Berlin is the largest city in Germany and was its capital until the division of Germany into East and West after World War II. Berlin played a significant role in the Cold War, as it was divided into a free West Berlin and communist East Berlin, separated by the Berlin Wall. Since reunification it has resumed its position as the capital of Germany. If you are going to Berlin, here are five must-see sites:
Berlin Wall. Most of the Wall was destroyed after the fall of communism, but sections have been preserved. The best is beside the Spree River, between the Freidrichshain and Kreuzberg districts. Checkpoint Charlie, the famous crossing between East and West Berlin, has been preserved as a historical site. It features displays telling the story of the Wall.
Pergamon Museum. There are so many great museums in Berlin that it is hard to decide which to include. However, the Pergamon has one of the best collections of antiquities in the world. One is the Pergamon Altar, built in the second century B.C. in Asia Minor (now Turkey). Another is the Market Gate of Miletus, built around that same time in the ancient Greek city of Miletus, also in Asia Minor.
Bauhaus Museum. The Bauhaus was a school of art and design from 1919 until it was closed by the Nazis in 1933 due to a fear that it was promoting subversive ideas and degenerate art. Today the museum preserves and displays much of the ceramics, furniture, sculptures, prints, sketches, and photographs that were created by the former school.
Reichstag (Parliament Building). Opened in 1894, the Reichstag was built to house the German Parliament. It was damaged by fire in 1933 and fell into disuse during the Cold War when government was divided between East and West. It was renovated after reunification, and in 1999 it resumed its role as the meeting place of Parliament. The ascent to the central dome provides a panoramic view of the city.
Charlottenburg Palace. The largest palace in Berlin, this was built between 1695 and 1699 as the summer residence of Sophie Charlotte, wife of Frederick I, King of Prussia. The palace is richly decorated in rococo and baroque styles, and is surrounded by a lush, formal garden and woodlands.