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26 Jan 2008

Berlin - Attractions Guide

List of most of the attractions in Berlin with quick information:

GB01 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Berlin Wall History

Details: Much of the Wall or the ‘Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart’, as the GDR authorities liked to call it, has succumbed – first to enthusiastic revellers and souvenir hunters and then more significantly to developers only a few sections remain. The East Side Gallery (website: www.eastsidegallery.com), along Mühlenstrasse (S-Bahn Ostbahnhof), emerged in the post-Wall years as a poignant symbol of new hope, as it was covered with inspiring artwork. The Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer is a small graffiti-free stretch of the Wall that has been preserved by the authorities. A visitor centre has information about the Wall years, while a chapel is dedicated to the 80 or so victims that died trying to cross it. Perhaps the best place to get a sense of what the divided city was like is the Mauermuseum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, located next to the site where the famous border-crossing stood. A number of permanent exhibitions document the history of the Wall and place it into context, as well as record the famous paintings on the Western side of the division. A short walk from Checkpoint Charlie is the Topographie des Terrors, an informative open-air exhibition focused around a preserved section of wall and the former headquarters of the SS and Gestapo (demolished). Torture and suffering is documented, and an audio tour in English is available. A new building has been commissioned for the site but will not be completed for some years.
Location: Gedenkstätte Bernauer Strasse 111 Haus am Checkpoint Charlie (Mauermuseum) Friedrichstrasse 43-45 Topographie des Terrors Niederkirchnerstrasse 8
Tel: (030) 253 7250. Tel: (030) 2548 6703.
Website: www.the-berlin-wall.de or www.berlinermauer.de Website: www.mauer-museum.com Website: www.topographie.de
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 1000-1700 (visitors centre). Opening hours: Daily 0900-2200. Opening hours: Daily 1000-2000 May-Sep 1000-dark Oct-Apr.
Free admission. Admission charge. Free admission.

GB17 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Bus 100 tour

Details: the bus 100 tour—the most economical bus tour in Berlin. We bought day passes at the Zoologischer Garden station (the tourist office is in the back) and this includes the bus map/tour map. At the time of our visit (06/2006) it was €5.40. As we waited patiently for the bus at Zoologischer Garden, we began to realize why it’s called the bus 100 tour—we were waiting in line with other tourists and as soon as the bus pulled up, only the fastest and fittest made it to the top of the double-decker for the coveted front row seats. Get on this bus at the very first stop, if you want a seat and the best views of Berlin.
EUR 5.40

GB02 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Centrum Judaicum - Neue Synagogue (Jewish Centre - New Synagogue)

Details: The Neue Synagogue was completed in 1866. Its location in the heart of the Scheunenviertel (Berlin’s Jewish district) suffered serious bomb damage in 1943. Thanks to renovation in the mid-1990s, its Moorish dome can now be seen in its original glory. The synagogue houses a Jewish Centre, with an exhibition. The Alter Jüdischer Friedhof (Old Jewish Cemetery) is a short walk away, at Schönhauser Allee 23-25 (open Monday to Thursday 0800-1600 and Friday 0800-1300).
Location: Oranienburger Strasse 28-30
Tel: (030) 8802 8451.
Website: www.cjudaicum.de
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs 1000-1800, Fri 1000-1400 (Oct-Mar) Sun and Mon 1000-2000, Tues-Thurs 1000-1800, Fri 1000-1700 (Apr-Sep) closed on Jewish holidays guided tours Sun 1400 and 1600, Wed 1600. Dome closed Oct-Mar.
Admission charge.

GB14 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Checkpoint Charlie


GB18 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: East Side Gallery

Details: We got off the bus at Alexander Platz and then took the S-bahn to the East Side Gallery (formerly the Berlin wall). Sobering, but worth the visit.

