Stop to see the Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor, as the Germans would pronounce it) in Berlin is one of the most popular landmarks when tourists think about Germany. This significant landmark is not just important to the city of Berlin, but for all of Germany.
It was here that monumental German history was made. The Brandenburg Gate is a strong symbol of the country fight against past traumatic events and its diplomatic accomplishments.
The Brandenburg Gate Design
Can you guess what influenced the design of the Brandenburg Gate? It was the Acropolis in Athens. The similarities between both structures are very apparent. The inception-al work of the Greeks, no doubt! In 1791, the Brandenburg Gate was designed by architect Carl Gotthard Langhans and executed by Friedrich Wilhelm.
At the apex of the monument is the sculpture of the Quadriga, “a four-horsed chariot driven by Victoria, the winged goddess of victory.”
After WWII, the Brandenburg Gate survived, but with many battle scars. The landmark has been reconstructed since then and the original remaining pieces of the four-horses are preserved in the Märkisches Museum.
Brandenburg Gate Today
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, East and West Germany were reunified. The Brandenburg Gate became the symbol of a new Germany. This landmark is special the hearts of the Germans and it is definitely worth adding to your list of must-see Berlin sites.
Gaze at the Berlin TV Tower
Got signal? Sky-high at about 368 meters is Berlin’s famous TV Tower. It is not hard to miss this structure because it sticks out like a sore thumb. In all of Europe, the Berlin TV Tower is the only highest building that is open to the general public. From the observance level at the top of the tower, you are able to have a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of Berlin!
Holy Grounds! The Berlin Cathedral
This remodeled neo-Renaissance to neoclassicist Berlin Cathedral has experienced multiple architectural renovation and religious moments since the Middle Ages. In order to follow the Lutheran branch of Martin Luther, the church was reformed in 1539 and later between 1747 and 1750 when Frederick the Great came to power the new Baroque structure was developed.
Within Berlin’s Museum Island, the Cathedral sit in all her beauty. Across from the river the runs through the island is a great place to get a full view. From the outside of the Cathedral you can see impressive details such as the intricately-designed raised pulpit, the baptismal and matrimonial chapels. If you chose to tour the inside, you are able to climb up to the dome, see the imperial staircase, the gold altar, and the 7000 pipe organ. After the tour, take a break. The areas that line the river are full of great bars, restaurants, and hookah lounges. Grab a drink, a lawn chair, a notebook (or sketchbook, like I did) and relax!
Berlin Wall Art Project
The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and since then (20 year later) it has been transformed from a representation of oppression to an open canvas for individuals to express their freedom. On the parts of the wall that were either still stood or that were reconstructed, several artists rapidly began to creatively make their mark. Some of the stunning artworks are signed by its creator, but many murals remain anonymous. The walls of art are interesting and unique. If you are with a group of friends I would recommend that each person interprets a mural and discuss it! This will be a fun debate.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews
In the middle of Berlin is the Holocaust memorial for Germany, known as The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas). Near the end of the 1980’s, German citizens Lea Rosh and Eberhard Jäckel facilitated the construction of the memorial. On 25 June 1999, the “German Federal Parliament took the decision to build the memorial according to a design by Peter Eisenman and to establish a federal foundation to run it.” The aura of this memorial is not chipper, nor joyful (with good reason). It is comprised of 2 711 concrete blocks in a 19000 square mile field of Stelae. People can only guess what the blocks represent. Why are the blocks different sizes and heights? It is a numerical symbol? Categories of the fallen Jews? No one knows for sure. The memorial is open to individualistic interpretation.
Must-eats in Berlin
German food is a very interesting, yet versatile cuisine. Some dishes might seem very appeasing to the taste buds, but there is always that dish that you will fall in love with! German food is hearty, heavy, meaty, starchy, and delicious-y. Meat and potatoes are the staple for many dishes.
Currywurst in Berlin is like how pizza is to New York City. On almost every street, there appears to be Currywurst shop that serves this cheap meal hot and yummy. The wurst aka sausage itself is not the show stopper, the secret is in the sauce! It is a combination of the three essential ingredients ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder. The sauce can be made either spicy (for the heat seekers) or non-spicy (traditional) with a side of crispy French fries. Each plate can will cost between 5-8 Euros.
This is Germany’s most iconic dish. Its deliciously tender meat cutlet in a light and crispy batter with a side of potatoes. Salivating yet!? There are different types of Schnitzel; pork, beef, and chicken. The most famous version of Schnitzel is the Wiener Schnitzel! A thinly sliced piece of veal-meat is bathed with flour, egg and bread crumbs and then fried in oil or butter until it turns golden on the outside.
Nothing screams German BBQ like a Bratwurst sausage! They come in a variety of sizes and tastes, but all taste amazing. It is easily prepared. Simply grill the Bratwurst for a few minutes on both sides, add a bun, add some ketchup and/or mustard and enjoy!
Have a sweet tooth? Spaghettieis is a fun ice cream sundae created by “Dario Fontanella, son of an Italian immigrant and owner of an ice cream parlor in Mannheim, Germany, in 1969.” Vanilla ice cream is pressed through a potato ricer to made the “noodles,” and it is topped with sauce or rather strawberry puree, and coconut or white chocolate shavings as the Parmesan cheese!
For several decades, Spaghetti Ice has remained a German specialty ever since then. You must try this treat in Germany because it is rarely found anywhere else.