The seat of the German parliament is one of Berlin’s most historic buildings. Constructed in 1884-1889 as a symbol of the strength of the German Reich, it sustained a great deal of damage and was completely reconstructed in 1994-1999 by the British architect Sir Norman Foster, only the exterior shell being retained of the original building. Its most impressive feature is the imposing glass dome of the observation deck, which offers amazing views of the city. Address: Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin, www.bundestag.de
This is Berlin’s most emblematic landmark, a symbol of the reunification of the city after the fall of the Berlin Wall and witness to many important events in the city’s turbulent history. It was built in 1789-1791 by Carl Gotthard Langhans; crowned by the triumphant sculpture of the Quadriga, the Brandenburg Gate is one of the finest examples of German classicism. Address: Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin
The elegant summer palace of Charlottenburg (1695-1699) is a superb example of French Baroque and Prussian splendour. Its historic rooms still resonate with the bygone majesty of the royal house of Hohenzollern, and the beautiful Baroque gardens are a delightful place to stroll or sunbathe. Address: Spandauer Damm 10-22, 14059 Berlin, www.spsg.de
East Side Gallery:
This is the largest (1.3km long) open-air gallery in the world, located by the River Spree, originally part of the Berlin Wall. In 1990, 118 artists from 21 countries decorated the grey blocks of the wall with vibrant images commenting on the political events of the period 1989-1990, transforming the wall into a unique work or art and monument to freedom. The most famous image is by the Russian Dmitri Vrubel and represents Brezhnev and Honecker exchanging a comradely socialist kiss. Address: Mühlenstrasse, 10243 Berlin, www.eastsidegallery-berlin.de
In this spectacular zinc construction (2001), resembling a bolt of lightning (an abstract representation of the Star of David), by the architect Daniel Libeskind, visitors can follow the history of the German-speaking Jews from the Middle Ages to the present day. The focus is on the role of the Hebrew community in the cultural life of the city, its persecution and extermination, and finally the return of the Jews to Germany after reunification. Address: Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin, www.jmberlin.de
Museum Island (Museumsinsel):
A complex of five very important museums, located on a little island in the River Spree. The collections include priceless treasures from the prehistoric era and ancient times to the 19th century, and the five museums are a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. You can visit the world-class Pergamon Museum (Greek and Babylonian antiquities), and the amazing Altes Museum (ancient Greek and Roman), the Alte Nationalgalerie (Germany’s biggest collection of 19th century painting and sculpture), the Neues Museum (prehistoric items and Egyptian art, including the bust of Nefertiti) and the Bode Museum (sculptures, coins and paintings). Address: Am Lustgarten 1, 10117 Berlin, www.smb.spk-berlin.de
Mauermuseum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie:
On the site of the former allied checkpoint there now stands a replica of an American guardhouse. Just next to it you will find the museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, with documents relating to the history of the Berlin wall and the incredible means (from hot-air balloons to ladders) used by people seeking to escape from East to West Berlin. Address: Friedrichstrasse 43-45, 10969 Berlin, www.mauermuseum.de
Berlin’s largest art museum is located in the amazing arts complex known as the Kulturforum, and focuses on European painting of the 13th to 18th centuries. The amazing collection includes works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Durer, Holbein, Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Goya, Velazquez and Bosch. Address: Matthäikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin, www.smb.museum
This vast and historic square, a symbol of the new Berlin, was for many years after the fall of the Berlin Wall the largest building site in Europe, where a global dream team of architects were engaged in creating an impressive city of futuristic constructions, focused on two points: the Daimler City and the Sony Centre. The square is now the heart of the city’s leisure and entertainment activities.
Laid out in 1833-40 as a royal hunting park for the Electors, the most famous park in Berlin was converted in the mid-19th century into a pleasure ground for the people of the city. Today its huge expanse of meadows attracts a host of people who come here to cycle, sunbathe, jog or hold barbecues.