GB03 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Fernsehturm (TV Tower)

Details: The best views in East Berlin are from the Fernsehturm at Alexanderplatz. Looking vaguely like the Death Star on a concrete spit, the television tower is Berlin’s tallest structure at 368m (1207ft) and makes for a good reference point, as well as blighting many views of the city skyline. The Communist designers inadvertently made it so that sunlight reflecting on its facets forms a Christian cross. In a sign of changing times, a glare of advertising neon surrounds the base of the tower. Visitors can take an elevator up 203m (666ft) to the viewing platform or the revolving café, for a good look over the city.
Location: Panoramastrasse 1A, Alexanderplatz
Tel: (030) 242 3333.
Website: www.berlinerfernsehturm.de
Opening hours: Daily 0900-0000 (Mar-Oct) daily 1000-0000 (Nov-Feb).
Admission charge.

GB16 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Holocaust Memorial and Brandenburger Tor


GB04 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Judische Museum (Jewish Museum)

Details: The striking design of this Daniel Libeskind-designed memorial to Jewish life in Berlin is based on a shattered Star of David. Even before the installation of the permanent exhibits (recalling the life and history of German Jews through the centuries) visitors came to experience the evocative spaces within this incredible structure.
Location: Lindenstrasse 9-14
Tel: (030) 2599 3300.
Website: www.jmberlin.de
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 1000-2000 Mon 1000-2200 closed on Jewish holidays.
Admission charge.

GB19 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: KaDaWe

Details: Next, we headed to KaDaWe for lunch on its famous 6th floor food market. KaDaWe reminded me of the Macy’s at Herald Square in New York City—so of course it was a hit with me!

GB13 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Ku’damm


GB05 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Kulturforum (Cultural Forum)

Details: Located in the west of the city, the Kulturforum is a cultural centre, grouping together all the museums that have European art as their chief focus, including a Musikinstrumentenmuseum (Musical Instrument Museum) and a hall for chamber music. The opening of the Gemäldegalerie (Painting Gallery) in 1998 brought a stunning collection of 13th- to 18th-century paintings to the site. It joined the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) and the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery). The latter, built to the designs of Mies van der Rohe, contains German Expressionist and Realist art, as well as other works of the 20th century. There is also a sculpture garden.
Location: Philharmonie und Kammermusiksaal Herbert-von-Karajan-Strasse 1 Musikinstrumenten-museum Tiergartenstrasse 1 Gemäldegalerie Kulturforum, Matthäikirchplatz 8 Kunstgewerbemuseum Kulturforum, Matthäikirchplatz 8 Neue Nationalgalerie Ku
Tel: (030) 254 880 or 2548 8156 or 2548 8999 (ticket hotline). Tel: (030) 254 810 or 2548 1178. Tel: (030) 266 2951 (information). Tel: (030) 266 2902 or 266 2951 (information). Tel: (030) 266 2951.
Website: www.berlin-philharmonic.com Website: www.sim.spk-berlin.de Website: www.smb.spk-berlin.de Website: www.smb.spk-berlin.de Website: www.smb.spk-berlin.de
Opening hours: Shows generally Fri-Sun 1600 and 2000 (depending on programme) guided tours daily 1300. Opening hours: Tues-Fri 0900-1700, Thur until 2200, Sat and Sun 1000-1700. Opening hours: Tues-Sun 1000-1800, Thurs 1000-2200. Opening hours:
free for last 4 hours on Thurs. Admission charge.

GB21 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Olympic Stadium

Details: We then walked to the Elephant gate at the Zoo before we decided to take the S- and U-bahn to Olympiastadion (the Olympic Stadium).

