Things to Do in Berlin - page 3
The Berlin Dungeon takes visitors on an hour-long journey through the city’s dark history, from the Middle Ages through the 19th century. While exploring the 2,500 square meters of the Dungeon, you will experience the thin line between humor and terror thanks to the various areas with different themes based on real events in Berlin's history, as well as nine different shows performed in both German and English by live actors.
Gripping storytelling, special effects and rides bring the history to life in a way that's both funny and scary. You'll meet characters from Berlin's past, such as twisted Monk Pater Roderich and infamous serial killer Carl Grossmann. Experience a river raft ride, the Elevator of Doom, the Labyrinth of the Lost, the deadly plague in Kloster Strasse, the fearsome torture chamber and the legend of the White Lady. The Berlin Dungeon occasionally has special events for certain holidays, like Halloween and Christmas.
The Deutscher Dom, or German Cathedral in English, was built in the early 1700s in Berlin and was originally known as the Neue Kirche, or New Church. The church was badly damaged during World War II and was slowly rebuilt in the 80s and 90s. Today it is a museum and no longer holds religious services. The permanent exhibition on display is called "Wege - Irrwege - Umwege" which roughly translates to “Paths - Meanderings - Detours” and explains the historical development of the liberal parliamentary system in Germany.
The museum focuses on periods of history when the foundations were laid for political order in the Federal Republic of Germany. The exhibits are on five floors and include displays, documents, photographs, and time lines. These exhibits provide visitors with an detailed look at the parliamentary decision making process as well as the functions and methods of the representative bodies. By visiting this museum, visitors will gain insight into the work done by the German political parties.
The Bode is one of the five museums on Berlin’s UNESCO World Heritage–listed Museum Island. It is now home to the Sculpture Collection, with works from the early Middle Ages to the 18th century; the Museum of Byzantine Art, with pieces from the 3rd to the 15th century, and the Numismatic Collection, one of the world’s largest coin cabinets.
One of Berlin’s most historically significant and symbolic locations, Friedrichstrasse runs straight through the center of the city. This buzzing shopping street and cultural hub was the site of part of the Berlin Wall, and today it still bears reminders of that turbulent period in Germany’s past. In fact, Checkpoint Charlie stands at one end.
Berlin’s DDR Museum features interactive exhibits highlighting what life was like during communist rule under the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik or DDR), the governing power in Germany during the Cold War. More than 200,000 artifacts on display give visitors a realistic view of this era.
Little Big City Berlin tells the story of Germany’s capital city from the Middle Ages to modern day, using intricate replica models at a scale of 1:24. The miniature world is set up on two floors of the landmark TV tower building by Merlin Entertainments (the company behind Madame Tussauds and Legoland). From medieval farmsteads to the imperial age and the rise and fall of the Third Reich and the Berlin Wall, Little Big City Berlin presents big epochs in small scale.
The model city is interactive, with plenty of moving, turning, and flying pieces. Captivating special effects and beautifully crafted 3D interactive miniature sets bring the visitor closer to the city’s history than ever before. Creating Little Big City Berlin was a three-year process, with each building requiring 15-20 hours just to paint. More than 5,000 residents 'live' in Little Big City Berlin, adults and children in figurines ranging from 2 to 3 inches (5cm to 8cm) tall.
A unique and moving tribute to one of the everyday heroes of World War II, the Otto Weidt Museum tells the story of the site's history as Weidt's Workshop for the Blind. Visually impaired himself, Weidt owned and ran a factory in this space, producing brooms and brushes during the war and employing about 30 blind and deaf Jews between the years of 1941 and 1943.
Weidt went to great lengths to keep his employees safe from persecution, even finding places for some to hide, falsifying documents, helping them escape from assembly camps by bribing the Gestapo to have his workers released.
Today, the museum is devoted to telling compelling Weidt's story with letters, poems and photographs displayed alongside the personal stories of his former employees. The workshop is mostly in the same state it was in during the war, allowing travelers to get an authentic look at the conditions where employees worked and where one family hid behind a backless cupboard in the space.
A series of eight enclosed courtyards, ringed with art nouveau (jugendstil) buildings, Hackesche Höfe is the largest complex of its kind in Berlin. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the courtyard area has become a popular central meeting point, home to numerous bars, restaurants, shops, and galleries.
The last standing example of the BT-6 watch towers that stood guard over the Berlin Wall, the GDR Watch Tower was built in 1966 and used to survey the border between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. Hidden away on a side street, close to the bustle of Potsdamer Platz, the tower is a somber reminder of Berlin’s recent history.
The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is one of the largest LEGO boxes in the world, so it only makes sense that people come from all over to get creative and play with the 4 million LEGO pieces here. But it's not just piles of LEGOS.
Explore MINILAND, the Medieval Dragon Castle and the scientific LEGO Factory, and watch the exciting 4D Clutch Powers film. You can make your own real LEGO pieces at the factory, race LEGO cars in the Build and Test Centre or fly around high up on the magical Merlin ́s Apprentice carousel. See a miniature version of Berlin made out of LEGOS, or check out the mini Star Wars section, complete with scenes from Episode I built from these tiny pieces.
More Things to Do in Berlin
Hidden beneath street level in Berlin is a network of darkened shelters, tunnels, abandoned underground stations, and bunkers. The Berlin Underground Museum (Berliner Unterwelten) offers tours of these secret subterranean spaces, some of which were used as air-raid shelters during World War II and as escape tunnels during the Cold War.
The Gemälde Gallery, also known as the Picture Gallery, is home to one of the most significant collections of European paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries. The Berlin museum, which opened in 1998, houses more than 1,000 paintings and boasts numerous works by important artists including Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens, and Rembrandt.
