Berlin's Top 10 Attractions
Top pick 1: Reichstag
When the decision was made to move the Federal Government to Berlin, it was time to reawaken the Reichstag building from its long years of slumber on the Mauerstreifen, the military zone between the two sides of the Wall. The building has since been completely modernised, and today's visitors to the Reichstag can look out from the building's glass dome to get a bird's eye view of the hustle and bustle in the city. There are also a number of government buildings in the vicinity of the Reichstag, for example the Bundeskanzleramt (Federal Chancellery) and the Brandenburg Gate.
Top pick 2: Brandenburg Gate
Without a doubt, the Brandenburg Gate is Berlin's signature attraction. Built in 1791, it was just one of many old city gates around the city of Berlin which, at that time, was still a manageable size. The decorative Pariser Platz was laid at the foot of the gate and is now home to many of the city's important buildings, for example, the Hotel Adlon with its wealth of history and the Akademie der Künste (Academy of the Arts).
Top pick 3: Berlin Television Tower (Fernsehturm)
The Berlin Television Tower, which is known to locals as the Fernsehturm, and is instantly recognisable from the distance, stand outs of the skyline at 368m, making it the tallest building in Berlin. Built in the 1960s, visitors to the tower can enjoy a unique 360° panorama of the city.
Top pick 4: Gendarmenmarkt
The Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most stunning squares in the city, located close to Friedrichstraße, Berlin's exclusive shopping street in the central Mitte district. Three of the most impressive examples of architecture in the capital city are to be found here: the Concert House designed by Schinkel and the German and French Cathedrals (the Deutscher Dom and the Französischer Dom).
Top pick 5: Berlin Cathedral
The German Cathedral (Berliner Dom) with its magnificent dome is a remarkable example the of late 19th century architecture. Near the Cathedral are also the German Historical Museum and the Museum’s Island. On the side of Berlin’s boulevard “Unter den Linden” stands the Catholic St.Hedwigs-Cathedral.
Number 6: Kurfürstendamm
Extending all the way from the ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Breitscheidplatz to Berlin's elegant Halensee neighbourhood, the affectionately termed Ku’damm is the most expensive address in the capital city and home to the most exclusive brands. Europe's biggest department store KaDeWe is also situated on the extension of the Ku'damm, on the street known to locals as the Tauentzien (short for Tauentzienstrasse). The little ones will just love the Zoological Garden, Germany's oldest zoo.
Number 7: Charlottenburg Palace
The magnificent Charlottenburg Palace is located just out of the centre of the city. The beautiful palace hosts fine collections of china and paintings and is situated in the middle of a picturesque palace garden right next to the river Spree. If you don't fancy a walk in the park, you can feed your mind instead in the Charlottenburg museums located directly opposite.
Top pick 8: Museum Island
Berlin's Museum Island is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites and home to the city's most important exhibition centres: the Altes Museum (Old Museum), the Neues Museum (New Museum) the Bode Museum, the Pergamon Museum and the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery). The collections in these buildings encompass over 6,000 years of art and cultural history.
Top pick 9: The Berlin Wall Memorial and Documentation Centre
The Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial) is located between the districts of Wedding and Mitte on Bernauer Straße, consisting of the Memorial to the Victims of the Wall, a Documentation Centre and the Chapel of Reconciliation. The surviving section of the wall and watchtower enable visitors to get a real feel for the reality of the border facilities. The Memorial has been undergoing extension work in recent years, the full completion of which is intended for 2014.
Top pick 10: Potsdamer Platz
Once the bustling heart of the city before the Second World War, then a no man's land from 1945 until the fall of the wall, the history of Potsdamer Platz has been eventful to say the least. It changed completely after the fall of the wall in 1989 and is now dominated by the presence of the Sony Center, skyscrapers and endless shops. What's more, Potsdamer Platz is the main place to be for stars and celebrities, and not only during film festivals.
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