Frederick the Great had no great love for his capital city (but then Berliners had no great love for him) and so, in 1744, he commissioned Georg von Knobelsdorff to build him a residence where he and his wife could live 'without cares - sans soucci'. Incredibly, the palace was completed within the year (although the layout of the parklands took another 5 years - and even then, 'officially' they took much longer as additions and changes were made for the next 130 years).
Sans Soucci is a surprisingly modest royal palace - one storey Baroque, topped by an oxidised green dome and ornamental statues. The interior is anything but modest - a Rococco feast of gilt, mirrors, curlicures and scrolls, marble, lacquerwork and more. The palace itself only contained 13 rooms under Frederick - the west wing (also of 13 rooms) was not added until 1840.
Frederick loved the palace so much he was determined to die and be buried at Sans Soucci (even to the point of working on the design of his tomb in the evenings). He eventually got his way, but not until 1991 and post re-unification of Germany. In the first instance, he was buried at the Garnisonkirche in Potsdam (1786), exumed in 1944 and taken to Schloss Hohenzollern in Swabia for safe-keeping, but eventually returned to Sans Soucci in 1991.
Maybe not an undiscovered place but a masterpiece of nazi architecture. You'll hardly believe this is an airport, it could host any sort of business. Many airports tend to look the same - Tempelhof Berlin is outstanding.
Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen, the former KL Sachsenhausen . A concentrationkamp near Oranienburg. A very chilling place certainly when i was there when it had realy frozen. Its a big open space surrounded by fences. So not much left to look at but knowing the stories from tv and my studies etc makes you feel the atmosphere and one can´t even start to imagine how it must have been.
There is though an exhibition in one of the old baracks. The glas container filled with hair certainly made my hairs rise. A must see for everyone who wants to know about WW2.
If you like to get out of Berlin take one of the S Bahn trains and go to Potsdam. Its an hour drive. Potsdam has one of the most beautiful parks I`ve been. Its just nice to walk around there. Nice little bars, restaurants, lakes around Potsdam and very laid back. If you go up north there are all the Berlin lakes and its great in the summer. If people are interested this area is Brandenburg and they`ve got good tourist informations.
Berlin is a huge city, 3.5 million odd people I believe within its boundaries, but just outside the borders you will still find numerous small villages in certain areas. Many of the young people of these towns must-needs have moved into the city to work, or simply did not like the quieter lifestyle of the countryside and came into the big city. Smaller towns are losing ground, many houses stand empty or abandoned partially fallen down. Some even from damage of WWII or before. Many of these properties can be bought for little money to be renovated.
My friend Andreas has such a house. Its owner simply was tired of it and moved into the city. The former owner left all of his possessions, even family photos and children's toys, grandfather clocks and books, simply left them and asked that they be cared for. This is rather an unusual case, but these "off the beaten path" areas can still be interesting. Sitting in someone's front parlour having tea or a beer. We had simply been walking down the street and invited in by an old woman who just wanted to talk, reminiscence about the past, people now gone, children, family. A little sad, but still rich in character. Outside the borders of the city of Berlin, you can find many such places.
Prague ? Off the beaten path in Berlin ? yes, why not ! It's a train ride away & Prague is so unlike Berlin with rich cultures & history, in some ways connecting to Berlin. The war etc.
I think it's about 6 hours between them by train. If you are in Berlin maybe more than 1 week, please, please do go to Prague. you will thank me later.
It's a beautiful city in another country of course. Amazing sceneries in the north of Czech Republic as well. If you decide not to reach Prague, get off in the north of Czech Republic.
If I was not running all the times in my travel in that year 2002, I would love to stop in the north of Czech Republic.
It's the Federal State which surrounds Berlin and the one I live in *g*, offers a variety of sights which are easily accessible for a day trip. Easily to say for me when I already live here, but it's really close ;-)
The State of Brandenburg covers an area of 29,056km² (11,218 miles²) and stretches between the rivers Elbe and Oder. There are 3000 rivers and lakes in this area - with Havel and the Spree as the main rivers.
With 500 hectares of parks and 150 palaces constructed between 1730 and 1916, the complex of palaces and parks of Potsdam are worth a visit. Voltaire stayed at Sanssouci Palace, which was built under Frederick II between 1745 and 1757.
Königs Wusterhausen is located southeast of Berlin in the state of Brandenburg. The surrounding countryside including forests and lakes has been popular among Berliners since the early 20th century.
If you have some time, you could visit the Königs Wusterhausen Palace which was originally a medieval castle. It was the favourite haunt of Frederick William I, who used it as a hunting lodge and held his famous Tabakskollegium or 'tobacco round' here.
Königs Wusterhausen is an important transport junction. The A10 and A13 motorways pass close by and the town is also crossed by the B179 linking Berlin to the area. Berlin's Schönefeld airport is only 15km away.
Sanssouci was the summer palace of Frederik I, and I think was known more for its grounds and the famous terraces of grape vines and rows of bedded plants. Of course it was winter and I was freezing my butt off but I could still imagine how wonderful it would look in the warmer months.
1 April - 31 October. 1 November - 31 March. Closed on Mondays
Seelowe hoeher or Seelow Heights..about 30 miles due East of Berlin on Hwy 1 (a very scenic drive). This is a small town almost on the Polish border that saw a great deal of fighting in WWII. The Germans made their final stand against the Russians reportedly to buy time for the civilians of Berlin to escape..There was extremely fierce fighting and many of the emplacements and positions are still in place..The best restaurant in town is the Schwarzer Adler (Black Eagle ?) and that also does double duty as a hotel. There is a small museum on the way to the polish border (hwy1) that is magnificent in its historical presentation of the battle..they have a regurlarly scheduled video show and if you ask the curator he will provide it in English. Also a lighted map table portraying the troop movements etc...THIS IS WORTHY OF A TRIP !
This is a little town outside Potsdam (You can get there by S-Bahn from Berlin). It's situated on an island, there are many apple trees, old houses, cobblestone streets, Fish restaurants and a gorgeous scenery there! Go there for a day to see something else than cars, houses and traffic jams.
You can see pics of our rowing trips in my travelogue!
Bauhaus, in Dessau, a 100 km from out of Berlin. Bauhaus is the famous art style and school from
1919-1930. The art was very shocking with it's very simple and rational designs in it's furniture,
textile, architecture. It's designs are still called modern at present time. When visiting Bauhaus you
should always keep in mind that the designs were made in the years 1920-1930. Compare the tables,
chairs, spoons, architecture with the style you know like at your grandmothers house... You will
certainly feel that these were really shocking for some people. Bauhaus dissapeared in Dessau with the
due to the upcoming Nazi success. The school closed in 1933, many intellectuals fled to the United
States of America (Bauhaus is very known in Chicago, see the flats, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe)
The extermination camp of Sachsen-Hausen may not be a very cheery destination, but it's an important site historically. It was first used by the Nazis for political prisoners and later by the Soviets for German POWs. It's a very grim and emotional reminder of the harm done to the German people by both the Nazis and the Soviets.