Berlin sights: first things to see
The capital of Germany is the place in Europe that many tourists want to visit. The sights of Berlin are significant cultural monuments, ancient architecture, museums preserving the memory of bygone years. Seeing it all live, you can rediscover the history of Berlin, and at the same time and Europe as a whole, because Germany is an integral part of it.
It should not be forgotten that sights that have been around for 50 years now are also quite modern. Madame Tussauds is a museum that has nine galleries and a hundred exhibits. Visitors will be told about each wax figure and even show how they are made.
There is so much to see in Berlin. And we’ll tell you what you should definitely visit if you find yourself in the capital of Germany.
Berlin’s architectural sights
The Reichstag, the building of the German parliament and one of Berlin’s main landmarks. It was built in neo-Renaissance style in 1894. The Reichstag was considered an important symbol of Hitler’s Germany, so during World War II the capture of the parliament was the main goal of the resistance. Soldiers of the Soviet army in honor of the victory over fascism hoisted a red banner on the building and wrote their names on the walls. Now the Reichstag is one of the most visited parliaments in the world.
After the war, the Reichstag building was partially destroyed; reconstruction began in 1973, during which a glass dome was completed. At present, the federal assembly of the country, the Bundestag, sits in the parliament. Everyone can visit the historical landmark of Berlin Reichstag, get under its dome and walk up the spiral staircase. On the roof is a panoramic platform overlooking Berlin, and the meeting hall can be seen through the glass floor-ceiling. You can sign up for a tour on the Bundestag website.
The Brandenburg Gate is a triumphant structure in the center of Berlin. They are the main symbol of the city and are well preserved to this day. This landmark of Berlin is located on Paris Square, the gate was built in the image of the entrance to the Acropolis of Athens.
It is said that if you walk through the Brandenburg Gate and make a wish, it will definitely come true. The structure gives rise to the famous Unter den Linden street, on which are located Madame Tussauds Museum, the old Humboldt University and the Embassy in Moscow. Humboldt University and the Russian Embassy. On the other side of the gate are Tiergarten Park and the Berlin Zoo.
The Berlin Wall is the most famous symbol of the Cold War: it was destroyed in 1989. Today, the remains of the structure can be seen in several places in the city. East Side Gallery is the name of the Berlin landmark, referring to a section of the Berlin Wall. It is where the famous kiss between Brezhnev and Honnecker is depicted, next to which tourists tend to be photographed.
Another section of the wall is on Bernaur Street, where part of the memorial complex called “The Window of Remembrance” is located. The exhibit is dedicated to the Germans who crashed by jumping out of the windows of houses, and to the people who tried to move from the eastern part of the city to the western part.
Another part of the wall can be seen on the grounds of the exhibition “Topography of Terror”. The exhibition is dedicated to the crimes of the Nazis. In this part of the city there is also the Berlin Wall Museum and Checkpoint Charlie.
Oberbaumbrücke is a bridge over the Spree River, which connects the districts of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. The structure has two levels: above pass the subway tracks and below there is a pedestrian part. The bridge has historical significance because it connected East and West Germany.
The Oberbaumbrücke Bridge is a symbol of the connection between two cultures: German-speaking and Russian-speaking. It is a famous landmark of Berlin, photos of which every tourist visiting the city has.
Red Town Hall is a historical building in the center of the capital, built in the 60s of the 19th century from red brick. The town hall is as important to the inhabitants of Germany as the Kremlin is to the Russians. The building was destroyed during the war, but was rebuilt in the middle of last century with changes to the interior. You can visit the town hall twice a year, when the night of museums takes place. Inside is the Armorial Hall, the seat of government of the united state of Berlin, and the meeting hall, which is accessed by marble staircases with red carpets.
Berlin’s cultural attractions
What are the cultural attractions of Berlin for a tourist to visit? Let’s take a look at the main ones.
The Berlin Philharmonic is one of the most famous concert halls in the world, opened in 1963. Fans of classical music do not leave this landmark of Berlin without attention. The Philharmonic’s building is distinguished by its unusual roof, which has an asymmetrical shape. The interior of the hall also has a non-standard solution: the stage is located in the center. Acoustic problems were solved by means of soft upholstery and a special construction of the walls.
