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Neptunbrunnen
Neptune Fountain
#About the Fountain that is Nearby the TV Tower

The most important work of the sculptor Reinhold Begas, is the Neptune Fountain (Neptunbrunnen) between the Church of Mariam and the Red Town Hall building. It was given as a gift by the Berlin Municipality to Kaiser Wilhelm II (Emperor of Germany and the King of Prussia). It is decorated in a Neo-Baroque style, and imitates other important fountains in Rome. The fountain’s diameter is 18 meters, and is 10 meters tall.

The fountain was nicknamed "Porkenbeken," a word play in German that means "pelvis with a trident," but it is hard to ignore the fact that this nickname is very closely related the name of the mayor of Purknebek at the time. So why a pelvis, you may ask? In the statue of Neptune, God of the sea, the god standing in a water basin (made of red granite) and holds a trident in his hands, lying on his left shoulder.

The trident is a symbol of Neptune’s great power. He is standing over a giant oyster that is being pulled by four tritons. Around the shell are many statues of marine life.

On the edges of the fountain are four women who symbolize the four great rivers of Germany: the Rhine, the Elbe, the Oder and the Vistula.



A Closer Look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leBll37cACg
Alexanderplatz
Alexander Sqaure
#About Berlin’s Main Square and Its Massive Department Store

Alexander Square (Alexanderplatz) is a big square on the East side of Berlin. This square is a Berlin-style combination between the still present communist design, nearby modern luxury shops, and big chain brands that have sprung up in the recent years.

Alexanderplatz is a popular tourist destination in Berlin. All the public transportation in the city pass through the square, making it a great location for huge shopping centers, souvenirs shops, and many street artists and peddlers.

At the center of the square is the Berlin TV tower, one of the tallest buildings in Europe. Tourists are able to reach the top of the tower and enjoy the beautiful view of all Berlin and its surroundings. If you visit during high tourist season, you can take advantage of the long elevator wait and spend time wandering around the square.

Make sure to see the mechanical statute ‘The World Clock,’ which has been located in the square since the Eastern Germany days. The clock displays the time in different big cities around the world.

Near the square you can see the red City Hall of the Berlin municipality building.



#Alexanderplatz History – Once this Place Was Used to Sell Meats!

Up to the 18th century, the Alexanderplatz area was Berlin’s main cattle market. Changing the square’s name to ‘Alexanderplatz’ was on October 25th, 1805, when the city officials decided to honor the Russian Czar Alexander I, during his visit to Berlin.

At the end of the 19th century, a railway station was established there, and it became a main center for transportation. Pretty soon the area developed all around the station, turning the square into an extensive trading area with an active market.

At the time of the Weimar Republic in the 1920’s, Alexanderplatz alongside the Potsdamer Platz, became the center of Berlin’s nightlife. At the end of the 1920’s, Alexanderplatz was commemorated in the novel “Berlin, Alexanderplatz,” by novelist Alfred Dublin. The basis of this novel created the storyline for two movies, the first in 1930’s and the second in the 1980’s.

During World War II the square was heavily bombed, and was badly damaged. In the 1960’s it was renovated by the Eastern German government, and the square became the center of East Berlin. This is when the TV tower (The Fernsehturm) was added to the square, which was the second tallest tower in Europe.



A Closer Look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxrn3lSAIQ0
Berliner Dom
Berlin Cathedral Church
#About the Berliner Dom - Berlin's First Cathedral

The Berlin Cathedral Church, Berliner Dom, Berlin's Evangelist Cathedral, is an impressive cathedral, that once was more impressive. Today's structure is a partial reconstruction of the ‘Dom’ that was built at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries by the brilliant church builder Julius Karl Rachdorf. He built it at the request of Kaiser Wilhelm II, in a style that was then called "historicism."

The height of the main building, from the ground to the top of the golden cross at its top, was 114 meters. The octagon preaching church contained 2,100 seating places. The ‘Dom’ was actually the base for two churches, with its southern wing being the Church of Baptism and Faith, and in the northern wing the Church of Burial and Remembrance.

Because of to its proximity to the royal palace, the ‘Dom’ over the years became the church of the court and the burial site of the Hohenzollern rulers.

The bombings over Berlin in World War II destroyed the ‘Dom,’ and only in 1975 was it rebuilt, without the northern wing, and significantly reducing the height of the main building to 98 meters. Funding for the renovation was given by the German government, with contributions from all Evangelical churches in Germany. The reconstructed building was inaugurated in 1993, and six years later returned to display the Hohenzollern tombs.

