By ALEIX GWILLIAM
When it comes to history, Berlin is that little bit different because its most important part of history took place in the 20th century unlike in many other European cities. To be able to cover the basics without having to rush, stay at the very least a week in Berlin apartments. As a start, here is a route that will take you from the Reichstag to the Berlin Wall, past a few historical landmarks and museums.
Start your route at Platz der Republik, the site of the Reichstag, which was the building of the old German government and is now called the Bundestag. This building, one of Berlin’s main landmarks, was reconstructed after its fire in the 1930s. You can visit its crystal dome and get a beautiful view of Berlin as well as information on its history. Right behind it is the Brandenburg Gate, another important site in Berlin. This gate was one of the entry gates to Berlin and it was ordered to build by Kaiser Wilhelm II as a symbol of peace. Its neoclassic style makes it a striking view.
From Pariser Platz, move down to Unter den Linden, the most famous boulevard in Berlin that used to be Berlin’s most popular part and a meeting place for everyone. It’s covered by lime trees (Unter den Linden means under the lime trees) on either side, which shadow the centre, giving it a beautiful touch of class. Walking down Unter den Linden, turn right into Friedrichstraße and keep walking until you come across Checkpoint Charlie. This was an old crossing point between East and West Berlin and today still has a hut where you can take a souvenir picture. In front of it is the Mauermuseum, the Museum of the Berlin Wall, which tells the story of divided Berlin and how the Wall came to be erected.
Turn left into Rudi Dutschker Straße, to Oranienstraße, a street that’s famous for its great value restaurants, an ideal place to stop and eat and relax from the walking. Once you’ve finished sampling German cuisine in any of the restaurants here, turn left into Mariannenstraße and you come across the little grass-covered square Mariannenplatz.
Contrinue straight and cross the river, to Mühlenstraße, or the East Side Gallery. This street is where the mile-long section of the Berlin Wall was left as a reminder of what the city lived through. It’s now painted with excellent graffiti and you’ll be lucky to find a spot to write something yourself, a fitting ending to a route through the history of Berlin from the 19th century up to just 20 years ago.
Make sure you rent apartments in Berlin to get your well-deserved rest after the tour.
Aleix Gwilliam is a 24-year-old from Barcelona who looks English but thinks like a Catalan. He enjoys travelling, especially on old Czech trains, and trying to start conversations in Hungarian with people at Pecs station, even though his Hungarian is as good as his Bulgarian, in other words, not very good. He’s a trier.