- Old National Gallery
Another Berlin attraction is the Old National Gallery, which is located on Museum Island. Its collection is based on a base of 262 paintings that was bequeathed by German banker and philanthropist Johann Heinrich Wagner. It was originally housed in the buildings of the Academy of Art, but then its own premises were built.
The gallery building is in the neoclassical style, the project was proposed by the architect Friedrich August Stuhler in 1865.
Currently, the gallery displays works of classicism, romanticism, early modernism, and 19th-century impressionism. These include works by Caspar David Friedrich, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Eduard Manet, Claude Monet and others.
- Berlin State Opera
The Berlin (German) State Opera is the oldest musical theater in Berlin, located on Unter den Linden Boulevard. Of all theaters in the city, it is considered the most important and largest, with a capacity of 1,300 seats.
The Berlin Opera House hosted works by famous composers such as Mendelssohn and Strauss, performed works by Fyodor Chaliapin, toured with the Diaghilev Russian Ballet, and conducted many famous people from around the world. The theater was closed during World War II, but then was reconstructed and continued its work. Anyone can visit the opera and enjoy the beautiful classical music of outstanding musicians: Verdi, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Wagner and others.
Berlin’s magnificent palaces
- Charlottenburg Palace
The Charlottenburg Palace Museum is the largest palace complex of the Prussian kings and German emperors. It was named in honor of Queen Sophia Charlotte, because it was built on her initiative. According to some sources, the palace is one of the hundred most beautiful castles and fortresses in the world. Originally the building was small in size, but over time it was rebuilt and expanded to meet the needs of the owners. The interior decoration of the palace is decorated with French paintings and art objects.
The castle has a huge park area, which is a great place for recreation. The Queen Louise Mausoleum and the Belvedere Palace are located here.
Köpenick Palace is located in the Berlin district of the same name. The place has been inhabited since ancient times, the inhabitants erected fortress walls there. In the 16th century, the buildings were demolished and a hunting castle in the Renaissance style was built in their place. Later, a park with a pond, paths and various plantings was built around it. The natural surroundings are in perfect harmony with the architecture of the palace, its exterior and interior decoration.
Köpenick Palace is part of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Fund and contains archaeological artefacts that convey the history of the region. In addition, in Köpenick you can see collections of gold and silverware, porcelain dishes and antique furniture. The castle hosts contemporary art exhibitions and classical music concerts.
This Berlin landmark is located in the northern part of Tiergarten Park, on the banks of the river Spree. The building is made in the style of classicism and is the official residence of the Chancellor of Germany. Bellevue Palace was built in 1786 as a summer residence of Prince Augustus Ferdinand. Guests of the castle were dignitaries of the royal family, Napoleon, Friedrich Schiller. Since the middle of the last century the castle served as a reserve residence of the German president.
Bellevue Palace together with the park area was considered the most beautiful in Prussia. Now to get in it, you need to write an application to the Office of the President. But absolutely anyone can take a walk in the park area.
Famous museums in Berlin
- Museum Island
An ensemble of five historic buildings is located on the island of Spreeinsel. The Altes Museum houses a collection of ancient art objects (sculptures, portraits, statues, vases). In the Neues Museum one can see two expositions: Ancient Egypt and one dedicated to the prehistoric era of early history.
The most famous exhibit of the new museum is the bust of Nefertiti. The Pergamon Museum has a collection of ancient Roman and ancient Greek masterpieces, the Pergamon Altar and the Miletus Market Gate are there. The Old National Gallery collected works by 19th century artists, including paintings by Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne, etc. The fifth building, the Bode Museum, is the brightest representative of the neo-Baroque style.
The German Technical Museum tells the history of the development of technology: aircraft, cameras, computers, trains. The museum was founded in 1982. The exhibits occupy several floors with a total area of 25,000 square meters. The complex includes a large park with mills, brewery and blacksmith shop.
Among the exhibits of the technical museum are a Bücker Bü 131 biplane, the world’s first computer, diesel and steam engines, weaving looms, locomotives and much more. The museum offers guided tours, demonstrates the operation of instruments and machines, in some of the vehicles you can look inside and see the interior. A library with archival documents completes the exposition.
The GDR Museum opened in Berlin relatively recently, in 2006. It is located in the city center, not far from the Cathedral. The exposition tells about life and culture of the German Democratic Republic. Visitors can see recreated conditions of a typical apartment of East Germans: from the interior of rooms to household items.
