More than six million tourists visit Berlin every year, making it one of the most popular cities in Europe. Volker Hassemer, managing director of the city’s marketing agency, claims that “If you want to see the past, go to Rome. If you want to see the future, come to Berlin.”
The city is undergoing massive reconstruction, with some of the most advanced architecture in the world. Nevertheless, many tourists still come to see historical monuments, including Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall memorial, the Fernsehturm (TV tower) which gives a spectacular view of the city, the Reichtags building, and Brandenburg Gate. A number of companies offer walking tours of the city, as well as boating excursions on the river Spree.
Sightseeing. Many of Berlin’s sights are within walking distance of the public transportation system, including the boulevard Unter den Linden which starts at Brandenburg Gate, continuing to the river, with the Tiergarten nearby. Museum Island is a popular place to view the extensive art collections of Berlin, which is actually located in the Spree River. Potsdamer Platz, in the center of the city, holds the State Library, National Gallery, and Philharmonic Concert Hall. Tour boats travel on the many lakes and canals around the city.
Shopping. At the trendy Prenzlauer Berg, art galleries, cafés, and restaurants line the street. A large, new shopping mall has been built at Potsdamer Platz, a startling contrast to the eastern Alexander-platz, which has barely been renovated since Soviet occupation. The Kurfürstendamm, or Ku’damm, is a three-and-a-half-kilometer (two-mile) strip of shops, movie theaters, bars, and cafés, including 6,500 pubs and restaurants. Ku’damm and Tauentzienstrasse in the West are the main shopping centers, along with Friedrichstrasse in the East. Shop hours are normally 9:30 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday and 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Saturday. Most shops are closed on Sunday, but more and more stores are opening their doors to customers all week long. Business is booming in the newly renovated capital of Germany, drawing customers and holiday travelers from around the world. A visitor can get a three-day pass on the underground in order to visit all the shopping centers without missing a store.
Performing Arts. Berlin is the music capital of Germany, named so because of the many opera houses and orchestras. There are three opera houses and five other orchestras, including the top-rated Deutsche Staatsoper Unter den Linden with international music director Daniel Barenboim and the Philharmonic Hall, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Komische Oper. The Musical Theatre Berlin, Theater des Westens, Friei Volksbühne Berlin, and Theater am Kurfürstendamm put on plays and musicals. To get a taste of cabaret-style entertainment, a visitor can go to Bar Jeder Vernunft-Spiegelpalast, the Wintergarten, and Chamäleon Variete. The Berlin Festival, Film Festival, and Theater make the city a gathering place for young artists in the progressive cultural scene. The nightlife is scattered with small club gatherings that feature live music, electronic music, and theatrical productions. On just about every street corner in the arts districts, street performers can be seen juggling, dancing, singing, painting, or playing an instrument.
More Information available at “Berlin.” Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cities. 2000. Encyclopedia.com. 23 Nov. 2015