Experience the city from Asisi’s Panorama
Cultural diversity, urban contrasts and the appeal of individual districts are characteristic for the capital city of Germany. The once divided city has long since transformed itself from an “underdog” into a cosmopolitan metropolis.
Big city life takes place in Berlin between an abundance of attractions and cultural monuments, which demonstrate the history both of the city and the entire country.
Asisi’s THE WALL Panorama is situated directly at Checkpoint Charlie in the Mitte district. This is a mere stone’s throw from the border between the districts of Mitte and Kreuzberg, which also marks the former border between East and West Berlin and was depicted by Yadegar Asisi in his Panorama.
The Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain and Mitte districts
From the Panorama, you walk along Rudi-Dutschke Straße (further east it becomes Oranienstraße) some 30 minutes and enter Kreuzberg. When you get to Oranienplatz you can today see the corner depicted by the artist Asisi in his Wall Panorama.
Kreuzberg is regarded as a particularly multi-cultural and colourful district and the heart of the creative and alternative scene. Alongside an abundance of bars, cafés and clubs, Kreuzberg also offers many attractions, such as the Jewish Museum, the Martin-Gropius-Bau and the Topography of Terror project situated at the former district border.
The area around the Oberbaum Bridge, in particular, once the border and later a main connection between the districts of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain (now merged into the single district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg) is a real crowd-puller. With the Eastside Gallery in the direct vicinity of the scene clubs in the city, the past and present have been fused into a tiny space.
The Mitte district probably has the highest density of attractions and museums of all Berlin. The Wall Museum is situated directly at Checkpoint Charlie. From here, you can walk along Friedrichstraße in a northerly direction to the corner of Unter den Linden. From this central vantage point, the attractions of the city centre can be readily reached by public transport in all the directions of the compass.
East of Friedrichstraße is the Gendarmenmarkt, which – together with the Schauspielhaus Theatre and the Französisches Dom (French Cathedral) is generally accepted as the most beautiful square in Berlin.
From the corner of Friedrichstraße and Unter den Linden you walk in an easterly direction until you reach the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) and Museum Island, which is home to the Altes Museum (Old Museum), the Neues Museum (New Museum), the Pergamon Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) and the Bode Museum.
Not far from here are the Hackesche Höfe (courtyard development) at Hackescher Markt square, the Berlin Television Tower at Alexander Platz as well as the historical Nikolaiviertel (Nikolai quarter) and the Red Town Hall.
Visitors to the restaurant at the Television Tower have a fabulous view of Berlin far and wide.
If you go northwards from Unter den Linden, you reach the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Straße, where between 1961 and 1989 part of the Berlin Wall ran.
Even further north along Bernauer Straße lies the Mauerpark, which used to mark the border between the districts of Prenzlauer Berg and Wedding. Today, however, it is a big attraction for visitors with its grassy spaces and regular flea market.
Looking from Unter den Linden in a westerly direction, you see the Brandenburg Gate at Pariser Platz. Within walking distance is the Memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial.
On the western side of the Brandenburg Gate, the Tiergarten marks the beginning of the former West Berlin. On its northern side are the Reichstag, the Bundeskanzleramt (Federal Chancellery) and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of the Cultures of the World).
The Straße des 17. Juni runs through the heart of the Tiergarten and extends as far as Ernst-Reuter Platz in Charlottenburg.
Berlin city centre
The Berlin city centre is denoted as everything lying inside the S-Bahn ring. Not only Mitte and Kreuzberg but also the district of Charlottenburg-Wilmerdorf has a large number of attractions. Situated next to Zoologischer Garten Railway Station are West Berlin’s Zoo and Kurfürstendamm. With the Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) and the famous Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche (Memorial Church), “Ku´damm” used to be West Berlin’s smartest shopping area.
Other popular destinations are Charlottenburg Palace with its beautiful park, the Berlin Funkturm (Radio Tower), the Olympic Stadium (completed for the 1936 Olympics) as well as the former Tempelhof airport, today the largest urban open space and recreation facility in Berlin.
For those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, a visit to Potsdam, a trip to the State Capital of Brandenburg, with its Hohenzollern rococo-style Sanssouci Palace and Gardens a showpiece of the city, is well worth undertaking.
Also worth visiting is the town of Rheinsberg north of Berlin – with another Hohenzollern dynasty palace.
For nature lovers, tours to the Spreewald or one of many lakes in Brandenburg offer relaxation and a change from the hustle and bustle of Berlin.
On the occasion of the Jewish Film Festival, the Jewish Museum and the Potsdam Film Museum are among the venues showing Jewish films from all over the world.
Kreuzberg and the Carnival of Cultures are inseparable from each other. The Street Festival emphasises the cultural diversity of the city while the famous Carnival Procession on Whit Sunday is the highlight of the whole weekend.
The magic of the Christmas Market at Gendarmenmarkt set against the magnificent backdrop of the square is especially recommended.
Each summer, the Berlin museums invite the public to the Long Night of Museums and keep their doors open until 2 o’clock in the morning.
Although from 2015, the DMY International Design Festival is taking place in a new location in the Berlin Mitte Power Station, it will still offer new products, prototypes and material innovations to the public.
All the year round
For those who would like to take home with them a unique reminder of Berlin without overtaxing their purse, there are numerous photo booths dotted around the city – especially in Mitte, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain.
January and June
Alongside the Arena, the Berlin Fashion Week makes use of the premises of the former Berlin Tempelhof airport, attracting fashion designers, catwalk beauties and fashion bloggers alike to Berlin twice a year.
Each year at the beginning of summer on 21st June, the Fete de la Musique starts at venues all over the city with numerous free music events.
In the Make City Festival, educational, cultural art and urban meeting places invite the public to join in designing the city.
At the Long Day of City Nature, numerous events take place in Berlin – particularly in the Urban Gardening projects.
The Berlin Food Art Week combines gastronomy and art in over 30 locations throughout the city.
A can’t-miss for sports enthusiasts: the International Stadium Festival Berlin (ISTAF) is a traditional athletics event, held every year in the Olympic Stadium.