On the Modern Europe program, we go to several fascinating cities, one of them being Berlin. I’ve wanted to go to Berlin ever since my mom went a couple of years ago. She showed us pictures of the Wall, the Cathedral, etc. I think it’s a beautiful city and I can’t wait to visit this summer! So, I have compiled a list of places I’d like to see (in no particular order) and a short summary about their history.
In 1961, the German Democratic Republic constructed the Berlin wall, dividing West Berlin from East Germany. The reason for the wall was to keep what were considered “fascists” from West Germany coming into East Germany and threatening their Socialist state. In 1992 the Wall was finally demolished, and Germany was reunified. I’d like to see what remains of the Berlin Wall and hear learn a bit more of its history.
2. The Berlin Cathedral
The Berlin Cathedral is a protestant church located on Museum Island of Berlin. The building is beautiful, with touches of Baroque, Renaissance, and Neoclassical architecture. Built in the early 1900s, the cathedral is the largest and most significant Protestant church in Berlin.
3. Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie was the best-known checkpoint where foreign travelers -and only foreign travelers- could cross West Berlin to East Germany and vice versa. East Germans desperately tried to flee to West Germany through Checkpoint Charlie, but only a few were successful. Now, the guardhouse is sat in the Allied Museum in Berlin.
From sausages to jam-filled Berliners, German cuisine is seemingly very unique and delicious. I want to explore all their varieties of food, like currywurst and schnitzel. During my travels I think it is important to also broaden one’s platter and see what different parts of the world have to offer.
A big part of Germany’s history is of course, the Holocaust. About 6 million innocent Jews slaughtered by the hands of Nazis. Germany has since recognized the terrible event and established the Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe, which holds about 3 million names of Jews murdered during the Holocaust.
The Brandenburg Gate stands on the west side of the Pariser Platz (a square in Berlin named after Paris) and is a well-known landmark in Germany. The Neoclassical structure was ordered by the Prussian King, Frederick William II to be built during the Batavian Revolution (the end of the Dutch Republic and the beginning of the Batavian Republic).
A restaurant and shop filled square, the Potsdamer Platz is historically a road that led through the Berlin Wall through the Potsdam Gate. As well as learning Berlin’s history, I am excited to have fun in Berlin, and explore their shops and places to eat. Along with the typical shopping areas and cafes, it also contains a museum dedicated to Salvador Dali’s art.
Right next to Potsdamer Platz is the Leipziger Platz. This one includes an extremely large mall, the Mall of Berlin, and a Spy Museum. The octagonal square is located right at the center of Berlin and is filled with modern buildings.
The Sanssouci Palace was the gorgeous summer palace of the king of Prussia, Frederick the Great. The grounds are now open to visitors, and the architecture, along with the gardens, is a sight to see. Before I go, I want to do my research behind it as I don’t know very much about the history of the palace, so I can fully appreciate its beauty.
Mauerpark is a park in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin. The locals gather and have picnics and markets throughout the week, and the park is always full of people having fun with friends and family. It seems like a fun place to spend your summer days basking in the sun and relaxing.
Although I probably will not get to do everything I hope to do during my first trip, that is just another reason to come back! I’ve always loved the history of such places, and it’s so amazing to me to get to walk streets and see sights that have so much meaning behind them. I am eager to finally get on a plane and come to Berlin, but for now I am trying to learn about what I will be seeing as much as I can.