MA­JOR SIGHTS

Where Berlin - - Sight Seeing -

The “Alex” TV Tower

The 368m(1,027 ft)-high TV tower of Alexan­der­platz can be seen from almost any point in the city and has been iconic of Berlin ever since it was built by the GDR in 1969. The gi­ant steel-clad sphere houses a re­volv­ing restau­rant and café as well as a view­ing plat­form. The el­e­va­tor ride lasts 40 seconds. Get there early to avoid lines. Open from 9am–mid­night (from 10am Nov–Feb). €13/8.50. www.tv-turm.de. Panora­mastr. 1a. T: 030.24757537. S+U Alexan­der­platz. F3

Ber­liner Dom

The city’s neo-Re­nais­sance cathe­dral was be­gun in the late 1700s, fin­ished in 1905, and ren­o­vated in sim­pli­fied form after WWII dam­age. Walk up 267 steps for glo­ri­ous views of the city from the dome, or stay on the ground floor to gaze at elab­o­rate sar­cophagi con­tain­ing the royal re­mains of Ho­hen­zollern fam­ily mem­bers. Thanks to the church’s per­fect acous­tics and a 7,200-pipe or­gan, the Ber­liner Dom is also an im­por­tant con­cert venue. Open Mon–Sun 9am-8pm (un­til 7pm in win­ter). €7/4. www.berlin­er­dom.de. Am Lust­garten. T: 030.20269119. S Hack­escher Markt. E3/F3

Bran­den­burg Gate

MUST SEE Berlin’s icon par ex­cel­lence. Got­thard Lang­hans’ neo­clas­si­cal tri­umphal arch has wit­nessed the city’s best and worst mo­ments, from the mil­i­tary pa­rades of the Third Re­ich to the Wall be­ing raised and torn down. Dur­ing the Iron Cur­tain years, it stood on the East side. To­day, it is mainly the back­drop for fes­ti­vals, New Year’s Eve par­ties, and tourist snap­shots. U Bran­den­burger Tor. D3/E3

Char­lot­ten­burg Palace

The sum­mer home of Sophie Char­lotte, wife of King Friedrich I of Prus­sia, re­flects the grandeur of the Ho­hen­zollern fam­ily. Be­gun in 1695, the lux­ury Baroque com­plex con­sists of a main build­ing with a cen­tral cupola and two side wings that en­close a court­yard. The two ad­di­tional wings were added at a later stage. The pic­turesque park sur­round­ing the cas­tle in­cludes a for­mal French-style gar­den and an English gar­den with a pond, flower beds, and stat­ues. There is also a belvedere and a mau­soleum. To­day, the cas­tle hosts tem­po­rary art and his­tory exhibitions. Open Tue–Sun 10am– 6pm (un­til 5pm in win­ter). €12/8. www.spsg.de. Span­dauer Damm 20-24. T: 030.9694200. U Sophie-Char­lotte-Platz. A3

Hack­esche Höfe

An in­tri­cate se­ries of in­ter­con­nected court­yards pro­vid­ing a good ex­am­ple of early-19th-cen­tury Ger­man Se­ces­sion­ist style. The first court­yard is en­tirely dec­o­rated with glazed blue and white tiles in ge­o­met­ri­cal de­signs. The apart­ment build­ings and the small maze-like al­leys lined with cafés, shops and the­aters give the Höfe a fa­mil­iar and fas­ci­nat­ing at­mos­phere. Rosen­thaler Str. 40- 41. S Hack­escher Markt. E2/F2

Haus der Kul­turen der Welt

Dubbed the “preg­nant oys­ter” by lo­cals be­cause of its curvy shape, the Haus der Kul­turen der Welt was built as a congress hall in 1956. The build­ing quickly be­came a sym­bol of western free­dom and cre­ativ­ity, in con­trast to East Ger­man ar­chi­tec­tural projects of the time. Com­puter-guided chime con­certs ring daily at noon and 6pm and the build­ing now hosts con­certs and in­ter­cul­tural events. Open daily 10am–7pm. € prices vary. www.hkw.de. John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10. T: 030.397870. U Bun­destag. D3

Kaiser-Wil­helm-Gedächt­niskirche

This church’s bombed-out bell tower has been an anti-war memo­rial and a sym­bol of West Berlin ever since its ru­ins were re­stored to their present state in 1957. The old church’s ru­ins now host an ex­hi­bi­tion of be­fore and after pho­tos doc­u­ment­ing its for­mer splen­dor and show­ing the Ku’damm be­fore the bombs. Look up to ad­mire what is left of the old mo­saic. Open daily from 9am to 6pm. www.gedaecht­niskirche-berlin.de. Bre­itschei­d­platz. T: 030.2185023. U Zool­o­gis­cher Garten, Kur­fürs­ten­damm. C4

