A few days ago, we went on a history (and fashion) excursion from East to West Berlin. Even though the city has long been ‘one’, “the Old East” and “West” are reoccurring themes in the conversations of Berliners. It is a quick way to identify where one is at the moment or to point to which monuments are around. I found it a bit strange at first since the city and Germany has been reunited for over 25 years ago. But going from the East to the West, even we noticed some clear differences that were obvious to us – relatively new Berliners. It seems that the West part of the city is much more ‘refined’; definitely cleaner and the buildings appear more well taken care of. A lot of embassies and official headquarters can be found in the West, and maybe this is why there is the appearance of more wealth? For our tour, we started in Wedding, continued into Hackischer Markt in Mitte, then through Tiergarten to Charlottenburg, and all the while we got a true history lesson of Berlin. Among many monuments, there is both modern and minimalist architecture that completes the impressive vibe of diversity in Berlin. Below is your photo tour of the most impressive monuments and areas we passed by:
Biking to our starting point, the Berlin Dom, was quite the adventure as there are many One-Ways / “Einbahnstrassen” in Mitte, which are often used for big trucks. After returning our bikes to the station (a bike rental guide is coming soon!), we began our tour. The Berliner Dom – still an active church which is used for concerts and events – is the biggest church in the city and was built in 1465.
Going West along the “Strasse Unter den Linden” (well we just follow the tourist swarm), we passed the Museum Island, an island on the River spree which features multiple museums including Berlin’s National State Museum.
By the way, this area of Berlin is technically still considered the “the Old East” of Berlin, and as we followed along the same street, we walked past many government buildings, Berlin’s University campus, and new-aged architecture of the Mercedes Showroom/Bar. There is a beautiful – albeit rather sad – monument called the “Neue Wache“, or New Guardhouse. This is the Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Victims of War and Dictatorship.
Finally, we arrived at the beautiful Brandenburger Tor; probably one of the most well-known monuments in Berlin. I learned that the Brandenburger Tor was inaccessible while the wall was dividing the city. No wonder massive amounts of people are now dying to see it! Walking through the gate and along “Strasse des 17. Juni” (we thought it felt very similar to Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Élysées) through Tiergarten, and we arrived the Victory Column / Siegessaeule.
At the end of the Strasse des 17. Juni, and directly after the Victory Column, we ended up in Charlottenburg, which features the Kurfuerstendamm – one of the most famous shopping streets in Berlin. After all the impressions we got of Berlin (and Germany’s) history, we were definitely ready to shop! The entire duration of our tour was the greater part of a day, but then again we stopped quiet a few times, and alternated between walking and biking. We can’t wait to continue exploring Berlin and bringing you all along for the ride!