There are three things I distinctly remember about our travels through Berlin- beer, bratwurst and history.
Berlin experienced some heavy historical events during the World Wars and the strongest message I learnt from wandering between memorials in the German capital is no one wins in war times. And those that become threatened by intelligence of others are not great people.
Book Burning Memorial
Hidden in a public square off Unter den Linden under cobblestone paving is a small glass window. And through the window is an empty room of shelves. In an effort to halt learning and education, for fear of retaliation, the Nazis ordered the burning of books and this memorial definitely captures the feeling of emptiness that you would feel being deprived of learning.
While we didn’t explore the inside of this cathedral but rather we admired the renaissance architecture from the outside. The level of intricate detail and dramatic presence of the Berliner Dom is something I continue to remember.
The idea of building a 13 foot wall for the purpose of segregating communities, families and friends stirs an unsettling feeling, and this is exactly what happened in 1961. It stood for 28 years and no one was allowed to cross, although there were 5,053 successful documented escapes.
While the wall was demolished in 1989 there are some remaining sections and we walked along Eastside Gallery where the wall has been painted with various messages and reflections.
Memorial to murdered Jews of Europe
Remembering one of the largest group of victims, this is a significant memorial sponsored by the government where there are close to 3,000 stone pillars set like a maze, in a cemetery setting. It was disorientating to walk through and although our natural instinct was to have fun in a maze, for obvious reasons, we didn’t feel this and felt a more disturbed the deeper we walked in. Downstairs there is an information center displaying stories of victims and their families.
In winter the parks of Berlin are interesting places to explore particularly Tier Garden where we came across a number of stern looking statues.
A stellar example of architecture, it was incredible to stand under this 26 metre towering gate. I wrote a post of the Brandenburg Gate here
The Egyptian Museum in the Neues Museum
Part of an impressive museum quarter is the Egyptian museum. Categorised into themed rooms, the Journey of the Hereafter, is a must. Most Egyptian museums are dimly lit to preserve the antiquities and it also sets an eerie feeling as we made our way around the mummies and coffins. Egyptians strongly believed in life after death which in hindsight is quite positive. The existence in the dead realm was completely dependent on the preservation of the body.
The German Bundestag
A building with quite a long trail of history, essentially Germany’s historical parliament building. Built in 1894 it was damaged in the war, conquered and then rebuilt. In 1999 the first session of parliament began at this monumental building. Often the words ‘Dem Deutschen Volke’ appear and this translates – to the German People
The glass dome of which visitors can explore the terrace area is a symbol of the transparency into parliament, purely because they can look down into the chambers and watch the politicians.