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The capital and biggest city of Germany
is one of the most noteworthy tourist attractions in Berlin.
after the joint founder of the German Social Democratic
Party (SPD), August Bebel. At first, it was to be the centre
of the Forum Fridericianum planned by Knobelsdorff. This
could not however be fully realized – only the »opera house
was constructed from 1741–43, which lead to the grounds
becoming known as Opernplatz. Behind the Staatsoper,
St. Hedwig's Cathedral can be found (built 1747–1773),
while the western side is the site of the Königliche Bibliothek
(Royal Library, 1775–80), known colloquially as the
"Kommode" ("chest of drawers"); today, this building belongs
to the Humboldt University and is attached to the Alte Palais
(Old Palace, also now used by the Humboldt University).
On May 10, 1933, the square was the focal point for the
burning of the books" staged by the Nazis: the works of
Heinrich and Thomas Mann, Erich Kästner, Stefan Zweig,
Heinrich Heine, Karl Marx, Alfred Kerr, Kurt Tucholsky
and countless other writers were thrown into the flames.
Since 1995, this event has been commemorated by the
monument designed by Micha Ullmann, which consists
of an underground library with empty shelves and which can be
seen through a transparent plastic window set into the ground.
The Nazis burned books on this plaza.
Brandenburg Gate (still under renovation) built in 1791,
this imposing structure has endured several symbolic
reincarnations. Intended by its architect Carl Gotthard
Langhans to be a symbol of peace, the gate was
crowned by the Quadriga, a 4-horse chariot driven by the
winged Victory goddess, a couple of years later, turning it
into a monument to Prussian militarism. The goddess
and her steeds had a short stint in Paris when Napoleon
came along and swiped them in 1806. Political groups
from various ideological corners hijacked the pliable
Brandenburg Gate as the backdrop for their rallies and
processions until 1961 when the wall was built and the
gate sealed off in no-man's-land. In 1989, after the
dissolution of the border, the area was re-opened to the
public. Today, traffic passes freely under the gate and
enterprising scammers have long been selling hunks
of Berlin Wall concrete, mostly of dubious authenticity.
If the Berlin Wall was ever reconstructed from the
fragments sold to tourists it could probably
enclose the whole of Germany.
Peek through the canvas and see how far the renovation goes.
After renovation, it should look like this.
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche -- the neo-Roman church,
which was intended to recall the glory of the first German
Kaiser, was built in an ornamental style from 1891–95 to
plans by Schwechten. After the church was destroyed in
an air raid in 1943, the ruins – a constant, unavoidable reminder
of the horrors of war for Berliners – were supposed to be
demolished to make way for the planned new building in 1956.
After a storm of emotional protests, it was decided to integrate
the ruins into the new building. The modern building was
constructed from 1959–61 to plans by Egon Eiermann and
consists of three elements. It is constructed of honeycombed
concrete components into which glass bricks are set. The
church tower, with the christening and matrimonial chapel, is
built on a hexagonal foundation. The colored glass bricks
bathe the interior of the octagonal nave in an intense blue light,
and create an atmosphere of calm. The smallest, rectangular
building was planned as a sacristy, but now houses the city
mission. The memorial hall in the old tower is a memorial of the
horror and destruction of war.
Sara at the old church ruin
Partial of the Berlin Wall still stands.
Snack time with donuts and coffee
Sara poses with Berlin's mascot -- bear
Common sight of Mercedes-Benz taxi in all major cities