The Old Jewish Cemetery (Alter Jüdischer Friedhof) was built in 1672. As many as 12,000 Jewish people were buried here, including Moses Mendelssohn, a philosopher and forefather of the Jewish Enlightenment. The cemetery was destroyed during World War II but has been restored with plaques honouring those who were buried here.
Nestled along the River Spree, Treptower Park is a popular 208-acre (84-hectare) green space in the urban jungle of Berlin, beloved for its vast lawns and river access. Locals flock here during summer for a respite from big-city life, but most travelers know the park as the site of the large Soviet War Memorial.
A pulsating hub for the city’s art scene, pretty Prenzlauer Berg is a neighborhood in central Berlin just west of Mitte. Compared with other areas of the city, this former East Berlin district was relatively spared during the World War II bombings, and as a result, over 300 buildings have been preserved and protected as historic monuments.
Berlin’s extensive Jewish Museum (Jüdisches Museum) explores the history of Jewish people in Germany. By telling stories through personal objects, the museum closely examines the events of the past, including the persecution of Jews throughout Europe and the Holocaust.
Berlin’s biggest cultural center is the Kulturforum, an affiliation of 12 prestigious museums, galleries, libraries, churches and concert halls whose overall concept was designed by Modernist architect Hans Scharoun in the 1960s. The forum sits just off Potsdamer Platz, which was brutally divided by the Berlin Wall during the Cold War, and it came to represent West German success in the face of increasing poverty and degradation in East Germany before the Wall was ripped down in 1989. Today it is highly regarded both for its architectural diversity and its top-quality museums.
Places of interest at the Kulturforum include the Gemäldegalerie, with a world-class collection of medieval art, and the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery), a steel and-glass masterpiece designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1968 that houses Germany’s most important collection of European art — it is currently closed until 2019 for refurbishment. Along with collections of musical instruments and graphic arts, the Museum of Applied Art (Kunstgewerbemuseum) is also on the plaza, housed in purpose-built gallery designed by Rolf Gutbrod in 1985. Likewise the Berlin Philharmonic and State Library (Staatsbibliothek) are located in the Kulturforum and both are the work of Hans Scharoun. A new Museum of Modern Art is scheduled for 2020.
Berlin's Classic Remise opened in 2003 as the first classic car center of its kind in the world. Housing garages, services and dealers, as well as model cars, restaurants and shops selling spare parts, clothing and accessories,the site is a major hub for car lovers.
Located in a historic 1899 tram depot that was lightly damaged during war time, the Classic Remise has parts of its ceiling with visible bomb damage still present. When the tram system was abandoned in the 1960s, the depot was no longer useful and remained abandoned until 2002. Today, the decidedly modern interior offers 88 glass boxes to showcase classic cars in addition to the dealer showrooms, giving it a museum-like quality. Many specialists work in the center, offering motor and mechanical work, bodywork and repainting. The Classic Remise also caters to motorcycle enthusiasts, with dedicated bike specialists.
Potsdam’s stunning gardens, and the historic buildings within them, comprise part of the largest UNESCO World Heritage Site in Germany. Built during the reign of Frederick the Great of Prussia, in the middle of the 18th century, these gardens originally surrounded the palaces and buildings that made up the royal family’s summer residence.
The Old National Gallery (Alte Nationalgalerie) is the third-oldest museum on Berlin’s UNESCO World Heritage–listed Museum Island (Museumsinsel). Its collection showcases 19th-century artists such as Monet, Renoir, and Rodin. The interior of the neoclassicist building are influenced by Prussian classicism thanks to King Frederick William IV.
The Platz der Republik in Berlin is a square in front of the Reichstag Building, which is the German government building and the seat of the German Parliament. The square covers an area of more than 397,000 square feet and is almost entirely covered in grass. There are also a few hedges and trees. The square was originally called Königsplatz, which means Square of the King, but in 1926 the name was changed since the monarchy was abolished. However, when the Nazis came to power in 1933, the name was changed back to Königsplatz. In 1948 the name reverted back to Platz der Republik once again.
Today visitors can relax in the square and enjoy being surrounded by important symbols of Germany's history as well as its present. You can take a tour of the Reichstag Building where the glass-domed roof offers great views of the city and an audio guide tells stories of the country's history and explains how the German government works. Also nearby is Brandenburg Gate.
Located in the heart of Berlin’s theater district, the magnificent Friedrichstadt-Palast is Europe’s largest revue theater. With one hundred years of putting on big show entertainment, it’s a must-visit for glitzy Vegas-style shows with high-kicking showgirls, death-defying acrobats, a 60-person ballet troupe, and high-tech special effects.
Berlin is full of reminders of the horrors of World War II. One of the more subtle memorials was inaugurated in 1998 at Platform 17 (Gleis 17) in Berlin’s Grunewald S-Bahn station. During World War II, Grunewald station was a major site for the deportation of Jews, mostly to ghettos and concentration camps, by the Deutsche Reichsbahn.
The Marble Palace (Marmorpalais) is the former royal residence in Potsdam, Germany, outside of Berlin. It sits on the grounds of the Neuer Garten along the shores of the Heiliger Lake. It was designed in a Neoclassical style in the late 1700s and remained as the home of royalty until the early 20th century. Today the palace serves as a museum and is open to the public. Visitors can explore the interiors and see early classical furniture and detailed arches, which have different designs in almost every room.
The Marble Palace also has several marble fireplaces and ancient sculptures that were obtained from Italy. Local trees were used for creating the high quality wood floors and other detailed aspects of the palace. Some of the walls are covered in fine silks. Other impressive items on display here include two grandfather clocks and an extensive collection of ceramic vases. Most of the rooms have been preserved in their original state, giving visitors a good look at how royalty lived.
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