Berlin: A Troubled Past, A Promising Future

By: Gaizka Pujana

Berlin, the capital of Germany, is a city that is rich in history, despite the fact that a large proportion of the city was destroyed during World War II. Most of the city has been rebuilt, restored and rejuvenated since that time and it is now a wonderful place to view old and new side by side.

Berlin had been divided for over 28 years by the Berlin Wall. When the wall came down in 1989, it was a leap forward for the city. You can see countless attractions and landmarks throughout East and West Berlin. Besides for the history that can be found there, Berlin is a vibrant cosmopolitan city today with a lively nightlife, bars, dancing floors and a number of underground clubs.

When you are visiting Berlin, make sure to spend some time at Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial, the Jewish Museum and the Keiser-Wilhelm Memorial. There are sections of the Berlin Wall that are still standing and you should definitely have a look at part of it. The most famous part of the wall is known as Checkpoint Charlie. Other popular tourist attractions in Berlin include the Fernsehturm Television Tower, which is the tallest structure in the city and which includes a revolving restaurant at its top, Potsdamer Platz, which is one of the busiest squares in Europe and contains many shops, bars, cafes and places of entertainment, and the Reichstag, which is the old German parliament building. The Reichstag has a large glass dome that was constructed on top of it that you can enter. It affords you a stunning view of the city.

If you are looking for culture, Berlin is home to many museums and galleries. Museum Island is a complex of five museums and the Egyptian Museum contains many artifacts, dating as far back as 6,000 years. Art galleries in the city house the sculptures and paintings of famous artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso and Cezanne. There are many other architecturally beautiful buildings and places of fascinating historical interest throughout the city. You can view some surviving medieval buildings, as well as ultra-modern glass and steel buildings. You are able to purchase a 3-day 'welcome card' at tourist offices, ticket offices and some hotels. This will provide you with up to 50% discounts on museum and other attraction entry, as well as free inner city transport on the bus and train networks.

Berlin is full of holiday accommodation options. There are many hotels in the city and it is possible to find fairly cheap prices, even if you are looking at the five star category of hotel. Most of the better hotels can be found in the Western part of Berlin the section that was once East Berlin does not have the same standard of hotels or of other tourist facilities. If you are a member, you can stay at a youth hostel or if you not a member, you can stay at a regular hostel. These are among the cheapest accommodation options in the city. It is also possible to find private bed and breakfasts or boarding houses.

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