Berlin is a unique city filled with museums and art galleries, but you don’t need to actually go inside to see some fascinating stuff. The city’s history is full of turmoil, which makes for some great stories. The stories are in the landmarks and architecture. Mind you, Micah and I are super blessed and have family in Berlin, so we were given a tour like none other from a local, my cousin Tommy. We borrowed some bikes and biked our way through the city. We were also able to stay in my cousin’s “Garden House” in the middle of city, which was by far better than any hotel! It was like a secret urban garden. Anyways, I wanted to focus more on the doable sights to see in the city!
The Tempelhof Airport is no longer a functioning airport, and it hasn’t been for years. Tempelhof used to be an airport when the city was divided and was used by the US to air drop supplies in 1948-49, which was know as the Berlin Airlift. The city was not sure what to do with it after the wall came down and it was no longer needed so they turned it into a city park, but funny enough, they left it just the way it was, like an airport. You can grab a bite or a beer at a food stand and beer garden, or you can go for a run like I did. The path is about 4 miles around the park. The park has a great city park vibe similar to Central Park, with people biking, walking, and just hanging out! Definitely a great way to spend a morning.
Brandenburg Gate is located in the heart of the city right by the Parliament building and other government buildings. It was built on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II in the 1730s. During World War II, the Nazi Party used the gate as a celebration place. Then in 1989 when the wall was taken down, it became a symbol of peace to unify the city. It was then used as the place for the “festival of freedom” commemorating the wall being taken down.
Tiergarten is located right by Brandenburg Gate. Tiergarten used to be the front yard or play hunting ground for the Kaiser. In fact, the name translates to Animal Garden. The Kaiser used to stock the park to use it for his hunts, ensuring he would be successful to impress his guests. Now the park is used just like Central Park. There are long pathways, street vendors, and food vendors all throughout the par
Berlin Wall Gallery:
While Berlin is the art capital of the EU, you don’t need to go inside to go to an art gallery. The street art is amazing: sometimes all you have to do is look up. But you can also go to the East Side Gallery. After the wall came down, the city invited some world-renowned artist to come paint on pieces of the wall. They are now on display for everyone. Not only is it a reminder of the history, but each pieces tells a story of its own.
Check out the history in the architecture in Propststraße:
Berlin saw so much destruction during the war and after the war it was divided into East and West. While the west side worked to restore the historical building to their original state the east side used cinderblocks to re-construct. This gives certain buildings a very grey and cold feel—it’s very obvious what was east and what was west construction. However, there is one little pocket the East attempted to restore for a celebration of the city, but they did it with their same pre-fabricated materials. They just added some small elements of the original architecture. It was a very half-assed effort. However, now that enough time has passed, that too has become a part of the city’s history.
Kreuzberg is by far the neighborhood to be in! It is so cute and full of great restaurants, shops, and sights to see. The buildings are all very old dating back to the 1800s. In fact, all the buildings host a large courtyard with large archways connecting the buildings, which was so fire wagons and later trucks could get into the buildings if needed. It’s also known for its roots in punk rock and eclectic cultures. The Kreuzberg neighborhood is definitely the hipster place to be. But hipster or not, you will enjoy strolling the streets and grabbing a cappuccino or a glass of wine at the local wine shop.
Additional photos from Berlin…click to scroll through!
Thinking of booking a trip?? Why not now!?