- The “Topography of Terror” information and exhibition center and museum
This is one of Berlin’s most interesting attractions. “Topography of Terror” includes an information and exhibition center and an open-air museum. The project was founded in 1987 on the site of the Gestapo cellars. The exhibition recounts the crimes of the Nazis.
Former prison cells were dug out for the museum, so that everyone could feel the tragedy of the people who were at the mercy of the Nazis. A large number of exhibits are devoted to the Nazi regime and related to the activities of the Nazis. You can visit the exhibition for free, what you see there does not leave anyone indifferent.
- Museum of Natural History
Berlin Natural History Museum is the largest natural history museum in the world. It has 30 million exhibits, including the huge skeleton of a dinosaur 13.27 meters high. The remains of the sauropod were found in Tanzania more than 100 years ago.
The permanent exhibitions of the Museum of Natural History are “World of Dinosaurs”, “Earth System”, “Evolution in Action”, “Space and Solar System”, and “Minerals”. Visitors can see stuffed animals, various minerals and visually learn about the evolution of the world and humanity.
The Stasi is the equivalent of the KGB in the GDR, and the museum is located in the headquarters of the State Security Service. The exhibit tells of another difficult period in the country’s history, namely, the work of the former ministry, spying on the citizens of the GDR. The office of the head of the Stasi, Erich Milke, is one of the most interesting places in the museum. The interior of the rooms on the upper floor has remained unchanged since 1989. The furniture and other items are still in their places.
Fans of detectives will appreciate the exposition, looking at miniature cameras, bugs and weapons. Visiting the museum, you can learn about the structure of the organization, recruitment methods and the dissident movement in the GDR.
One of the world-famous Madame Tussauds wax museums is also located in Berlin. A landmark in Germany, it is well worth a visit, as you can see various full-length celebrity figures here. The first exhibition was opened in 1835 in London, then branches began to open all over the world.
The German Museum is located near the Brandenburg Gate and has nine galleries. Each room is a different area, for example, there is a room with figures of show business stars, movie stars and players of German soccer. A separate room is dedicated to a “workshop” where the process of creating wax sculptures is demonstrated.
Millions of tourists visit the museum annually, and they are not confused by the huge lines and considerable cost of tickets. Everyone wants to take a picture with a wax “look-alike” of George Clooney, Britney Spears or Angelina Jolie.
Berlin sights. Berlin’s most famous sights
A concrete fence more than three meters high, surrounded by barbed wire, a hundred and sixty kilometers long, was not just a border between the two parts of the German state, it divided thousands of families overnight for almost thirty years.
The Berlin TV Tower
986 steps, 40 seconds in a high-speed elevator, and more than 200 meters from the observation deck of Germany’s tallest building and the breathtaking panorama of Berlin. Of course, we are talking about the Berlin TV Tower, the symbol of the German capital.
Berlin Cathedral – this attraction is in the picture of almost every tourist who visited the German capital. Contrary to Protestant teachings, the Berlin Cathedral turned out to be very rich and colorful, more like a Catholic church.
Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome, or the Tower of London, the Brandenburg Gate is the symbol and trademark of Berlin. It is Berlin’s most recognizable landmark and began construction in what is known as the Berlin Classical style.
Many people dream of being on an island, and most imagine sun, palm trees, ocean and sand. But there are many different islands, and one of the most unusual is the Museum Island in Berlin, where Robinson Crusoe could only dream of getting stuck.
Without a doubt, a parliament building in any country should look very presentable and solemn – and that is exactly what the Reichstag in Berlin is, which, in addition, has its own without exaggeration heroic history.
The Charlottenburg is one of the greatest Baroque architectural monuments in Berlin. Originally it was originally a sumptuous gift of King Friedrich I to his wife Sophie Charlotte of Hanover, and was later converted into a favorite summer royal residence with a lush park.
Guests at the five-star Radisson Blu Hotel in Berlin, whose windows overlook the courtyard, can enjoy the incredible spectacle of sharks, fish and octopuses swimming in a huge clear glass, illuminated by blue lights.
Tropical Island Waterpark
In Berlin, you can wake up on any coldest day and in an hour and a half find yourself in the tropics. And you don’t need a plane to get there. The largest water park on the planet is Tropical Island, located only 70 km from the German capital.
