Berlin has recreated itself into an international city with diverse cultures and architecture. Explore the most famous landmarks in Berlin.
Berlin, The capital and largest city in Germany, Berlin has one of the richest histories of any city in the entire world. It is the second most populous city in Europe, with multiple monuments found all over the city that act as landmarks for important events that took place there throughout the years.First mentioned in the 13th century, it wasn’t until 1871 that Berlin became the capital of the German Empire, and despite the devastation of WWII followed by decades of decay to the east of the infamous Berlin Wall, the rebuilt city today stands as a testament to the country’s economic and cultural importance. Berlin offers an eclectic mix of new and classic architecture, dynamic entertainment, shopping, and a wide variety of sports and cultural institutions.
The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is in the center of the Breitscheidplatz in Berlin. The original church was built between 1891 and 1895 by Kaiser Wilhelm II. During WWII the church burned down after it was hit by an allied bomb, only the broken west tower of the church was still standing. In 1961 a new church, consisting of 4 buildings, was constructed around the remains of the old church. The concrete and glass structure is a fascinating counterpoint to the neo-Romanesque old church that it surrounds. Photos of the original church can be found in the remaining west tower along with some of the original mosaics.
Though much of the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, portions of the Wall can be found throughout different areas of the city. The two most famous locations are found in the courtyard of the American Embassy in Berlin, and the John F. Kennedy High School in Berlin. Some segments of the Wall are plain cement white, while others are coated in colorful graffiti and street art. These monuments remember the barrier that once separated East Germany and West Germany, and now represents the reunification of Germany and disestablishment of Communism, which occurred upon the end of the Cold War.
The Brandenburg Gate is located in the center of Berlin and is one of the only German landmarks that survived World War II. It features 12 large columns upholding a horse-drawn carriage steered by Victoria (Goddess of Victory). Installed in 1793, it symbolized Prussian victories over Napoleon. The Nazis also used the Brandenburg Gate as a symbol of their party. Conversely, multiple U.S. presidents have given speeches at the Gate. One block south is the mighty Reichstag building, another German landmark. The Gate is open 24 hours per day.
Potsdamer Platz was the heart of Berlin prior to World War II and then became a no-man’s land after the division of the city following the war. Following the fall of the wall the rebirth of the area has been nothing short of incredible.
Berlin Zoological Gardens
Zoologischer Garten Berlin is the oldest such establishment in Germany and remains one of Berlin’s most popular attractions, welcoming more than three million guests each year. Established in 1844 and completely rebuilt after WWII, this very modern zoo and its aquarium does an excellent job of displaying the animals in its care in their natural environment, and has earned a reputation for its many successful breeding programs.
Five museums comprise Museum Island which is located between the Spree River and Kupfergraben. As with many of the structures in Berlin, the old museum buildings were nearly destroyed during the Second World War but are now open. The Altes Museum displays ancient Greek and Roman artifacts, while the Alte Nationalgalerie houses the largest collection of 19th century paintings and sculptures in Germany. The Nues Museum houses prehistoric pieces and Egyptian art, including the bust of Queen Nefertiti.
Located in the center of the Tiergarten park, the Berlin Victory Column (Siegessäule Berlin) is nearly 69 meters high. A popular tourist attraction, the Victory Column is open daily. It was built in 1864 as a commemoration of the Prussian army’s victory of the Prussian-Danish War. The top of the column features a yellow bronze sculpture of the Greek goddess of victory, Victoria. She appears as a winged angel, holding a scepter in one hand and Caesar’s laurel wreath in the other.