in creating a cultural debate that was hard to ignore. The architecture was talked about, the design, the materials, the history, the exhibits and all. Another question that arises is whether the architecture of the museum succeeds in answering the real needs of the museum or whether the interesting work harms the display of exhibits and items. With that, it is hard to ignore the fact that the museum manages to attract about 700,000 visitors every year.

#A Closer Look:

Berlinische Galerie
#About Berlin's Museum of Modern Art

One of the city's most innovative museums, the Berlin Gallery is the Museum of Modern Art, Photography and Architecture of Berlin.
The museum specializes in modern art. There is a unique multidisciplinary collection of works of art, photography and architecture, created from the 19th century up to the present - all within the boundaries of the Berlin metropolis.

In addition to the permanent exhibition, the Berlin Gallery offers temporary exhibitions and also has a rich library, a lecture hall, a museum shop and a cafeteria.

The Berlin Gallery emphasizes innovative artistic happenings that took place in Berlin. Among them is the Dada stream, which was born here, the German zhatsion group from the beginning of the 20th century, the Russian avant-garde of Berlin in the 1920’s, the New Zechlichkite, the "new objectivity" of the 1920’s and 1930’s , The art school that began in the 1930’s, the conceptual art of the 1960’s, and modern multimedia.
All the works and art pieces here are backed up by extensive archives of documentary material and research sources that assist art researchers who come here.

The museum, a private enterprise, was founded in 1975, when the need to present modern art in the city is felt. For many years he worked in the building of Martin Gropius in the city.

In 2004, the museum moved to its current location, and since then it has been housed here in a former glass warehouse, not far from the Jewish Museum.

#A Closer Look:

East Side Gallery
Neues Museum