Among the 90 tombs, one can see the sarcophagi of the greatest Prussian kings of the last 500 years, such as Frederick II (Frederick the Great) buried in the garden of his palace in Potsdam, or Queen Sophie Charlotte, wife of his father, Frederick I.

The Berliner Dom is located on the island of Shapere, east of Lustgarten and southeast of Museum Island.



A Closer Look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyV9mPOTlsQ
Museumsinsel
Museum Island
#About the Island with the Important German Museum

The Museum Island (Museumsinsel) is Berlin's cultural center. A number of important art and science museums are located on this natural island, located on the Spree River from 1830, and is considered a source of pride for Berliners.

Among the museums is the famous museum for antiquities, the Pergamon Museum, which houses one of the most important collections of antiquities in the world.

Also on the island are several other museums:

The Old National Gallery - featuring 19th-century German art.

The Neues Museum - which displays ancient Egyptian art, an ancient papyrus collection, prehistoric exhibits and antiques from the classical period. The most famous item in the museum is the statue of Nefertiti, Queen of Egypt.

The Bode Museum - a museum dedicated to the art of Byzantium, medieval art and early modern art.

Due to the architectural importance of the museum buildings themselves, the whole island was declared a World Heritage Site. In the large, pleasant park next to the large museum plaza, the Lustgarten Park, one can relax a little while strolling between the museums.



#The History of Museum Island

The foundations for the island were put up by King Frederick Wilhelm IV in the first half of the 19th century. He decided to establish a museum complex, to which he would transfer the royal family’s collections, a generous decision that allowed the German public to enjoy the kingdom’s treasures that had been compiled by kings for generations.

For this purpose the king chose the northern side of the island inside Berlin, which was formed between the arms of the Spree River, which passes through the city. He ordered the architect Schinkel, whose work he admired and loved, to set up the first museum on the Museum Island.

Before the bombings of World War II, the authorities moved most of the contents from the museums outside the Berlin city area. This was done to protect the items from destruction. Things that could not be removed from Berlin were covered with sandbags. During the last bombardment over Berlin in the war, the Americans completely destroyed the island. The fact that most of the items were taken out of it before the bombings kept them from being completely destroyed.



A Closer Look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQJ6xIdMgtk

Connection Tour in Berlin

Bocca di Bacco
‪Bocca di Bacco‬
#About the Great Italian Restaurant

At the restaurant Bocca di Bacco customers can sample a selection of classic Italian dishes and selected wines (Italian, German and French). The atmosphere in the restaurant is pleasant and allows for a real culinary experience. The restaurant is very popular and very sought after, because it offers a selection of classic but also more innovative dishes.

Bocca di Bacco is decorated in a modern style, clean and simple design. Note that the restaurant is very popular with local and international celebrities, so do not be shocked if you suddenly bump into one.



#Tips

Important! Book in advance so you won’t be disappointed when you arrive.



A Closer Look:

https://youtu.be/4dXtC1HgyIk
Bebelplatz
Bebelplatz
#About the Square Where Books Were Burnt

This public square, located in the center of Berlin, was once called the ‘Opera Square’. The current name, Bebelplatz, was renamed after World War II, after the leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in the 19th century, August Babel.

At the square you can see some important buildings such as the Opera House, the Humboldt University buildings, and St. Hedwig Cathedral (an ancient Roman Catholic Church).



#About the Burning of the Books

One of the most prominent events to happen in this square is known as the burning of the books. The event took place at the square on May 10th, 1933, the Nazis burned the books of the Prussian library. About 5,000 students and faculty members from the University of Berlin burned more than 20,000 books of various authors: Communists, Jews, and everyone who wrote things that did not fit into the Nazi ideology.

This event severely damaged freedom of expression, and led to the oppression of Nazi ideology in an extreme and unbearable manner. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, was in charge of this whole event. That same day, Goebbels gave a speech about ‘Un-German Literature.’ In the wake of this incident, students throughout Germany burned more books.

It is interesting to note that in 1820, a few decades earlier, the sentence was written: "Where books are burned, people will be burned," by the German poet and philosopher Heinrich Heine, who foresaw the future of many of his books being burnt.


#About the Empty Library Monument

The Israeli sculptor and recipient of the Israel Prize, Micha Ullman, established a monument in 1994 to commemorate the terrible book-burning event that took place at the square. The sculptor, who participated in an international competition in which 30 sculptors from around the world competed, won the competition to create this commemorative monument. This monument, by the way, is now considered to be his most important and familiar work.

The monument is a transparent square (armored in glass) located in the ground, embedded in the square itself. It is not possible to enter the pit, but it is recommended to look through at the underground library with 14 empty shelves. The emptiness of the shelves symbolizes the enormous cultural space left behind by the burned books, which were burned by the Nazis.

