Berlin was founded in the early thirteenth century as the capital of Brandenburg and from 1701 it served as the capital of Prussia. As a result of its position on the main transportation route in the center of Prussia, the city became an industrial and commercial hub during the eighteenth century. Between 1830 and 1860 the population of Berlin doubled as a result of migration from the rural provinces. Berlin reached its apex of growth in 1939 just prior to the Second World War. After the Second World War, the city was partitioned into East and West Berlin and in 1961 a wall was built to prevent movement between the two German republics. In 1989, that wall was demolished when the two German republics united with Berlin as capital of Germany.
Partition greatly affected the demographics of the city. The population of post-partition East Berlin initially decreased and then stabilized, whereas West Berlin experienced a steady decline in population that continued until reunification. A new unified Berlin is expected to achieve a slow and steady rate of growth into the next century. But, although the Wall is gone, Berlin is still divided: the shimmering glittering west opposed to the ragged yet stoic east. This not so subtle division will hopefully disappear in the next decade.
Today Berlin, Germany's largest city, is the heart and soul of Germany. Grand public buildings, glorious museums and theaters, crowded pubs and raunchy nightclubs reflect Germany's collective dynamic personality.
Population: city, 3,450,000; Time Zone: GMT/ITC +1 or Central European Time.
Flight times: Paris-2 hrs., London-2.25 hrs., Los Angeles-11 hrs., NYC-8.5 hrs.
Average temperature: 71°F (22° C) in summer and winter 35°F (2° C), Heaviest precipitation is November through January.
Average Daily High/Low Temperature:
• March - May: 60°f / 41°f, 16°c / 5°c
• June - Aug.: 76°f / 59°f, 25°c / 15°f
• Sept. - Nov.: 59°f / 44°f, 15°c / 7°c
• Dec. - Feb.: 35° f/ 25°f, 2°c / -3°c
Situated more or less in the center of northern Europe, Berlin is easily reached by plane, train, automobile.
Currently 3 airports service Metropolitan Berlin: Schönefeld, Tegel and Tempelhof Airports
Berlin-Schönefeld Airport is used for flights to the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, but soon the entire air traffic for the Berlin-Brandenburg region will be concentrated at this airport in the southeastern Berlin. Schönefeld will be expanded to become the Berlin Brandenburg International Airport; the downtown airports at Tegel and Tempelhof will then be closed.
Public Transport (airport)
Berlin's three airports are easily accessible by train or bus.
Schönefeld Airport: Zoo station by the Airport Express train or by bus, the 171 to Rudow U-Bahn station with connections to city center.
Tegel Airport: Mitte (east) district by the JetExpressBus TXL and the CityWest district by bus X9 or 109.
Tempelhof Airport: Platz der Luftbrücke by U6 and by bus, the 119.
Taxi, a trip to and from the center of Berlin costs approximately 20-30 euros and takes 30-50minutes, depending on traffic conditions and destination and airport.
Built in 1791, Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) has often been a center-stage for Berlin's militant political rallies, including the memorable celebrations in November 1989, when the Berlin Wall was torn down.
Checkpoint Charlie Museum
This Museum is all that remains of the famed tower that symbolized East-West tension during the Cold War.
Called the hollow tooth; this ruin of WWII is all that remains of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche (Church). It's a constant reminder of WWII and Hitler. The reconstructed section of the church is dominated by blue stained glass and features some beautiful work by Chagall.
Area with a remarkable assortment of museums and concert halls west of Potsdamer Platz.
Berliner Philharmonic and the Chamber Music Hall are acoustically perfect.
Gemaldegalerie displays an excellent collection of the 13th to the 18th century European paintings. Other museums include the Museum of Prints & Drawings and the Museum of Applied Arts.
Berlin Opera and Theater
General information: http://www.berlin-info.de/cgi-bin/blncgi_e/50_70
Berlin Classical and Contemporary Music
General information: http://www.berlin-info.de/cgi-bin/blncgi_e/50_60
Hosts three to four important exhibitions each year, many of which showcase a work specially commissioned by an artist (archive). Information: http://www.deutsche-bank-kunst.com/guggenheim/e/
General information: http://www.berlin-info.de/cgi-bin/blncgi_e/50_50