CITIZEN COLUMN: My favorite foreign cities, n ° 7: Berlin | Chroniclers


Berlin allowed bronze bricks / pavers all over the city to mark the addresses of all Jews exported from the Holocaust. Basically part of the same complex are monuments of the Berlin Wall with slabs still standing and preserved with appropriate text. Oddly enough, the new US Embassy is RIGHT THERE too, but purposefully across the line in the old east or at least straddling the two old sectors. And along some side streets, mounds of grass along the route of the Wall built to its former height, are now children’s playgrounds and picnic areas. And about a block away is the old Checkpoint Charlie (guarded passage between East and West), now with volunteer actors and several private museums, all great for photos.

Just along the canal behind the Brandenburg Gate stands the former City Palace of Berlin, now a great museum of Art and Lost Kingdoms. Nearby stands the Dom Berlin, the still beautiful old Catholic Church, but more Catholic, of course, essentially a museum piece with wonderful and amazing interior art and architecture.

Further in this direction opens the old center of the government of East Germany, now much modified, some buildings demolished, but with austere architecture reflecting an austere and oppressive regime, now bygone. By the way, the hotels in the old east sector are great and a little cheaper than in the west. (I prefer, don’t laugh, Best Western and Dorint.)

Now return to the other side of the Bundestag, through the large park (the Tiergarten), a huge collection of high quality museums: the Bauhaus, the Musical Instruments, Haus Der Kultrum, KPM, the Berlin State Museums (5), the Collectors rooms, the film museum and the science center. Allow at least two days for these visits. Head to Museum Island at the north end of Spree Island, for even more museums; the Berlin State Museums (6), the Humbolt Box and the Museum of Islam.

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