New Synagogue

MUST SEE Be­fore the war, this Moor­ish-Byzan­tinestyle synagogue was Berlin’s largest Jewish place of wor­ship. The synagogue was se­ri­ously dam­aged dur­ing the in­fa­mous Kristall­nacht pogroms in 1938, while Al­lied bombs gave it the coup de grace in 1943. The ex­otic gold dome is to­day the icon of Berlin’s Jewish re­birth, and the par­tially re­con­structed build­ing now houses a Jewish cen­ter and a mu­seum. Mu­seum: €3.50/3. Dome €2/1.50. Un­der- 6s free. www.cju­daicum.de. Oranien­burg­er­str. 28-30. T: 030.88028300. S Oranien-burg­er­straße, Hack­escher Markt. E2

Niko­laivier­tel and Knoblauch Haus

This is where Berlin was born. The area still re­tains its an­cient character although most of the build­ings in the nar­row me­dieval al­leys are repli­cas of the de­stroyed orig­i­nals, many of which dated back to the 1200s. The late-Gothic Niko­laikirche is Berlin’s old­est sur­viv­ing build­ing and is now a mu­seum. Other points of in­ter­est in­clude the Ephraim Palais Mu­seum and the Bie­der­meier-style Knoblauch Haus, a 19th-cen­tury mid­dle­class town­house that es­caped WWII dam­age. Knoblauch Haus: Open Tue–Sun 10am– 6pm. www.knoblauch­haus.de. Post­str. 23. T: 030.240020171. S+U Alexan­der­platz. F3

Panorama­punkt am Pots­damer Platz

A 100-m-high plat­form of­fer­ing one of the best views in Berlin. The el­e­va­tor takes you to the top in 20 seconds, and there’s a café where vis­i­tors can en­joy drinks and cake with the city’s sky­line as a back­drop. Open daily 10am–7:30pm (un­til 6pm Nov– Mar). €6.50/5. www.panorama­punkt.de. Kol­hoff Tower, Pots­damer Platz 1. S Pots­damer Platz. D3

Phil­har­monie

MUST SEE The seat of the world-fa­mous Ber­liner Phil­har­moniker orches­tra is one of Ger­many’s finest post-war ar­chi­tec­ture achieve­ments. The ex­te­ri­ors slightly re­call a cir­cus tent, while the pen­tag­o­nal con­cert hall is ar­ranged with a cen­tral podium for the orches­tra and gal­leries for the au­di­ence around the five sides. See En­ter­tain­ment sec­tion for full pro­gram. Guided tours of­fered daily at 1:30pm. €5/3. www.berlin­er­phil­har­moniker.de. Her­bert-von-Kara­jan-Str. 1. T: 030.254888156. S+U Pots­damer Platz, U Men­delssohn Bartholdy Park. D3

Pots­damer Platz and Sony Cen­ter

Be­fore the war, Pots­damer Platz was the city’s beat­ing heart, with depart­ment stores, banks, in­ter­na­tion­ally known the­aters, dance halls, and cafés. WWII bombs oblit­er­ated 80% of the square, which was left in limbo for a few years and then en­closed in an empty and des­o­late no man’s land be­tween the Wall and barbed wire fences. The square came back to life in the 1990s and the new Pots­damer Platz is a mod­ern rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of the orig­i­nal. Di­vided in three slices, it in­cludes the Sony build­ing with its cen­tral plaza, the Daim­ler City, home to a large shop­ping mall, and the Man­hat­tan-style Beisheim Cen­ter build­ing. S+U Pots­damer Platz. D3

Re­ich­stag and Foster’s Glass Cupola

MUST SEE In the last 100 years, this mas­sive neo-Re­nais­sance build­ing has been set on fire, bombed, wrapped in pa­per by artist Christo, and ren­o­vated by Lord Nor­man Foster. It is now the seat of the Ger­man Par­lia­ment. Climb the mes­mer­iz­ing glass cupola and en­joy a breathtaking 360-de­gree-view of the city, then look down to watch the par­lia­men­tary pro­ceed­ings tak­ing place. The ple­nary hall can be vis­ited on guided tours only. Cupola: Open daily 8am– mid­night by ap­point­ment only. Reg­is­ter on web­site. Audio tours avail­able. € free. www.bun­destag.de. Platz der Repub­lik 1. T: 030.22732152. U Bun­destag. D3/E3

Siegessäule (Vic­tory Col­umn)

The tri­umphal col­umn on the Straße der 17. Juni com­mem­o­rates vic­tory in the Prusso-Dan­ish war, while the an­gel on top was added after two fur­ther war vic­to­ries against Aus­tria and France. The mon­u­ment orig­i­nally stood in front of the Re­ich­stag build­ing and was moved to its present lo­ca­tion in 1938. The ter­race of­fers great vis­tas. Open 9:30am– 6:30pm (un­til 7 on week­ends). Win­ter 10am–5pm (un­til 5:30 on week­ends). €3/2. Großer Stern 1. T: 030.3912961. U Hansaplatz. C3/D3

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