Berlin, the capital city of Germany, elaborately captures the atrocities of the Nazi rule, the assault on Jews and the recent partition of Germany after Second World War. It has seen one of the worse time of the history and yet has emerged today as a powerful city with anecdotes that can withheld the soul. This article includes a day walk through Berlin, Germany.
Berlin interestingly is also one of the cheapest cities in Europe. It takes 3.4 Euros to reach from the airport to the main city, unlike expensive express trains or dedicated modes of transportation that other cities have. This covers transportation across all zones via trains, trams and buses. All important sites of tourist interest are within walking distance and hence, one can easily visit them.
Golden Victory Tower and Tiergarten
Start with the Golden Victory Tower. A beautiful golden statue marking the victory of Prussia outlines the perfect beginning for the walking tour. One can also climb 285 steps to reach the panoramic view point. It is advisable to start the walking tour early in the morning to capture the best view.
Get along the adjacent park called Tiergarten which is huge and beautiful. The gardens also have the memorial wall that is worth paying a visit.
Cross the boulevards of the garden to experience the aura of Brandenburg Gate. Once a symbol of division, today it is a symbol of unity. Ironically, Napoleon stole the Queen of Peace which is placed right above the gate. When he lost the war, The Queen was brought back to Berlin and then was called as Queen Victoria.
Brandenburg Gate is like the center of the city from where a number of free walking tours begin. My recommendation would be to attend Sandemann tours. Actually, these are not really free tours but tip- based tours where one should pay the guide for their time and efforts. The walking tour guide introduces the tourists to the various sites in the city, building an interest to understand the city culture and history better.
Jews Memorial and Potsdamer Platz
If a guided walking tour is not possible, follow the route to Jews Memorial. Jews Memorial was designed by the architect called Peter Eisenman and the engineer named Buro Happold. It consists of 2,711 concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern. Jews Memorial is the tribute to all the six million innocent Jews who were mercilessly murdered under the Nazi Rule. It is also said that each block might represent a specific number of Jews who were a part of the Nazi holocaust. The other theory says the unusual size of the blocks could also be adults, teens and children who were the victims of the holocaust. The holocaust was cruel and the memorial defines the portrayal very well.
7 minutes walk and you will reach Hitler’s Bunker. Although one cannot see the bunker now as it is a residential area, but it’s good to know the place where ‘incidentally’ Hitler died.
A few steps down the lane and there is Potsdamer Platz. The new Berlin redeveloped after the fall of the wall. Perhaps, it still carries those reminiscences.
Topography of Terrors and the Wall of Berlin
Topography of Terrors is like an exhibition that has a chronological description of all the events that took place in Berlin from early 90s to Nazis’ rule to the Cold War. Yet, for me, it was another story untold.
The Wall of Berlin today has multiple big holes that narrate a story. In 1989, East German Communist Party announced that citizens of the GDR can cross the border whenever they pleased. This led to the crowd pushing themselves against the wall, shattering and breaking it and hence, those biiiiiiiiiiig holes.
Trabi World, Checkpoint Charlie and Gendarmenmarkt
Trabi World showcases exquisite vintage German cars worth clicking. One can also rent the car for a price and an unmatched experience. It is said that apparently during the cold war, the delivery of the car used to take as long as 20 years! So father should book the car on the birth of his son to gift him as a surprise on his 20th!
Checkpoint Charlie is the cross border point between East and West Germany. This was the third Cross Border Point and hence, was named as ‘C’harlie after ‘A’lpha and ‘B’eta. Alpha and Beta do not exist anymore. One can also find policemen here in their uniforms- inviting tourists for a click!
Gendarmenmarkt is the beautiful square having French Cathedral on one side, German on the other side and a Concert Hall sandwiched between the two. A perfect square for taking a small break and indulging in some good food.
Bebelplatz and Berlin Cathedral church
Bebelplatz marks one of the major incidents in Germna history called Nazi book burning. Started by the nationalist German Student Association, around 20,000 books were burnt on this day. Today, empty shelves in the basement protected by a glass floor represent the strength of that event. Well they say, knowledge is power and yes, has the power to lead or mislead.
Berlin Cathedral church is Berlin’s largest protestant cathedral on the river Spree. Although it was damaged in the second world war, it was restored back in the early 90s. It definitely radiates its own aura and can be felt from a distance.
Finally, walk around the museum island having 5 museums on the river spree. It is a good idea to soak in to city and integrate its vibes after a long walking tour. At the very near end of this tour, there is a highly recommended indian restaurant called Amrit. The perfect place for a fine dine, to relax and to end a wonderful walking tour of Berlin.
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