GB06 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Potsdamer Platz and the New Centre

Details: After lying desolate for decades, except for the platform that allowed Westerners to peer over the Wall into the East, Potsdamer Platz is again part of Berlin’s thriving centre – in the 1930s, it was the busiest square in Europe. In just a few years, the forest of cranes has given way to a new precinct full of shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. The best place to see it all (as well as terrific views over the rest of Berlin) is from the Panorama-Point, at the top of the Kollhof building, reached by what is claimed to be one of the fastest lifts in Europe. One of the more interesting constructions is the Sony Centre, with its piazza covered by a futuristic sail-like roof. On the ground floor is the Filmmuseum Berlin, which recalls some of the city’s great achievements in the early days of cinema and devotes considerable space to Marlene Dietrich, who would have celebrated her 100th birthday on December 27 2001.
Location: Potsdamer Platz Filmmuseum Berlin Potsdamer Strasse 2 Panorama-Point Potsdamer Platz
Tel: (030) 300 9030. Tel: (030) 2529 4372 or 2554 2104, for guided tours.
Website: www.filmmuseum-berlin.de Website: www.potsdamerplatz.de
Opening hours: Tues, Wed and Fri-Sun 1000-1800 Thurs 1000-2000. Opening hours: Tues-Sun 1100-1930.
Admission charge.

GB07 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Reichstag

Details: British architect Lord Foster has transformed the Reichstag, which was built at the end of the 19th century and has long since been emblematic of the German State. It was damaged in the fire of 1933, which marked Hitler’s consolidation of power, and has now been renovated for the Bundestag (People’s Assembly) of a reunited Germany. The new dome is meant to symbolise the transparency of the democratic government and visitors can pass between its layers to witness the decision-making chamber of the government. There are free hourly talks on the visitor’s gallery of the plenary during weeks when parliament is not in session – check this on the website. Talks in English take place at midday on Tuesdays. Guided tours of the Reichstag also take place when parliament is not sitting. They last 90 minutes and are held at 1030, 1330, 1530 and 1830. Booking in advance in writing is recommended. The walk through the dome itself is stunning, culminating in sweeping views of a city in transition. The rooftop restaurant (tel: (030) 2262 9933) provides a way to beat the queues and is open until 2400.
Location: Platz der Republik
Tel: (030) 2273 2152.
Website: www.bundestag.de
Opening hours: Daily 0800-2400 (last admission 2200).
Free admission.

GB20 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm church

Details: The ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm church were next on our list; another reminder of the destruction of war and the Berlin effect—that new can be built on old; the resilience I talked about.

GB08 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Schloss Charlottenburg and museums

Details: The Charlottenburg Palace was built in 1699, as a summer residence for Sophie Charlotte, the wife of King Frederick 11. Visits to the Old Palace are by guided tour only. Prices and hours vary for the New Wing, the Orangerie, the mausoleum and other parts of the complex. The museums and galleries that are in and around the palace include the Berggruen Collection, opposite the palace, which contains 100 artworks by Picasso, as well as a representative collection of his contemporaries.
Location: Schloss Charlottenburg Spandauer Damm 20-24 Sammlung Berggruen Westlicher Stülerbau, Schlossstrasse 1
Tel: (030) 3209 1440. Tel: (030) 326 9580.
Website: www.spsg.de Website: www.smb.spk-berlin.de
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 0900-1700, last tour at 1600 (Old Palace) Tues-Sun 1000-1700 (25 Mar-31 Oct), 1100-1700 (1 Nov-31 Mar) (New Wing) grounds open daily 0600-2100 (summer) daily 0600-2000 (winter). Opening hours: Tues-Sun 1000-1800.
Admission charge. Admission charge.

GB15 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Sony center


GB09 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Spandauer Zitadelle (Spandau Citadel)

Details: This 16th-century fortress is the oldest non-religious building in the city. Its location overlooking the Havel River and the charming old town of Spandau make a trip to this district a lovely excursion within the city.
Location: Am Juliusturm
Tel: (030) 354 9440. Website: www.zitadelle-spandau.de
Opening hours: Tues-Fri 0900-1700, Sat and Sun 1000-1700, last entry 30 minutes before closing.
Admission charge.

