Guides to Fine Arts Like Painting, Designing, Architecture, Sculpture, Photography and More

By Morten Elm

Berlin is the capital of Germany; and one of the most interesting cities in Europe. In Berlin you find interesting historical sites, modern art, delicious cooking and a pulsing nightlife. A lot of the buildings were badly damaged in the final years of World War II, but today they have all been rebuilt.

From the World War II and until 1989, Berlin was divided into four sectors: the capitalistic American, French and British sectors in the Western part of Berlin and the communistic USSR sector in the Eastern part. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city was again reunited as the capital of Germany.

The 26 meter (85 feet) high landmark of Berlin, Brandenburger Tor was originally the main gate to the city. Under the Cold War it lived a secluded life in a waste part of East Berlin. Today it stands as the symbol of the German reunification.

Another important historical building is the Reichstag Building (German Parliament Building). In 1933 a fire destroyed the dome, which gave Hitler excuse to declare state of emergency, and in 1945 the Red Army showed their victory from the roof. In 1999 it reopened with a new, spectacular glass dome after a major renovation. Be prepared for long lines (up to one hour) and an extensive security check, if you want to visit the building.

In Berlin there are many remains of the Cold War. Check Point Charlie is a typical example. Originally it was the crossing point between East- and West Berlin. Today its museum stands as a reminder of a scary time. In the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie you can see photos, kitschy memorabilia from the Wall and devices used to escape from the East to the West.

For shopaholics Berlin is a great city. In KaDeWe, the largest department store in Europe, you find everything for yourself and your home. The most impressive part is the food and beverage part on the sixth floor. Here you find 800 types of bread, 1000 different sausages, 1700 different cheeses and even wild boar and deer. And the best part is that you can taste samples of almost everything.

Berlin does also have a lot of markets. The weekend markets are the best ones. That includes Kunst- und Nostalgiemarkt at the Museumsinsel, and Grosser Berliner Trdel- und Kunstmarkt at Strasse de 17. Juni in Tiergarten and Flohmarkt am Arkonaplatz. If you are in Berlin around Christmas, you should also visit a Weinachtsmrkte, where you can taste waffles, sausages and the famous Glhwein.

Berlin is also famous for the art scene. Spread around the cities you find great museums and fine art galleries. The best modern art gallery is Galerie Eigen & Art and the two best museums are the Museumsinsel and the Neue Nationalgalerie.

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