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 PrussoDanish 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
Asisi’s Wall Panorama
Artist Yadegar Asisi created a panorama of divided Berlin presenting everyday life against the backdrop of the Berlin Wall on an imaginary day in the 1980s. His aim was to show how the population came to terms with the situation and the circumstances, and the result gives onlookers a very interesting glimpse of GDR life. Open daily 10am–7pm. €10/4. www.asisi.de. Friedrichstr. 205. T: 0341.3555340. U Kochstraße.
E3/E4 MUST SEE Walk along one of the few surviving stretches of the Berlin Wall, then have all your questions answered at the information centre, offering detailed explanations on the Wall’s history and politics. Documents, photographs, and original radio broadcasts from the East and the West document one of Germany’s saddest historical periods. Open Tue–Sun 9:30am–7pm (until 6pm Nov– Mar). € free. www.berliner-mauergedenkstaette.de. Bernauer Str. 111. T: 030.467986666. U Bernauer Straße. E2
During the Cold War, Checkpoint Charlie was the main gateway between East and West. Shortly after the Wall went up, US and USSR tanks faced each other on this spot. Today, this Cold War symbol is mainly the backdrop for tourist photographs. U Kochstraße, U Stadtmitte. E3/E4
DID YOU KNOW? The Reichstag was completely wrapped by artist Christo in
East Side Gallery
While West Berliners loved to express their creativity by drawing graffiti and painting on the Wall, East Berliners were never allowed to use the dividing structure as their canvas. To make up for all the artless years, artists from 21 countries were called upon in 1990 to decorate one mile of the eastern segment of the Berlin Wall with their work, creating what is now known as the East Side Gallery. Mühlenstr. S+U Warschauer Straße, S Ostbahnhof. G4 Between 1941 and 1945, 50,000 Berlin Jews were packed into the freight and cattle cars of 186 trains leaving from Track 17 of the Grunewald Station, destined for the concentration camps and ghettos of Auschwitz, Theresienstadt, Riga, and Lodz. The track is no longer in use, and a plaque commemorates the tragic events. The small square in front of the S- Bahn station also features sculptures and installations dedicated to the deportees. S Grunewald. Off Map
MUST SEE Berlin’s tribute to the victims of the Shoah is as big as a soccer field and consists of 2711 tombstone-like slabs of equal size and varying heights placed on an uneven ground to convey a sense of claustrophobia and disorientation. The underground information centre provides a timeline of Jewish persecution. Accessible 24 hours a day. € free. www.holocaust-mahnmal.de. Cora-Berliner Straße. T: 030.2639430. U Brandenburger Tor. E3
Berlin’s best example of GDR- era neo-realist architecture. Built between 1950 and 1960, the 90-m-wide boulevard was meant to provide housing for thousands of people and a backdrop for military parades, and quickly became a source of national pride for the GDR. The residential tower blocks were inspired by Moscow and by Stalin’s ideal style, nationalistic in form but socialist in content. The boulevard is an important architectural showcase. Karl- Marx-Allee. U Weberwiese, Strausberger Platz. F3/G3
Once upon a time in Berlin, a German king bought a local porcelain factory, and Königliche PorzellanManufaktur was born. Today known as KPM Berlin for short, the company still makes exquisite, worldrenowned porcelain tableware and decorative goods. At its Tiergarten headquarters, the oldest still- running manufactory in the city, visitors can take a tour, take a break in the café, and – of course – shop for beautiful hand- painted porcelain.
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