Here are 5 Must-Do Sites and Tours to See in Berlin!
Berlin is a fascinating and growing European center with much to see and do! After the Revolutions of 1989 the divided city became one again. It was 1990 when East and West Germany unified and became one nation after 45 years of being divided into east and west, communist and free. These are the 5 Must-Do sites and tours you cannot miss when visiting Berlin!
A Tour of the Divided City
Berlin was divided by the winning nations of World War II in 1945. There was the American sector, French sector, British sector, and the Soviet sector. The Soviets eventually built a wall to keep East Berliners in the East. West Berlin represented freedom, and the chance to gain asylum in a free country. You’ll see pieces of the wall, guard towers, brass acknowledgements of those who escaped, Checkpoint Charlie (the US checkpoint), and a museum showing all of the incredible ways people made it to the west. Fascinating!
Boat Ride on River Spree
The River Spree flows through Saxony, Brandenburg and Berlin. Berliners will take the opportunity of a warm day and sit by the river, watching the tour boats on the way to Museum Island. The beautiful Moltke Bridge is a highlight on the tour, the bridge was built in 1891. It is most famous for the intense battle on the bridge that took place during the Battle of Berlin in April 1945. Units of the Soviet 3rd Shock Army fought to capture the bridge to enter Berlin. The bridge was partially blown up by the Germans who were hoping to stop the advance of the Russians. The Moltke Bridge was partially destroyed but allowed the Russians to pass and take the remaining areas of Berlin. The bridge was repaired a few years after the war and restored again in the mid-1980s (https://www.mustseeberlin.com/boroughs/mitte/moltke-bridge/). The boat rides are relaxing and informative, and a lovely way to spend an hour in Berlin. Pr
The Chancellery and Reichstag
The German Reichstag, or Parliament building, was built in 1894 in Berlin, the capitol of the new German state. In 1933, ironically about the time of Hitler’s rise to power, a mysterious fire occurred. The building was further damaged by the war, and after the war, the West German government’s capitol was Bonn. After German reunification in 1990 the building became used once again as the German Parliament. The new German Chancellery was opened in 2001, and is the office building of the German Chancellor. Angela Merkl is the present Chancellor. She offices there, and meets with cabinet and foreign officials there. She does not live there, preferring a small apartment in east Berlin., where she grew up. (Hitler’s New Reich Chancellery was constructed within a year by Hitler’s favorite architect Albert Speer. It was destroyed by the bombing, and later levelled by the Soviet army.)
The Elephant Gate
The Elephant Gate is one of two entrances to the Berlin Zoo, or Zoological Garden. The two sandstone elephants were placed there in 1844, and the first animals in the zoo were donated by Frederick William IV, King of Prussia. The elephants were destroyed by bombing in WWII, and only 91 of over 3500 animals lived through multiple bombings. Only one elephant survived: the bull Siam. The current elephants are reproductions of the originals, but they are so beautiful! The zoo is the largest in Germany.
The Brandenburg Gate is the most recognized monument in Berlin. It was built in the 18th Century on orders from Frederick William II. It was built on the site of a former city gate that marked the start of the road from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel, which was the capital city of the Margraviate of Brandenburg. The gate has served a major part in events of German history. The Nazis used the gate as a party symbol, and it was heavily damaged during the war. The gate was restored by the East and West governments to a certain extent, and when the Berlin Wall was built, almost overnight, in 1961, it became an impassable border and a symbol of oppression. In 1963 John F Kennedy made his famous “Berliner” speech in front of the western side of the gate. The Soviets hung red banners so he could not see East Berlin. In 1987 Ronald Reagan visited the wall and gave his famous “Mr Gorbachov, tear down this wall!” speech. The wall has been the backdrop for historical events since it was built. It is a beautiful site, especially at night!
If you aren’t in the planning stages, I highly recommend you consider a visit to Berlin! The city is so alive with people and exciting events! A good time is guaranteed!