Despite a construction boom; remnants of Eastern bloc regulation; high levels of public housing; and heavy World War II bombing, Berlin still boasts some wonderful architecture well worth seeing.
Wandering through Berlin, it’s easy to see how the appearance of the city today is largely a direct result of the tumultuous role it played in 20th Century Germany.
The other key influence is an astonishing building boom that, for the past few years, has produced a skyline of cranes and literally thousands of construction sites across the city.
Despite all this, Berlin still has some remarkable architecture and incredible attractions.
Here are some of our favourites:
An iconic landmark of Berlin and Germany, the Brandenburg Gate is an 18th-century neoclassical triumphal arch that stands in the western edge of the city centre in the Mitte borough.
It marks an historic gateway to Berlin.
Berlin’s oldest museum is located in the UNESCO-listed heritage site known as Museum Island.
It was built by Karl Friedrich Schinkel – Prussia’s most influential architect – and houses the city’s Classical Antiquities collection.
Completed in 1830, the Altes Museum is one of the most important buildings of the Neoclassical era. An inscription on the striking building reads: ‘Friedrich Wilhelm III has dedicated this museum to the study of all antiquities and the free arts, 1828’.
One of Berlin’s oldest universities, this prestigious institution was founded on 15 October 1810 as the University of Berlin by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt
The university has produced 29 nobel prize winners.
Berlin Cathedral is located on Museum Island. Sitting in he River Spree, the island houses five museums built between 1830 and 1930 and was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
The Cathedral was finished in 1905, but its eye-catching dome was all but destroyed by bombing in the Second World War.
It is an impressive building and a ‘must-see’ on any visit to the German capital.
Berlin State Opera
Berlin State Opera is on the Unter den Linden boulevard in the Mitte borough. Construction of the original building on the site began in July 1741.
On August 18, 1843 the building was destroyed by fire and then rebuilt only to be badly damaged again in the Second World War.
This a sample only of Berlin’s architectural attractions.
Visitors to this vibrant city would be wise to also spend time at the Reichstag building; Charlottenburg Palace; the Fernsehturm (TV tower), at Alexanderplatz in Mitte; Alexanderplatz in general; and the city’s many fine museums and memorials.