Berlin - sightseeing
Some of the most interesting monuments, museums and areas in Berlin.
Since in 1945, at the end of the Second World War, Berlin was little more than a pile of rubble, and that after Germany split into two parts it was the point of closest contact of two competing cultures, it has been the site of a great deal of architectural efforts.
While the Eastern part of Berlin is characterized by huge avenues, like the Karl Marx Allee, with huge symmetric buildings that may not be that beautiful but are certainly imposing, the Western part is full of masterpieces of modern architecture, with works by the most prominent German architects and a choice of the best architects from all over the world.
After the reunification, the architectural efforts have all but waned: the whole of Potsdammer Platz, which had been razed during the war and, being near the wall, had not been rebuilt. In the years following 1989 it has become one of the biggest construction sites in the world, and is now a place where you can find buildings by the likes of Renzo Piano and Helmut Jahn.
If you’re particularly interested in modern architecture, we suggest you to buy one of the specific guides which can be found in the best bookshops around the city.
Potsdam is a small city not far from Berlin. It is definitely worth a visit due to the Sans Souci Palace, which comprises a series of parks and villas.
The park is huge and full of nice little spots, fountains, buildings and statues, so it is advised to take a whole day to enjoy it properly.
To the north west of Ernst-Reuter-Platz, in parkland that runs alongside the river Spree, there is a castle named Charlottenburg. It is the largest and most prestigious castle in the city, built at the end of the 17th century as the summer residence for Queen Sophie Charlotte. A Protector of the arts, the sovereign turned Charlottenburg into a meeting place for intellectuals and musicians. The castle was seriously damaged by bombs during the last war, and was rebuilt by copying photographs, sketches and designs. The interiors too have been returned to their antique splendour, thanks to the restoration of decorations and furniture.
An area with a very high museum density
The Kultur Forum, located slightly west of the Potsdamer Platz quarter, is an extraordinary group of museums, galleries, libraries and concert halls and is considered to be one of the best cultural centres in Germany. It also includes the Gemäldegalerie, one of the most prestigious art galleries in the country that houses a large collection of paintings by European Masters dating from the 13th to the 18th centuries.
The island which is located between two branches of the River Spree, at the eastern end of the Unter den Linden, is called Museuminsel. There is an impressive group of five important museums on it: the Alte Nationalgalerie houses an important collection of pictures and sculptures from the 14th to the 20th centuries. The Alte Museum has collections of classical art and German Masters. The Pergamonmuseum is an exceptional museum of art and antique architecture, including the marvellous Frieze of the Pergamon Altar. The Bodemuseum and the Neues Museum are currently undergoing restoration.
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