On the site of the former market square Alexanderplatz was formed, which was the center of socialist Berlin. The architectural ensemble of the square combines pre-war buildings and modern buildings, among which is a high-rise (123 meters) hotel with panoramic rooftop areas and a TV tower.
Berlin Art Gallery
The Berlin Art Gallery is one of the most important museums in the world, the basis of the collection dedicated to European painting of 13-18 centuries. Its collection includes classics of traditional Italian and Flemish art: Botticelli and Rembrandt, Titian and Caravaggio, Bruegel, Bosch and many other geniuses.
The Berlin Opera is not only one of the oldest buildings in Berlin, but also one of the largest musical theaters in Germany. Many famous people have conducted performances in this theater.
At the entrance to the Berlin Zoo you will be greeted by beautiful elephants, but not real ones, but made of stone. The 27-tonne animals decorate the oldest zoo in Germany on both sides of the gate. Not far from the gate, you’ll find the ticket office and a diagram of the zoo.
Berlin Royal Porcelain Factory
It’s hard to find a souvenir from Berlin more refined, sophisticated and bohemian than a product from the Royal Berlin Porcelain Factory. As fragile as thin spring ice, as transparent as an egg shell, as delicate to the touch as a baby’s velvet skin, this porcelain is world-famous.
Humboldt University Berlin
Widely known not only in Germany, but all over the world, is the Humboldt University of Berlin. Humboldt University Berlin, or Humboldt University. Among its graduates are Otto von Bismarck, Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx.
Bisdorf Palace is a landmark of Berlin, alluring not only for its historical and cultural significance, but also as an embodiment of the connection of times. At first glance one might think it dates back to the Renaissance, but the design by architect Martin Gropius dates back to the 19th century.
Flea market in the Tiergarten
Where else can you buy such a souvenir that will be older than you, can boast a turbulent and fascinating history and will tell better than any eloquent lecturer about an unforgettable trip? Only at a flea market.
Berlin Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden of Berlin, famous in Germany since the 17th century, is one of the three most important botanical gardens in the world. It invites you to discover thousands of different plants and interesting facts about them.
Bunker in Berlin
The big grey concrete cube in the center of Berlin is the Reichsbunker, a bomb shelter for railroad workers which was built in 1943. During GDR times it was used to store fruit and vegetables, the old Berliners still call it the “banana bunker”.
Balloon Die Welt
Every city has its own symbols. The vast majority are architectural structures: cathedrals, castles, town halls, etc. Berlin wouldn’t be Berlin if it didn’t add something completely unexpected to this trivial list.
Berlin is a city with a dramatic, contradictory fate. For several decades it has lived torn alive by two opposing political systems. The scar left by the Berlin Wall will never heal on its body. In the memory of humanity, Berlin will always be associated with the two bloodiest wars of the 20th century. Not surprisingly, many of the city’s landmarks are associated with Germany’s turbulent history.
Perhaps the most famous landmark in Berlin is the Reichstag building. It symbolizes Germany: the quadrangular base represents the four regions of the country and the dome represents the unity of imperial power.
The Reichstag is not only the seat of the German parliament, it also houses the Museum of Modern Art, one of the most important art collections in the country.
The Brandenburg Gate, built in classicist style in the late 18th century, stands at the end of Unter den Linden street and is not only about the most recognizable symbol of Berlin, but also the symbol of the split of the German state. Another symbol of the city is of course the Berlin Wall.
Today there is not much left of it, the two parts of the city are slowly merging, but there is a pedestrian and bicycle trail along the wall line with a length of 160 km.
It is a special pleasure to walk through the parks of Berlin. Most people of the older generation are familiar with Treptow Park because there is a memorial to the Soviet soldiers who fell during the capture of Berlin in World War II. The center of the memorial is a bronze sculpture of a soldier with a rescued girl in his arms. Around it is a memorial field with graves of unknown soldiers. The author of the memorial is the famous Soviet sculptor Evgeny Vuchetich. Monuments to Soviet soldiers are also installed in the Tiergarten Park and in the park “Schoenholzer Heide”. The status of these monuments is assigned to them in perpetuity, and the maintenance is financed by the German government.
Berlin is rich in sights. You can get a special pleasure from seeing them by taking bus number 100 with the citizens in a hurry on business, the route of which passes most of the most interesting places in the city.