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Berlin

Introduction / About Berlin

The heart of Germany is nowadays more exciting than ever: The city that never stands still and is forever becoming is the focus of a mammoth project of reunification.

Berlin is the capital city and one of the sixteen Federal States of Germany. With a population of 3.4 million in its city limits (4.2 million within its metropolitan area), Berlin is the country's largest metropolis. First documented in the 13th century, Berlin became the capital of the German Empire in 1871; it remained so until 1945. After World War II, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) claimed East Berlin as its capital, while West Berlin was a West German enclave surrounded by the Berlin Wall. Following the reunification in 1990, Berlin was restored as the nation’s capital.

Evolutions and changes are to be witnessed everywhere in the city. Berlin is different to all other German cities – the changes it has experienced throughout history have brought a distinct character – the constant dialogue between old and new is undoubtedly the source of Berlin's charm. Even though the Wall has come down, there's still a palpable discrepancy between the meanwhile increasing East and the more upscale, affluent West. The rapidly evolving metropolis is home to people from over 180 nations; Berlin is a magnet for individuals who are attracted by its liberal lifestyle.

The influential center in European politics, culture and science serves as an important hub of continental transportation and is home to some of the most highly regarded universities, research faculties and museums.

 

What to see

Berlin has something for everybody’s taste: Grand public buildings, glorious museums and theatres, palaces and other sites of historic interest. It is also visually appealing with ample greenery and scenic lakes.

Berlin's architecture is multifaceted: Though badly damaged during World War II, it is possible to see representatives of various historic periods within the compact city center, from a few surviving medieval buildings near Alexanderplatz and Prussian architectural masterpieces to the ultramodern glass and steel structures at Potsdamer Platz.

First-time visitors should see famous Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie Museum at the former border-crossing between West and East, the impressive Dahlem Museum and Frederick the Great's Sanssouci Palace & Gardens in Potsdam, on the outskirts.

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