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Berlin Germany

Berlin is the capital city of Germany and one of the 16 states (Länder) of the Federal Republic of Germany. Berlin is the largest city in Germany and has a population of 4.5 million within its metropolitan area and 3.4 million within the city limits. Berlin is best known for its historical associations as the German capital, for its lively nightlife, for its many cafes, clubs, and bars, and for its numerous museums, palaces, and other sites of historic interest. Berlin's architecture is quite varied. Although badly damaged in the final years of World War II and broken asunder during the Cold War, Berlin has reconstructed itself greatly, especially with the reunification push after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It is now possible to see representatives of many different historic periods in a short time within the city center, from a few surviving medieval buildings near Alexanderplatz, to the ultramodern glass and steel structures in Potsdamer Platz. Because of its tumultuous history, Berlin remains a city with many distinctive neighborhoods.


In Berlin there is more than one downtown area. Berlin has many boroughs or districts, called Bezirke, and each borough has its distinctive style. Each Bezirk is composed of several Kieze - a Berlin term referring to "neighbourhood", with their unique style. Some boroughs of Berlin, as noted below, are more worthy of the visitor's attention than others.

Following are the boroughs/districts of greatest interest to the visitor:

  • Mitte— The historical center of Berlin, the nucleus of the former East Berlin, and the emerging city center. Many cafes, restaurants, museums, galleries and clubs throughout the district, along with many sites of historic interest.
  • Charlottenburg— This borough is the heart of City West and centered around the Schloss Charlottenburg.
  • Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg— Associated with the left wing youth culture, artists and Turkish immigrants, this borough is somewhat noisier than most, lots of cafes, bars and clubs, but also some museums in Kreuzberg near the border to Mitte.
  • Prenzlauer Berg— A trendy district in the former East Berlin undergoing gentrification, north of the city center. Popular with students, artists and media professionals, lots of cafes and bars
  • Schöneberg— Cosy area for ageing hippies, young families and homosexuals. Famous are the markets on Saturdays, the street cafes (e.g. Akazienstraße) and the laissez-faire life style.
  • Zehlendorf— Zehlendorf is one of the greenest and wealthiest districts in Berlin and the biggest university in town (Freie Universität) is located here, but often ignored are the great museums and some important historical buildings.

Areas of interest that are not boroughs/districts but known rather by its own name:

  • Ku'Damm (short for Kurfürstendamm)— One of the main shopping streets in former West Berlin, especially for luxury goods. Many great restaurants and hotels, also in the side roads. Located in the borough Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf.
  • Potsdamer Platz— Once divided in two by the Berlin Wall, this area has been newly developed since reunification in an ultra-modern style. It has a large shopping center and two movie theatre complexes (3D IMAX and a multiplex showing only original English versions of first-run films). On fine days, the piazza under the spectacular canopy of the Sony Center (designed by Helmut Jahn), has become a mecca for both Berliners and tourists. Located in the southwest corner of the borough Mitte.
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