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Berlin, Germany is the capital city and a single state of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is the country's largest city in area and population, and the second most populous city in the European Union. Berlin is located in eastern Germany, about 70 kilometers west of the border with Poland.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin pulses with life; it is a city that never sleeps. The capital of Germany is paved with cobbled streets dating back 750 years. At the same time, it is gloriously modern.

For nearly 30 years, Berlin was really two cities: East and West Berlin, with a wall in between that was meant to be impenetrable. In 1989 all that changed. The wall came down, and the two parts of the city were reunited. In the years since 1989, Berlin has been not only reborn, but reinvented.

The speed of change has been astounding, with the city’s entire center of gravity shifting from west to east. The action ( sights, restaurants and nightlife) is now found in eastern Berlin. It’s an exciting scene and, for anyone familiar with the eastern streets of a few years ago, a slightly unbelievable one. Much of the new city is already in place: parliament sits in the renovated Reichstag; Potsdamer Platz, once leveled to a field in the Wall’s death zone, is now a bustling quarter with 110 new shops, 30 restaurants, a theater, a film museum, and a casino; and the city’s world-class collection of European art has been reunited in the Gemäldegalerie.

A fresh vibrancy is everywhere: on the boulevards, in the art and flea markets, in the 300 trendy night-spots and the 7,000 pubs and restaurants. Visitors can enjoy three opera houses, two great concert halls and 35 theatres, plus cabarets, musicals and revues. Art-lovers can tour 170 excellent museums. this revitalized Berlin has been called the “New York City” of Europe.

One of the most popular activities in Berlin is river cruising. Tourist boats cruise the city's waterways, stopping at picturesque parks and castles.

The city of Berlin lies in the middle of the state of Brandenburg, just a few miles from countless lakes, historical castles, stately homes, abbeys, heaths, pine forests, river valleys and tree-lined country roads. Few cities have such a wealth of unspoiled natural and cultural attractions in the direct vicinity. Berlin is linked to its surrounding areas both by the Spree and Havel rivers and by their common historical heritage, reflected in the many fascinating sights.

The reunited city of Berlin is once again the capital of Germany. Berlin was almost bombed out of existence during World War II, its streets reduced to piles of rubble, its parks to muddy swampland. But the optimistic spirit and strength of will of the remarkable Berliners enabled them to survive not only the wartime destruction of their city, but also its postwar division, symbolized by the Berlin Wall.

Structures of steel and glass tower over streets where before only piles of rubble lay, and parks and gardens are again lush. Even now, in the daily whirl of working, shopping, and dining along the Ku'damm, Berliners encounter reminders of less happy days. At the end of the street stands the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, with only the shell of the old neo-Romanesque bell tower remaining. In striking contrast is the new church, constructed west of the old tower in 1961, in a futuristic design.

Before World War II, the section of the city that became East Berlin was the cultural and political heart of Germany, where the best museums, the finest churches, and the most important boulevards lay. After the wall came down, East Berliners turned to restoring their important museums, theaters, and landmarks (especially in the Berlin-Mitte or center section), while the West Berliners built entirely new museums and cultural Centers. This contrast between the two parts of city is still evident today, though east and west are more and more coming together within the immense, fascinating whole that is Berlin.

It is a perfect time to join the excitement, and to experience Berlin. The city has succeeded in moving forward, and while its entire foundation has shifted in a new direction, Berlin is again making history.
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