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University of Missouri

The beauty of Berlin

Filed in Blog, Country, Germany, Netherlands by on June 17, 2013

Living so close to the German border, I have been to many cities in Germany. However, I would have to say if you go to one city in Germany, it should be Berlin. It is amazing how much the city has been through, but also how far it has come.

Germany has spent a great deal of money on reparations, but some of the damage left behind from WWII is still visible.  This is what makes the city truly unique: you may notice the charring from bombs or the dents from the bullets, but the building itself is still a sight to see. The Berlin Cathedral was severely damaged during WWII, but is now one of the most popular attractions in Berlin. Located on Museum Island, the Berlin Cathedral stands alongside five other museums surrounded by water.  One ticket grants access to all the museums on the island. Unfortunately, there was a lot of construction being done at the time I was there.

Berlin, GermanyBerlin, Germany

The Deutsches Historisches Museum is another popular Berlin attraction; however, is not included in the museum island package. The history behind the museum itself is quite fascinating and is the location of one of the many Hitler assassination attempts recorded.

Berlin, Germany

Allied Checkpoint Charlie and the entrance of the American sector were also interesting to see, complete with two German actors in U.S. uniforms and, of course, a McDonald’s. This point was considered an “emigration loophole” for Easterners to enter West Germany. About 20 percent of the East German population took advantage of this point.

Berlin, Germany

Seeing that the Berlin Wall dividing East and West Germany was constructed quite rapidly, people were given no choice to leave. Therefore, the people voiced their opinion by vandalizing the wall. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the longest stretch (about 1 mile) still standing was preserved as a graffiti showcase called the East Side Gallery. The artwork illustrates the struggles and passions many experienced with the movement, as well as pays tribute to victims whose lives were taken during the tumultuous time.

Berlin, GermanyBerlin, Germany

One of my favorite memorials yet, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, pays tribute specifically to the victims of the Holocaust. The memorial consists of 2,711 gray, concrete boxes that seem almost coffin-like. You can really feel the mood change when you enter; it’s an amazing sight to see. Located opposite the East Side Gallery, each piece of concrete within the memorial is coated with anti-grafitti spray so that any vandalism can simply be wiped off the next day.

Berlin, GermanyBerlin, Germany

Berlin provides the perfect combination of a history rich culture alongside a young, liberal culture. The cosmopolitan shopping and restaurant district along with the collection of stunning museums makes Berlin a great fit for any set of interests. I would go back in a heartbeat!

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