Berlin_ Germany- A Modern City with a Historically Significant Past

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					Going to many of the celebrated metropolitan areas of Europe from London, we did not think Berlin
could be on the top of our list. But on the recommendation from many people in London who said it
would be definitely worth the trip, we decide to travel there. It is a city very easy to navigate, and
history, both modern and from the era of Frederick the Great make it especially fascinating from that
perspective. I've chosen four places that shouldn't be missed, but when you do go to Berlin be sure to
take a side trip to Potsdam. It is really not Berlin proper, but is a short trip and will have a lot to offer.

1. Brandenburg Gate. Originally constructed as a triumphal arch in 1791, it has had an interesting
past. After Napoleon captured Berlin in 1806 he took the Quadriga statue that sits atop the arch back to
Paris. It was returned in 1814 subsequent to his defeat. As became the majority in the city, it had been
terribly damaged during World War II, and after renovation saw additional damage in the course of the
celebrations following the fall of the Berlin Wall. As is the Eiffel Tower in Paris or Big Ben in London, it is
most likely Berlin's iconic monument.

2. Jewish Memorial. Just south of Brandenburg Gate, this memorial for the Jewish victims of the
Holocaust is quite controversial. It opened in 2005, and can be described as city block of 2711 concrete
slabs of varying heights and angles. You are going to be able to move through it, and occasionally you
will almost feel lost within its confines. At one of the corners will be an underground center for
information.

3. Reichstag. This is currently the Federal German Parliament, called the Bundestag, but in February
17, 1933 it was gutted by fire. The Nazis used this as an excuse for suspending basic freedoms. At the
present it's a tourist attraction, and nearly all people would agree the heavy safety measures and long
lines is well worth the delay to travel to the top.

4. KaDeWe (shopping). Not that shopping would be on my highlight list when visiting such a rich
historical locale like Berlin, but some, like Harrods in London, ought to be on your list. It is the biggest
department store within continental Europe, and one of the things that make it a great visit is the truly
extraordinary food area.

Remnants from the wall can be found here and there, plus there's a museum that is quite good farther
south from the Gate. Farther east within a distance you can walk comfortably is Checkpoint Charlie, the
best-known point for crossing from West and East Berlin throughout the cold war. There now exists a
kind of a imitation of what had been a historical location, but it is essentially a tourist trap.

Another place that I found that's quite historically noteworthy is the location of Hitler's wartime bunker.
It will be just south of the Jewish Holocaust Memorial, but unless you use a excursion guide you won't
find it, as it goes completely unmarked. But speaking of excursion guides, it is definitely best if you're
new in a city to find one. We had for a tour guide a chap from Liverpool who truly was very informed,
and was genuinely into it. There wasn't a fee, and he worked just on gratuities, which of course
everybody obliged. They can tell stories and bring you to places you might not stumble on from your
tour book. We highly recommend searching the web for one prior to you visiting a new city.

				
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