The Brandenburg Gate is the symbol of Berlin and became a symbol of the whole country due to the division of Germany. The classicist city gate was built in 1791 by Carl Gotthard Langhans. The Quadriga by Johann Gottfried Schadow stands on top of the gate. The Quadriga is a chariot drawn by four horses on which the goddess Victoria stands. It symbolizes the arrival of peace. Napoleon conquered Berlin in 1806 and brought the Quadriga to Paris. Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo in 1814 and the Quadriga returned to Berlin. After Adolf Hitler seized power in 1933, a National Socialist torchlight procession marched through the Brandenburg Gate. After the war, the gate was on the border between the GDR and the West-Germany. After the Berlin Wall was built, the Brandenburg Gate was located between two walls on the GDR's death strip from 1961 until 1989. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the gate and the Quadriga were restored and have since become the most famous sight of Berlin.
The Gendarmenmarkt is the most beautiful square in Berlin. In the middle of the square stands the royal playhouse by Karl Friedrich Schinkel built in 1821. The playhouse is flanked by two identical churches, which give the Gendarmenmarkt its elegant harmony. The German and French Cathedral were built in 1701 without clock towers. The towers of the two Protestant churches were supplemented by Carl von Gontard in 1785.
Friedrich I. built a new district attached to the medieval town of Berlin, which he called "Friedrichstadt". In this new borough he allowed Huguenots to settle, who had to leave France for religious reasons. This community build the French Cathedral on the Gendarmenmarkt. The French Cathedral is located on the northern edge of the square, while the German Cathedral is at the southern end of the Gendarmenmarkt.
The Reichstag was built in 1894 by Paul Wallot. It was the parliament building of the German Empire and the Weimar Republic. In 1933 the plenary hall was destroyed by the Reichstag fire. The Dutch perpetrator Marinus van der Lubbe admitted the arson. He was a radical communist who had been noticed several times because of arson. For the Nazis, it was the signal to arrest all communists because they feared a revolution like in Russia. The Reichstag was badly damaged at WW2. In 1945 the Russians hoisted the red flag on top of the building. During the division of Germany the Reichstag was temporarily used as a Museum of German history.
After the reunification of Germany, the building was converted to become the parliament building of the Bundestag in 1999. The British architect Sir Norman Foster was commissioned and designed a spectacular, glass dome. To get into the dome, you have to queue in front of the Reichstag. You take the elevator up to the roof and walk up the spiral ramp. The Reichstag dome is an architectural highlight of Berlin.
The "Nikolaiviertel" is the oldest part of Berlin. In 1230 the late Romanesque St. Nicholas Church was built. The "Nikolaiviertel" looks like a historic square in a Brandenburg village. The historic square has a nice "Old Town Charm" with restaurants and small shops.
If you want to experience Berlin from the water can make a boat trip on the river Spree. The excursion trips on the Wannsee and the Havel are also attractive. The boats depart from different places depending on the tour and company. "Stern und Kreis" is one of the biggest boat companies in Berlin.
Close to the Hakescher Market a residential and commercial complex consisting of eight backyards was built by the Quilitz Family in 1907. The court complex was planned and designed by Kurt Berndt and August Endell, who created the Art Nouveau facades. From 1994 until 1997 the whole complex was extensively renovated.
The Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church was commissioned in commemoration of Kaiser Wilhelm I. The Architect Franz Schwechten designed a Neo-Roman replica of the Marienkirche Church in Gelnhausen which was consecrated in 1895. The church was hit by bombs in 1943 and collapsed. The architect Egon Eiermann designed a new church in 1957 and intended to tear down the remains. Berlin Citizens opposed and fought for the preservation of the ruins.
The Berlin Wall was built in order to prevent fleeing the GDR into the west. From 1961-1989 more than 100 people were killed on the "Todesstreifen" death strip attempting to escape. The Memorial Berlin Wall was opened in 2010.
On the site of the Topography of Terror Exhibition the headquarters of the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo) and the SS-Supreme Command were located during the Third Reich. Both organisations arrested opponents of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party) and killed them.
Checkpoint Charlie was a former border checkpoint between the soviet and the american sector. When the leaders of the GDR decided to lock in their Citizens in 1961 , checkpoints Alpha, Bravo and Charlie came to existence.
1961, the GDR erected a wall around West Berlin. After the German Reunification, 118 artists from 21 countries painted a section of the wall in Friedrichshain. In 1991, a preservation order was put on the East Side Gallery.
The television tower was completed in 1969 as a symbol of the superiority of Socialism. Including the antenna the tower rises 368m/1.207ft high. The observation deck is located 203m/666ft above Berlin. The ubiqitous tower must not be missing in any TV-production from the Capital.
The Holocaust Memorial Site came to existence in commemoration for the murdered Jews of Europe in 2005. The concept of New York architect Peter Eisenmann consists of 2711 concrete steles that only differ from eachother by their height and are arranged in a pattern.
Schloss Bellevue is the official residence of the Federal President of Germany since 1994. The Palace was built in 1786 for Ferdinand of Prussia. In World War I Schloss Bellevue Palace served as the headquarters of the Supreme Army Command.
Charlotte von Hannover had build the Lützow Palace from 1669 on. After her death in 1705 the town and the palace were renamed from Lützow to Charlottenburg. Friedrich II used his grandmothers palace as a residence and expanded the complex and its grounds until 1747.