Free tour is a tour I can recomend to everyone visiting Berlin, especially for the first time, as me. Big group gathered near Starbucks coffe, near Branderburg gate. The group was shared into smaller groups, depending on language they want to hear at excursion time. Everyone got registration ticket and started excursion. My group‘s guide was Australian, now living in Berlin. He showed essencial things of Berlin center, tour last 3,5 hours. As it is free, tips are appreciated after finishing it.
The Victory Column is surrounded by a street circle with heavy car traffic and is one of the more famous sights of Berlin. It was created to commemorate the victory of Prussia in the Danish-Prussian war though by the time it was inaugurated in 1873 Prussia, had also defeated Austria France in the Franco-Prussian War giving the statue a new purpose. The later victories inspired the addition of the bronze sculpture of Victoria seen on the top.
If you want to climb up it, you can reach the column through four tunnels, and run up a steep spiral staircase of 285 steps and get a spectacular view over the Tiergarten.
Berliners, with their fondness for disrespectful names of famous buildings, call the statue Goldelse, meaning something like "golden Lizzy". Very nice.
This little felow nearly went extinct until some kind of pan-DDR movement brought him back. I don't know all the particulars. The chubby little pedestrian known as the Ampelmann was developed in East Germany and used on East German street corners for most of the so-called DDR's lifespan. Now, he can be found in the former West Berlin as well, a pleasant concession to the Easterners who felt their culture was completely subsumed by the Westerners. (with good reason)
At the end of October many of Berlin's landmarks are illuminated for a couple of days. During those days a couple of special events take place aswell: e.g. late-night-shopping
There are special "lightseeing" tours which take you to the main sights.
Lets hope that the sponsors will let us see the lights in the coming years too!
The GDR government did everything they could to disassemble national German monument related to military and royal historic events. It is surprising that so many are still standing in the eastern part of the centre as they do. One huge monument that unfortunately did not survive GDR is the Berlin Castle. This huge historic building was torn down, to the outcry of most of Europe. Instead, a horrible Culture Centre was built, where citizens could enjoy a cheap meal and listen to debates or see films. The building is full of windows and was always well lit up in GDR days so it is better known as "Erichs Lampenladen", i.e. Erich's (Honneker) lamp shop! Today, it is an embarassment to Berlin and as it has also been found to be loaded with asbestos, it is no longer used. There used to be guided tours of it in "ossi nostalgia" but today it is permanently closed and will be torn down. For several years, a debate has been going on whether to rebuild the castle in its place. It will cost an absolute fortune but right now it looks like it will in fact happen. The Berlin rulers want their castle back.
The street players in metro stations, or standing before theatres and museums, and in platz....like the wonderful cello player whose name I didn't know but whom I saw more than once. Makes you have tears sometimes its so beautiful!
Many times walking down into the U-Bahn, you can hear the player before you see them, whether its guitar or cello or accordian. You don't have to give them some cents or Euros, but I always try to if I have them to give.
Besides Zoologischer Garten, I know that inside the Ku'damm Station near the C&A corner, during evening times, there is often players there on the main level. Violin players and accordion, and an old man on the train level on Rathaus Steglitz platform. Almost always I give him a little something, if you see him...why not? He plays a harmonica.
It's not exclusively Berlin's local custom. Like in many old and full of heritage cities there were quite many old sculptures, monuments, fountains and other examples of small architecture put along Berlin streets.
These sculptures of nude human beings on my pictures formed a fountain at Wittenbergplatz oposite to famous KaDeWe department store.
I found Berlin pretty clean especially when I got to know that the city had over 3.6 mln citizens. Districts of Charlottenburg, Sch?neberg, Kreuzberg and Mitte I partly visited looked clean. Surely the most colorful and clean was rather upclass district of Charlottenburg (in former West Berlin).
I did find only one place which was not pretty clean. Excuse, it is NOT a local custom of Berlin on my picture.
I found Berlin a city of well organized architecture both old and modern, often mixed in pretty way. Add wide boulevards and a lot of green areas which made the city less busy even quite relaxing. I would never guess that the city had 3.6 mln citizens.
In the upclass downtown of Charlottenburg district only at the corner of Kurfürstendamm and Joachimstaler Straße I found a little chaotic and not so pretty architecture. Unique in Berlin.
1892 built and very nice opera audiance (not destroied in WW2) - they have very good and modern styled operas. Address:
komische oper berlin,
Tel.: +49.(0)30.202 60 -0,
Museumsinsel, Berlin - Mitte
The Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) owns one of the largest collections of 19th century sculptures and paintings in Germany. The museum is open again after a major reconstruction and modernization. The bldg is so fantastic that a view only to the entrance hall is enough if you have no time to to visit the whole museeum.
How to get there:
U-Bahn and S-Bahn station Friedrichstrasse
S-Bahn station Hackescher Markt
Bus numbers100, 157, 200, 348 (Lustgarten), 147 (Universitätsstrasse)
Tram 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 50, 53
The STAATSOPER is the oldest operahouse in Berlin.
Many plays are sometimes very traditonal - what I pers. do not like so much - you will find the detailed timetable - whats playing on ther web-site or in the local newspapers. http://www.staatsoper-berlin.de
This is as close as I could get to the Brandenburger Tor .Upto 1850 this Tor was the connection between the huntingground Tiergarten and the city of Berlin. Then the city wall and the other 17 gates of the city were torn down leaving the Brandenburger Tor as only remaining gate.The architect of the Brandenburger Tor was inspired by the Propylaees, the entrance gate of the Acropolis in Athens (+/- 450 bf Christ).
Berlin has highly recommendable museums - I like best the 'Gemäldegalerie' - seen the exhibition 'the little ice-age' ?
THE OLD LIBRARY (August Bebel Platz), a typical preussisch architecture! As great and imposant as everything there...