GB10 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: The Bode Museum

Details: The Bode Museum houses one of the best collections of antique and Byzantine sculptures in the world. Closed in 1939 and left to decay for over six decades, the museum reopened its doors in October 2006 after a £102m renovation project. Boasting over 1,700 exhibits, the museum, now back to its former glory, is a must see not just for sculpture fans, but for anyone with an interest in the arts.
Location: Museumsinsel, Eingang: Am Kupfergraben
Tel: (30) 2090 5555.
Opening hours: TBC
Admission charge.

GB11 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Tiergarten

Details: There are few cities in the world where one can lie naked in the middle of town at noon and not be arrested. Besides having delightful tree-shaded walks, canals and flower gardens, the Tiergarten also has a couple of open fields on either side of Hofjägerallee, where the locals sunbathe au naturel. While the sunbathers cannot be seen from the Siegessäule (the Victory Column in the centre of the park) it does provide a good view of the other major sights around Berlin. The angel at the top of the 69m (226ft) column was the perching place for the angels in Wim Wenders’ film Wings of Desire (1987).
Location: Strasse des 17 Juni Siegessäule
Tel: (030) 391 2961.
Website: www.monument-tales.de
Opening hours: Daily 24 hours. Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0930-1830, Sat-Sun 0930-1900 (Apr-Oct) Mon-Fri 1000-
Free admission. Admission charge.

GB12 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Unter den Linden and the Museumsinsel

Details: One of Berlin’s most recognisable landmarks, the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate), stands at the western end of Pariser Platz. Stretching eastwards from here is Unter den Linden, along which some of the city’s richest cultural treasures lie. These include the Deutsche Staatsoper (German State Opera), the Neue Wache (New Guardhouse), which is now a memorial to the victims of fascism and tyranny, and the Zeughaus (Arsenal), which houses the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum). From mid 2006, this will house a new permanent exhibition on German history from the Middle Ages. The Museumsinsel (Museum Island), at the eastern end of Unter den Linden, offers the Pergamonmuseum, containing a host of antiquities, including the enormous Pergamon altar, Bodemuseum (closed until 2006) and the massive, neo-Baroque Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral), built in 1893-1905 and recently renovated. Within the newly restored Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) is the ‘Galerie der Romantik’, a large collection of German and Austrian paintings from the first half of the 19th century. These include paintings by Caspar David Friedrich. There are also Impressionist works by Manet, Monet and Degas. The Altes Museum (Old Museum) is a striking neo-classical building, designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, which opened in 1830. The main floor houses a collection of antiquities, while the upstairs galleries house the collections of the Egyptian Museum, which will remain there until 2009 when they will move to the Neues Museum (currently being refurbished). It is possible to buy a joint ticket for all of the Museum Island museums at a cost of €12, available from the museums.
Location: Altes Museum Am Lustgarten Deutsches Historisches Museum Unter den Linden 2 Pergamonmuseum Am Kupfergraben Alte Nationalgalerie Bodestrasse
Tel: (030) 2090 5577 (recorded info) or (030) 266 3660. Tel: (030) 203 040. Tel: (030) 2090 5577 or (030) 266 3660. Tel: (030) 2090 5577 or (030) 266 3660.
Website: www.smb.spk-berlin.de Website: www.dhm.de Website: www.smb.spk-berlin.de Website: www.smb.spk-berlin.de
Opening hours: Tues, Wed and Fri-Sun 1000-1800, Thurs 1000-2200. Opening times: Daily 1000-1800. Opening hours: Tues, Wed and Fri-Sun 1000-1800, Thurs 1000-2200. Opening hours: Tues, Wed and Fri-Sun 1000-1800 Thurs 1000-2200. free for last 4 hours
Admission charge

GB22 City: Berlin
Name of Attraction: Wannsee & Beer Garden

Details: Then, on to Wannsee and you wouldn’t believe you’re still in Berlin. This water-front treasure gave our wary feet some time to recover from all the walking. The beirgarten at Wannsee helped too…gotta love a beer garden—kids with their parent, pet owners and their dogs…everyone is welcome at the beer garden.

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