In Berlin, you’ll find history everywhere and plenty of high-culture museums and galleries, but also street art, jazz and currywurst. The city is a living textbook on architecture, with plenty of palaces and memorials, but also easily accessible forests and lakes.
The 18 episodes in this series bring you all the background history and culture you need to fully understand Berlin. We help you ‘meet’ Frederick the Great, seek out the Berlin Wall, discover Germany’s best artists and decide whether to visit Charlottenburg or the lakes outside the city.
In short, here is all the research you’d do yourself if only you had the time! So, let’s go, or as the Germans say ‘Los geht’s!’
Willkommen in Berlin: welcome to Berlin. There’s nowhere quite like it: a turbulent history, an unrivalled cultural richness, green and modern and laid back all at once. The city of Marlene Dietrich and David Bowie, … Read more
Berlin’s two big-hitters, the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag (German Parliament) are conveniently close together. It is true of both that knowing a little of their history will enhance your visit: for Berliners themselves, their … Read more
A good plan for your first day in Berlin is to explore Unter den Linden, the mile-long boulevard which begins at the Brandenburg Gate and extends eastwards to Museum Island and the River Spree. It … Read more
There might be fewer ‘must-sees’ in the western half of Berlin than further east, but they are winners: a glorious park which began life as a 16th century royal hunting ground and is today the … Read more
Four Berlin Squares: here’s our idea for a walk which takes in four squares in what was East Berlin. They include everything from baroque splendour to the ultra-modern, via memories of East Germany. We’ve covered … Read more
Berlin does everything possible to make sure the Holocaust is never forgotten. This post is a guide to a number of places in the city where you can learn what happened and remember the victims, … Read more
The Berlin Wall is undoubtedly one of the 20th century’s most fascinating stories and this post will give you a little background, then describe three places you can visit in Berlin today to see what’s … Read more
What has happened to the GDR (German Democratic Republic), the country which was created when the Berlin wall went up and then disappeared when it came down? It was home to 17 million people for … Read more
Visiting Berlin’s art galleries can be confusing. Which is the main one? The best answer to that is that there are three, which between them display German and international art in roughly chronological order. The … Read more
Jews first settled in Berlin centuries ago and their culture has marked the city profoundly. A previous blogpost was about the holocaust and remembrance in Berlin; this one covers the places in the city where … Read more
The Palace of Charlottenburg, the former summer palace of the Hohenzollern family who ruled Prussia for five centuries until 1918, is in the west of the city, a ten minute walk from the Sophie-Charlotte-Platz stop … Read more
Writers have had much to say about Berlin. For David Bowie, Berlin was ‘the greatest cultural extravaganza one could imagine’, while Lonely Planet editors highlighted its ‘combo of glamour and grit.’ For the Cold War … Read more