WHAT TO SEE IN BERLIN IN ONE DAY!

We start the day tour of Berlin with the Reichstag (subway: U-Bahn Bundestag), the Parliament of Germany. It is a building that was completed in 1894 after10 years of work. Curiously, the Parliament was not to the liking of the Kaiser of the time, Wilhelm II, who called the building “Reichsaffenhaus”, which literally means “House of the monkeys of the empire”. Of course, after the construction effort, the building lasted and was not demolished. It is worth going up to the dome of the Reichstag, which is free and has very long opening hours (from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.). Access is limited, so you have to make a reservation online or in one of the prefabricated booths that are next to the parliament.

THE BRANDENBURGOP GATE, A SYMBOL OF BERLIN

A very short journey takes us to one of the best-known monuments in Berlin. If there is one thing to see in Berlin in one day, it is the Brandenburg Gate. If bridges can unite or separate cities, in the case of Berlin this honor belongs to the Brandenburg Gate. At the time it was one of the separation points between West and East Berlin. Currently, the Brandenburg Gate is a symbol of the union of the entire city. The door dates from 1788 and is a work by Carl Gotthard Langhans. Its neoclassical style is really very gimmicky and reminiscent of the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens, after climbing a long staircase you find yourself in front of the Propylaea gate. The Brandenburg Gate is made up of five Doric columns that are followed by a crossbar that gives rise to five corridors. Not to be missed is the beautiful chariot that crowns the Brandenburg Gate, a work by Johann Gottfried Schadow, a contemporary of the gate.

MONUMENT TO THE MURDERED JEWS OF EUROPE

We take Ebertstraße towards Potsdamer Platz, but first we have to stop at one of the most emblematic monuments in Berlin: the monument to the murdered Jews of Europe, where the Jewish victims of the Holocaust are remembered. It is a huge field of almost twenty thousand square meters where a series of concrete slabs, painted gray and of different sizes, are built. The arrangement is such that the monument is quite impressive. It is a work of the Jewish architect of American origin Peter Eisenman, which was completed at the end of 2004. It would have been nice if the monument was dedicated to the victims of the holocaust in general and not only to the Jews. Communists, gypsies and homosexuals, among others, suffered the same fate as Jews and the monument, surprisingly, forgets them.

CHECKPIOINT CHARLIE AND THE BERLIN WALL

The next objective is Checkpoint Charlie, but on the way, at Niederkirchners strase, we find one of the longest preserved sections of the old Berlin wall. This piece of wall, unlike the longer East Side Gallery, is not painted, so we can understand what the wall was like at the time it was erected. Now yes, we arrive at Checkpoint Charlie, one of the most mythical places of the Cold War era. It was one of the crossing points between West and East Berlin. An exhibition that is located a few meters from Checkpoint Charlie, in Friedrichstrase, reminds us, with its photographs and explanatory panels, one of the most interesting episodes that occurred at this border crossing and is known as the Tank Confrontation. It was in 1961, when a good number of Soviet and American tanks accumulated for 16 hours on both sides of the border point in one of the most tense moments of the Cold war

GENDARMENMARKT

Our one-day visit to Berlin continues north along Friedrichstrase, and at Taubenstrase where we turn right to find one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin: Gendarmenmarkt. In Gendarmenmarkt we find a square of exceptional symmetry, with two practically identical churches on both sides (known as the French and German cathedral) and the Konzerthaus, in the middle of the two. The conception of the square dates back to the end of the 17th century, but like many other points in Berlin it suffered severe damage during the Second World War. The two cathedrals date from the early 18th century but had to be rebuilt in the second half of the 20th century. The German cathedral acts as a museum for the German Parliament, but it is not very interesting. The Konzerthaus is a work of one of the greatest exponents of German neoclassicism, Karl Friedrich Schinkel. The majestic portico, inspired by that of any Greek temple, is impressive, with its six columns that support the cornice and the tympanum of the porch.

THE RED TOWN HALL

Less than ten minutes separate the Nikolaiviertel from one of the most emblematic squares in Berlin: the Alexanderplatz. Before, we passed by the Red Town Hall or Rotes Rathaus, an imposing red brick building. It is for this reason that it is called the Red Town Hall, and not because it is located in East Berlin, as people often think. If during the partition of the city, the building was the seat of the local administration of the eastern zone, after the reunification, it returns to be the city hall of the whole of Berlin. We did not enter the town hall but we did admire the 74 meters of its beautiful tower.

ALEXANDERPLATZ, ANOTHER OF THE ESSENTIAL VISITS OF BERLIN

Berlin's Alexanderplatz: The Complete Guide

And a little further on, we find Alexanderplatz, one of the largest squares in the entire country and a meeting point for Berliners, although it does not seem to us to be one of the most beautiful areas of the city. The square is an important communications hub with a metro and tram station included, but the square itself has been for pedestrians for a long time. What we like most about Alexanderplatz is the World Clock, a rotating structure that shows us the time around the world. Very close to Alexanderplatz, in fact, in front of the Rotes Rathaus, we find the enormous Berlin Telecommunications Tower, the Fernsehturm, which dates from the communist era, as it was built in 1969. The height reaches up to 368 meters, which makes it in the fourth tallest building in Europe. If Alexanderplatz is known to Berliners as Alex, the telecommunications tower is known as the Alex Tower.

BERLIN MUSEUM ISLAND

Right next to the Berlin Cathedral is the Museum Island, a unique museum complex in the world that has been distinguished, since 1999, with the title of World Heritage, not only for the artistic heritage contained in the museums, but also for the architectural heritage that museums represent in itself. In this area you will find the Pergamon Museum (where you can visit the famous Pergamon altar), the Bode Museum, the Neues Museum (where there is also a masterpiece of world art: the famous bust of Nefertiti), the Old Gallery National (German painting) and the Altes Museum or Old Museum, another neoclassical work by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, which is right in front of the Berlin Cathedral. Of course, the visit to the interior of the museums is not part of what to see in a day in Berlin, so we settle for going around the island of museums without visiting them. On another occasion we did have the opportunity to visit some of them (the Altes Museum, the Pergamon Museum and the Egyptian Museum, which is now part of the Neues Museum) and we can attest to the beauty of their collections.

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