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The Best of Berlin

Published in Places & Spaces - April 9, 2013

Berlin, a city that has witnessed devastation and corruption at the highest level, has emerged as one of the most vibrant and culturally stimulating cities in the world. From the Bauhaus Movement that originated in 1919 to the Berlin Philharmonic,...

Berlin, a city that has witnessed devastation and corruption at the highest level, has emerged as one of the most vibrant and culturally stimulating cities in the world. From the Bauhaus Movement that originated in 1919 to the Berlin Philharmonic, over to the urban streets of Kruezburg; its offerings of history, art, music and cuisine entice millions of tourists to the city each year and today we present our offerings of the best of Berlin.

Get lost on Museum Island:

Situated on the Northern half on an island on the Spree River in the centre of the Mitte district of Berlin, Museum Island plays host to five museums of international merit. The Museums include, The Bode Museum, The Pergamon, The Altes Museum, The Nues Museum and The old Nationally gallery.

While the history of the buildings stems back to 1830 when King Freidrich Wilhelm III commissioned the construction of the royal museum, sadly a high percentage was destroyed during the Second World War. After a rebuild and remodel the buildings were once again intact by the end of the 20th century, today the five statures of architectural prowess are quite a site to be seen. The Pergamon, arguably one of the most impressive museums across the globe, and definitely within German is comprised of three separate museums under one roof, and is home to wondrous objects from across the world.

Rummage in the Flea Market at Mauerpark:

Mauerpark, translated to mean Wall Park, skirts the former border to the city and runs parallel to the original Berlin wall. In 1989 when the wall fell, the surrounded area was converted into a public space by the residence, this now plays host to one of the largest, most exciting Flea markets in the world. This pleasingly random collection of stalls, piled high with jumbled offerings of clothes, furniture, crockery and oddities, stretches up the entire track of one side of the park and back down the other! Once a week the hustle and bustle of the market is interjected with jovial singing from the resident karaoke machine. If a light-hearted day of rummaging and wandering is what you seek then the Flohmarkt am Mauerpark is for you, open every Sunday from 7am - 5pm.

Dance from dusk 'til dawn:

It is impossible to talk about Berlin without mentioning the notorious night life. Berlin plays host to the infamous nightclub Berghain - Panorama, known for its 48 hour parties and strict no photo policy once inside, Berghain boost the title of best club in Europe. The pumping techno, dark rooms and venue of an abandoned power station really do ensure the club is entirely unique, if you can make it past the strict, and all together fairly random, door policy that is.

If all darkened rooms with blaring music is not your thing, then perhaps the more relaxed Club der Visionaere is. This rustic brick building nestled down by the canal in an understated spot in Kruezburg makes the perfect spot for an evening drink with a casual and relaxed atmosphere; stay on into the night when the party really gets going with resident DJ's. Open May - September from 2pm until late.

Experience true terror:

It would be impossible to visit the city without attending at least one of the hundreds of exhibitions that document the horrors of the Second World War. As the most frequently visited remembrance site of the Second World War, the aptly named Topography of terror, is home to the most chilling, blunt accounts of the work of the gestapo, SS and Nazi officers. The museum itself is nestled in the heart of Berlin and from 1933 - 1945, the site was home to the Secret Security Police office with its own 'In House Prison', the Reich security main office and the leadership of the SS. Today, weekly tours of the museum are run, focusing on the motives and true policies of terror of the Nazi officers, this tour is run by well informed and educated staff but is not for the faint hearted.

The Holocaust Memorial site, named the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, was designed and brought to life in 2005, on the 60th anniversary of the fall of the Nazi regime. Designed by Peter Eisnemen, visitors are free to walk around the 19,000 square meters of concrete, near Brandenburg gate and meters away from where the remains of Hitler's bunker is buried. Below the site there is a museum completely dedicated to the stories of those who lost their lives, loved ones or lived to tell the tale.

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