The capital of Germany, Berlin, has a rich history. Architectural treasures and momentous events color this city and give it its character. There are a number of things that you can do on a visit to Berlin, including entertainment, drinking, eating, drinking, and sightseeing. And drinking. But there are four things that you should not overlook on a visit to the city. Your trip will be greatly enhanced when you keep these things in mind.
Murdered Jews of Europe Memorial. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe opened in May of 2005. It is near downtown, so it is easy to visit while you are taking care of other business or looking at other things. Plus, it is close to public transportation (this is the best way to travel, no matter where you are in Europe). A beautiful garden is one of the more serene features of the memorial. Stories and histories of the Jewish victims of World War II are displayed, some with photos. It serves to remind us of what we should not let happen again, to any race or people.
East Side Gallery. Another monument to Germany’s painful past, the East Side Gallery is the name given to the longest stretch of what remains of the Berlin Wall. Artwork covers its length, much of it in bright colors (contrasting almost-jarringly with the bleak cityscape). Emotional and political statements are present, and some of the artwork is quite good.
St. Nicholas Church. This centuries-old church is an example of architectural work in progress. Some portions of St. Nicholas Church date back to before 1307. The church is one of the many edifices built in honor of the saint known for his giving, that later became the Santa Claus of legend. Ornamental towers and a presbytery are among the features added through the centuries. During World War II it was hit by bombs, and the ruined sections were not rebuilt. It is meant to testify of war’s destruction.
Chartlottenburg Palace. For lovers of Baroque architecture, this palace is a must-see. Even for those who do not have a particular for love architecture, this immense building is well worth seeing. A guided tour is not necessary, and you can take in the grandiose rooms on your own. However, there are some opulent treasures that can only be viewed as part of the tour. Pick up an information sheet on your way in though (available in many languages), since the tour is only conducted in German.