Oh Berlin, Berlin
Traveling around the world makes you see the diversity of this world, it's richness and colours. Undeniably each city you visit is beautiful in its own way, but some cities just have it all, and one of them is Berlin. The marvellous capital of Germany perfectly merges the past and the future, the old and the new. I can think of no other city that has used buildings to showcase two competing political systems in the way Berlin has. While some parts of the city are still the embodiment of communist-style urban design, other areas astound you with the splendid baroque buildings, and the impressively large boulevards. It's a city of contrasts, which welcomes everyone in its boiling cattle of diversity.
When writing Berlin city guide, I thought that the first place you should visit here is, of course, its soul. The stunning building of the Reichstag will immediately capture your attention with its architecture and impressive dimensions. It is considered to be the symbol of Berlin. Today's edifice of the German Parliament was constructed to host the Imperial Diet of the German Empire. In 1933 it was almost totally destroyed in a fire, after which it fell into disuse. Following the World War II the building was in ruin as a result of Allied bombing and fighting during the last days of the war. In the post-war period it fell into neglect for quite a while, and was reconstructed only in the 90's. Nowadays you can visit the Reichstag glass dome, designed by the British architect Norman Foster. The roof terrace and roof garden restaurant are also open to public. You can also visit some important sights nearby the Reichstag such as: the Brandenburg Gate, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
The next spot I would highly recommend visiting to the people, who are passionate about art. It is actually a whole island that is fully dedicated to art, historic relics and architecture. The island itself is called the Museum Island, and hosts 5 museums, the projected timeline for the renovation of which stretches not into years, but spans whole decades. 600 years of human history are gathered in these museums, so you really need to take your time to discover all the treasures they have to offer. The complex of the Museum Island includes: Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Bode Museum, and Pergamon Museum. Altes Museum displays a very interesting antique collection of armory, sculptures, silver and gold jewelry dating from the Cycladic to Roman times. The Neues Museum includes archaeological collections of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, the Museum of Pre- and Early History, as well as works from the Collection of Classical Antiquities. The most prominent feature of the exhibition is the bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.
Bode Museum features artworks of the museum of Byzantine art from the 3rd to the 15th centuries, German and Italian sculptures from the early Middle Ages to the 18th century and Coin Galleries, which include half a million coins and medals, making it one of the largest collections of its kind.
The most interesting museum however in my opinion is the Pergamon Museum, which absolutely thrilled me with its dimensions and well-preserved exhibits. The museum is named after the Pergamon Altar, a Hellenistic masterpiece of white stone architecture. Here you can see the gates of the Roman Miletus Market, the Ishtar Gate and the fragment of the Babylonian procession road.
Not far from the museum ensemble you can easily spot an impressive construction, which thrills with it’s grandeur and amount of details. The Berlin Cathedral, proudly rising on the Museum Island, is the city's biggest protestant church. It took 11 years for this edifice to be constructed. Made in pure baroque style, it’s splendor however doesn’t overwhelm you. On the contrary, it makes you wonder at all the beautifully sculpted ornaments, religious paintings, and colorfully stained glasses.
Das Rote Rathaus
Das Rote Rathaus, which from German translates as the Red Town Hall, is the town hall of Berlin. This outstanding landmark was built in Neo Renaissance style, and draws its inspiration from the traditional Italian Palazzo. The construction was almost entirely destroyed after the World War II. The striking fact however is that only a single year was needed for the whole edifice to be rebuilt, while the original version, which was led by the architect Hermann Friedrich Waesemann, took 8 years to be finished.
If you're all about walking the narrow streets filled with cosy cafes, restaurants, pubs, souvenir and antique shops, then Nikolaiviertel is a perfect match for you! This tiny little quarter of old Berlin is filled with narrow picturesque streets running along the river Spree. Saint Nicholas church is located in the centre of the quarter. It is considered to be the oldest basilica of Berlin (it is over 800 years old), completely preserved to our days. Take a walk through this lovely neighbourhood and feel the spirit of the past.
The last but not the least is the famous square called Alexanderplatz. It is also considered to be the most visited attraction of Berlin. The architectural ensemble of the square unites many modern constructions, the most important landmark being Berliner Fernsehturn, and old buildings as: St. Mary's Church, and the Red Town Hall.