MA­JOR SIGHTS

Where Berlin - - SIGHTSEEING THE GUIDE -

The “Alex” TV Tower

The 368m- (1027ft)- 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 atop houses a re­volv­ing restau­rant and café as well as a view­ing plat­form. The el­e­va­tor ride lasts 40 sec­onds. Ar­rive early to avoid lines. Daily 9am– mid­night (Nov– Feb from 10am). €13/8.50. www.tv-turm.de. Panora­mastr. 1a. T: 030.24757537. S+U Alexan­der­platz. F3

Bran­den­burg Gate

MUST SEE The de­fin­i­tive Berlin icon, 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. For­merly be­hind GDR bor­ders, to­day the gate acts mainly as 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, added in later years, that en­close a court­yard. The pic­turesque park sur­round­ing the cas­tle in­cludes a for­mal French-style gar­den, English gar­den with pond and stat­ues, belvedere, and mau­soleum. The cas­tle hosts tem­po­rary art and his­tory ex­hi­bi­tions. Tue–Sun 10am– 6pm (win­ter un­til 5pm). €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 pro­vides an ex­am­ple of early-19th- cen­tury Ger­man Se­ces­sion­ist style. The first court­yard is en­tirely dec­o­rated with glazed blue-and-white tiles in geo­met­ric de­signs, while the apart­ment build­ings and nar­row, maze-like al­leys lined with cafés, shops, and the­aters give the Höfe an at­mos­phere both fa­mil­iar and fas­ci­nat­ing. Rosen­thaler Str. 40- 41. S Hack­escher Markt. E2/F2

Kaiser-Wil­helm-Gedächt­niskirche

The church’s bombed- out bell tower has been an anti-war memo­rial and sym­bol of West Berlin ever since its ru­ins were re­stored to their present state in 1957. The old church now hosts an ex­hi­bi­tion of be­fore-and-af­ter photos documenting its and Ku'damm's for­mer splen­dor. In­side, look up to ad­mire what re­mains of the old mo­saic. Daily 9am–7pm. www.gedaecht­niskirche- berlin.de. Bre­itschei­d­platz. T: 030.2185023. U Zool­o­gis­cher Garten, Kur­fürs­ten­damm. C4

Niko­laivier­tel and Knoblauch­haus

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

Pots­damer Platz

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 per­cent of the square, which was left in limbo for a few years and then en­closed in a no-man’s-land be­tween the Wall and barbed wire fences. The square came back to life in the 1990s as a mod­ern rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of its orig­i­nal self. Divided in three slices, it in­cludes the Sony build­ing with its cen­tral plaza; 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, the mas­sive neo- Re­nais­sance build­ing, now the seat of Ger­man Par­lia­ment, has been bombed, set on fire, wrapped by artist Christo, and ren­o­vated by Lord Nor­man Fos­ter. Climb the glass cupola for a 360-de­gree view of the city, then gaze down at par­lia­ment in ses­sion. The ple­nary hall can be vis­ited only on guided tours. Cupola: Daily 8am– mid­night by ap­point­ment only. Free. Reg­is­ter on web­site; it is rec­om­mended to do so at least three days prior to your visit. Au­dio tours avail­able. www.bun­destag.de. Platz der Repub­lik 1. T: 030.22732152. U Bun­destag. D3/E3

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