Berlin is a city which has had a long and sometimes very tumultuous history. Dating back to the 13th Century, it has seen many good and bad times and all of this is reflected in the architecture and attitude of the city today. The 20th Century saw some of the worst times for this city, being badly damaged during the final fraught years of WW II and then broken and divided during the cold war, through all of this however, it has fought its way back and rebuilt itself into a young, modern, vibrant city that just longs to be explored.
Berlin is the largest city in Germany and also its Capital. It is renowned for its culture, art scene, modern architecture and great nightlife. Located in the North East of the country and lying on the Spree and Havel Rivers, Berlin is a World city of culture, politics, science and art. Due to the destruction of the city during the war years, Berlin is a city that is made up of many different styles which cover the many periods of its history. There are still a few stunning medieval buildings remaining in the city mainly in Alexanderplaz but most of the architecture is modern glass and concrete, a reflection of how the city has reconstructed itself in the last 60 years.
Much of the history of Berlin can be seen first hand when in the city, from the remains of the Berlin wall, the Grandeur of the Brandenberg gate to the Holocaust Memorial. This is a city that needs to be visited and explored, it is a city that has had to endure so much and has seen so much destruction, it is a place rich in modern, important history and if you have three days to go and explore it there is plenty for you to do and see.
The Brandenberg Gate is probably the most visual representation of Berlin, this neoclassical 18th Century monument is one of the best known sites in Germany not just Berlin and is one of the cities most important monuments. What was seen during the Cold War as a symbol of division between the divided city is now viewed by Germans as a symbol of peace and of a united country.
This statuesque monument was erected between 1788-1791. In 1793, The Quadriga, which is a sculpture which represents the Goddess of Victory was placed on top of the Gate and can be seen from a long way off. The statue was held by Napoleon in France between 1806-1814 during the wars with France and Prussia. Amazingly during the bombing that was carried out during WW II the gate was damaged but remained standing and was the only major landmark to survive the allied bombing.
A trip to the Brandenberg Gate is a must when visiting Berlin as it is one of the most visual images of the recent history if this country. The place that marked the division of the city was, in 1989 the place where people celebrated unification and is a poignant and moving reminder of the days in that year when Germany finally saw peace after such a long time of conflict.
Whilst there you can go and sit in the Room of Silence (Raum Der Stille) to contemplate on the history that surrounds this amazing monument. An amazing sight to see as well as the history that is attached, the Brandenburg Gate is a must visit destination in Berlin.
The great barrier that divided the city between 1961-1989, the Berlin Wall is another must see when visiting Berlin. What was once a 155 km stretch of concrete prefab slabs has been reduced to just 2 km left standing that now acts as a symbol of freedom, which was what had been taken away from east Berliners during the cold war years.
The best place to see what remains of the wall is a section called East Side Gallery, known as this because of the many murals painted on it by international artists after the wall started to come down.
For those wanting to explore the wall further, there are bike tours that will take you along part of the wall and you can walk the 160 km Berliner Mauerweg which is a walking and cycling path along the borders fortifications that used to be there.
If the history of the wall and all that it came to represent is something that you would like to explore further whilst in Berlin, then you can always pay a visit to Mauermuseum or Check Point Charlie as it is also known as, to delve deeper into the history of the Berlin Wall, read stories of those who escaped to freedom on the other side and see poignant remainders of those who risked their lives and died trying to escape.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 for its unique collection of buildings and artefacts, Museum Island which is an island on the River Spree is host to five World renowned museums. Made up of the Pergama Museum, Bode, Neues, Altes Museums and Alte National Galerie, Museum Island has many highlights just waiting to be discovered by its visitors.
The name Museum Island is given to the Northern half of the Island and it is the site of the old city of Cölln. All of the museums on the Island are part of the Berlin State Museums and all have historical and cultural importance for the artefacts they house. As well as having the museums on the Island, Berlin Cathedral was also built there as well as Lustgarten park.
An amazing place to take an entire day of your three days, to explore all that is on offer on the Island a day spent here will take you away from all the hustle and bustle of Berlin and lead you into the past discovering many things from history and some of the best cultural highlights of the world.
This is a wonderful way to see the museums in Berlin, a short distance from each other and with places to go to rest and recharge your batteries in between visits and places to go to eat, Museum Island is the perfect place to spend the day.
Holocaust Museum is also known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe and is a poignant place to visit whilst in Berlin. Located in the center of the city, the memorial remembers and honours the 6 million Jews that died during the second world war.
It is situated between the Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz. It was designed by Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold and consists of 2’711 concrete slabs that are arranged on a sloping field laid out in a grid pattern.
Attached in an underground information center “Place of Information” where the names of almost 3 million Jews are held. As well as that there is a time line of information about the beginnings of the Final Solution, when the National Socialists came to power in 1933 to the murder of 500,00 Jews in 1941. A sobering and haunting museum, this is an experience not to be missed as it is a reminder from the not too distant past of the atrocities that mankind is capable of and one that should not be forgotten.
The museum is free to enter and easily placed in the center of Berlin to take sometime out on your visit to go for some reflection an peace.
The Gendermanmarkt is a square in Berlin that is seen by many to be the most magnificent and beautiful in the city. It is the site of three of the most impressive buildings in the city, the cathedrals of France and Germany and Schinkel’s Konzerthaus, a famous concert hall in Berlin.
During your three days in Berlin a trip to Gendermanmarkt is an absolute must, to sample the delightful and stunning architecture and history that surrounds it. The square dates back to 1700 and is located in Berlin’s historic center and is one of the tourist hot spots of the city, in fact more than 1 million visitors come each year to sample the delights that it has to offer.
There are numerous cafes and restaurants here to just sit and relax for a few hours or if you prefer there are many shops and boutiques scattered around the square to spend some time and money in. For anyone interested in culture a trip to the famous concert hall is a must and there are many events that take place in the square during the year. In July, there are 5 classical open air concerts, where the square itself becomes a giant open air stadium with amazing light shows and fire works. In December, the square is transformed again into a magical Christmas Wonderland, with markets, performers, singing, dancing and a whole host of entertainment.
Berlin- What to Do In 3 Days – Final Words
Berlin is a wonderful city to go for a short break. In three days you can sample the delights of the famous Gendermenmarkt, be stunned at the size and grandeur of the Brandenberg gate and reflect and contemplate recent history at the Berlin Wall and Holocaust Museum.
For a city that has had so much to endure in its recent history it has so much to offer its visitors that you will find that it is a place that you will want to return to again and again.