The 10 Best Things to See in Berlin


Berlin: A Fun, Young, Historical City

Since moving to Europe, I have had a list of European cities that I must see before I leave. Berlin was at the top of the list. I had a lot of hopes for this city, and it didn't disappoint. Everyone says that it's great for young people, but I'm not a partier, so I didn't see much of that. But what I did see was a unique beauty of a city that got reunited 25 years ago. So here are the top ten things of a city that is basically a 20th Century historian's playground.

Checkpoint Charlie
10. Berlin Wall Memorial: this is another area where the wall still stands. But what makes it interesting is that it explains what the wall symbolized to so many people. It explained how it was built, and how people tried to escape it.

9. Reichstag Building: this building mixes old and modern. Its got that old parliament style to it but Berlin is a very modern city, so it also has a dome that people can go to the top to visit. But make sure that you book it in advance.

8. Museum Island: it was hard to choose just one museum on this island, so the whole island in general is great to visit. If you like Middle Eastern art, Egyptian art, Greek art, any art, this is the place to visit. Just be prepared for long lines, and see if you can buy passes in advance.

Inside the Holocaust Memorial

7. Alexanderplatz: this area is very interesting. It is near the old quarters of Berlin but it also near the East side of Berlin. So it shows this clash of two style of architectures. On one side you see the old, on the other, the conformity of the new. Of course you need to walk around the area to see it, but it's very interesting.

6. Checkpoint Charlie: while it's just some stand in the middle of the road, it's the idea behind it that's interesting. It is the point of being able to cross from one sector to another, an American sector. So of course all of the American military historians have to visit this site. But the nearby museums shed more light on very famous checkpoint.

5. Holocaust Memorial: this controversial memorial is something that you should see to decide for yourself. People originally debated if Germany has the right to build memorials to the Holocaust, and obviously the side that believed that it was necessary won. But next to the importance of the memorial is how unique it is. It is blocks that you can walk between. No names are written, no numbers are counted. Instead you are walking around feeling empty, confused, and dizzy, all feelings of victims of the Holocaust. So check it out to decide for yourself what you think about this hot topic memorial.

Segments of the Berlin Wall at the Berlin Wall Memorial

4. Brandenburg Gate: have I mentioned by love of triumphal arches. Well the Brandenburg Gate makes the top ten list of arches. It's huge and of course it was the site where David Hasselhoff sang about freedom as the wall came down. And whether you are a fan of the Hoff or not, it's worth a visit.

3. Topography of Terror: this museum stands on the grounds of the former Gestapo Headquarters. The museum does a fantastic job at explaining how the Nazis systematically murdered millions of people. Whether you know a lot about the Holocaust or just a little bit, the information is presented well and is worth the visit.

2. East Side Gallery: when people think of the Berlin Wall, they think of all the graffiti. The East Side Gallery, just along the river, is a great place to see those famous markings on the wall. It is also one of the longest segments of the wall.

1. DDR Museum: this museum is very interactive and is great for people who like to learn about the lives of everyday people, not just the heads of government or the trouble makers. This museum is a collection of things from the east side of Berlin, like clothes, cars, even toothpaste. And it explains the downfall of the DDR as well. It was a great museum to visit for all ages.

For museums like the DDR museum, anything on Museum Island, and the Reichstag Building, make sure to buy tickets in advance. Even in the freezing cold winter the lines are very long.

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