Two of the shelves by the way are hidden and out of site, and out of the 14, one can observe the only 12 shelves, symbolizing the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve months of the year. The dimensions of the room are not random either, they were calculated according to Ullman's body size multiplied by four, indicating the humanism that was buried in that shocking event. In the library room, a closed door facing the local university, from which the students who burnt the books existed the university.

Ullman said about the monument: "The image that stood before me at all stages of the work was the cry of Edvard Munch: a relatively small opening in a large picture, a small black pit, an element of shouting, a cry without a sound."



A Closer Look:

https://youtu.be/6-YPv7d5tHk
Pergamonmuseum
Pergamon Museum
#About the Museum that Catalogues Ancient Cultures

In Museum Island is located one of the most noticeable museums in Berlin – Pergamon Museum (Pergamonmuseum). You can be exposed to different 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 could 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 the milk room in Syria. Visitors 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 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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5v39kYZk8U
Curry 36
‪Curry 36
#About the Best Hot Dog in Berlin

The line in front of this restaurant guarantees that at Curry 36 you can find the most popular hot dog in Berlin. It’s said that the wonderful sauce is what makes it the best.

Germany is after all crazy about sausages, and it is really part of the culture and heritage. Every year, Germans eat about 800 million sausages, which means that Germans eat 1,500 bites per minute.

The specialty here is the winning German upgraded hot dog we know. It's called the "currywurst" and it's a sliced sausage, with a sauce like ketchup, but it's really not ketchup. In fact, this sauce changes from place to place and each stall prepares it in its own taste. Curry 36, say the Berliners, is the best place in town!

By the way, the story of these sauces was born after World War II, when there was no bread and therefore the curry was sold without a bun. But ketchup was not in Germany either. So, without tomatoes and no money to prepare or import real ketchup, the “currywurst” stalls invented sauces that resembled it but were different.



A Closer Look:

https://youtu.be/4aUWxBOoMd4


Checkpoint Charlie
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 visiting 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 to the 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 the golden egg of propaganda. “East German soldiers 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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxRjIXUubMw
Fernsehturm
#About the "Television Tower," the Tall Tower that Became a Symbol of Berlin During the Cold War

The extreme height and special shape of the TV tower, the "Fernsehturm," will not allow anyone to ignore its presence. It reaches a height of 368 meters, and this is why the tower can bee seen above the city buildings, and has become a local symbol.

It is built as a long, narrow concrete column, above which lies a huge steel ball with seven floors in it. Above the ball is a thin antenna that completes the unique shape of this tower.

The construction of the TV tower was completed in 1969. Its aim was to convey a clear message - a symbol of the power of the Communist government, and to further the differentiation between East Berlin from West Berlin.

The fast elevator will bring you in 15 seconds straight to huge glass windows that will provide a spectacular view of the city, at a height of 204 meters. Tourists can also indulge themseles at the revolving restaurant (it completes a full rotation every 20 minutes), enjoy a good meal with a spectacular view at an altitude of 207 meters above ground. Both the vantage point and the restaurant can be seen up to 40 kilometers away on a clear day with good visibility.

The tower is located at Alexanderplatz Square, which is located in the area of former ​​East Berlin. It is a popular attraction among tourists.



#About the Pope's Revenge Against the Communist Regime

Across of the well-known TV tower of East Berlin, a building was built in West Berlin in the same time period, the Radio Tower, reaching the height of 55 meters. A restaurant and observation deck were built at the top. The West Berliners saw this building as a counterweight to the TV tower on the eastern side of the city. This was their consolation for the painful split imposed on them by the Soviet Union and the Communist regime on the other side.

Really interesting was the cross created by sunlight onto the Radio Tower. Just when the East German Communist regime closed the churches and forbade Christianity to show itself (Communism saw religion as "opium for the masses"), the Radio Tower brought a metaphorical image. This was because without being planned, the cross was created by the sunlight hitting the tower, standing out for everyone to see.

Was God's hand involved in this? - It is not clear. But one way or the other, the cross on the high Radio Tower all over East Berlin seemed to form what was then called the "Revenge of the Pope."

#Tips:
If you buy tickets in advance for the entrance you can avoid standing in the tiresome.



A Closer Look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4Ede6aC-UA


אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

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אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

שלום,
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נשמח לראות משהו מכם בספר האורחים שלנו: איזו מילה טובה, חוות דעת, עצה חכמה לשיפור או כל מה שיש לכם לספר לנו על אאוריקה, כפי שאתם חווים אותה.