Road Scholar : Home
Berlin: Two Pasts, One Present

Program Number: 16952RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/2/2014 - 5/10/2014; 5/6/2016 - 5/14/2016; 6/17/2016 - 6/25/2016; 8/12/2016 - 8/20/2016; 9/16/2016 - 9/24/2016; 10/1/2016 - 10/9/2016;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Germany
Price starting at: $2,959.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 17; 7 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

In the Golden Twenties, Berlin commanded center stage as Europe’s most prodigious capital of art, music and science. Following the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, the city is once again at the cultural and architectural center of Europe. Experience the political life and mentality of modern Germany in expert-led lectures, field trips, meetings with contemporary witnesses and German politicians.


• Venture behind the scenes of German politics during a meeting with an assistant to a member of the Bundestag, or parliament.
• Meet with a contemporary witness at the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial Centre to talk about Berlin after reunification.
• Excursion to the Rococo-style Sanssouci — the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day on mostly flat city sidewalks. Standing for up to 1.5 hours a day. Stairs in historic buildings. Use of public transportation. Some program days may require walking up to three miles in a day.

Date Specific Information

5-2-2014, 5-6-2016, 6-17-2016, 8-12-2016, 9-16-2016, 10-1-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Berlin, 7 nights; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Berlin
7 nights

Through lectures and field trips, gain deep insight into Berlin’s political, cultural and social evolution from the end of World War I until today. Delve deeper into the Cold War’s history during a meeting with a contemporary witness at Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial Centre. At the Bundestag, experience German politics firsthand and discuss today’s challenges during a meeting with a member of the parliament. During a full-day field to Potsdam, explore the palace and park of historic Sanssouci and see the location of the Allied conference in 1945. Enjoy the renowned art treasures of the Museumsinsel, visit the Allied Museum, and join a local expert for a walk through the Berliner Kiez to get an intimate look at city life. Meet and interact with Berliners, and enjoy a concert at the opera or the Berliner Philharmonie.


From warring tribes who put an end to the declining Roman Empire to Charlemagne’s unified Holy Roman Empire; from religious divisions ignited by Martin Luther’s 95 theses in Wittenburg to the nation-making force of Otto von Bismarck -- alternating unity and division are the hallmarks of German history. In 1961, a concrete wall divided Germany from the world. With the Berlin Wall’s fall in 1989, Germany showed the way for the new, embracing Europe of today.

Comfortable centrally located hotel in Berlin-Mitte.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Wolf Refardt

An expert on the military history of the 19th and 20th centuries, Wolf Refardt enjoys sharing his knowledge during his lectures and classes on the events of the Cold War. Wolf has published papers on themes that range from Sepulchral culture in enlightened absolutism to the development of public welfare in Brandenburg, and to the history of battles that took place during World War II.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel Allegra
  Berlin, Germany 7 nights
 Hotel Allegra
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Built in 1861 with classical façade the hotel is modern, friendly and very personally run establishment. Situated in the heart of the new Berlin, the Allegra is the ideal starting point to explore the vibrant city on foot.
  Contact info: Albrechtstr. 17
Berlin,  10117 Germany
phone: +49 (0)30 308 86 0
  Room amenities: shower/toilet or bath/toilet, TV, telephone and mini bar, internet access
  Facility amenities: bar and restaurant at the partner hotel Albrechtshof vis-à-vis
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Upon request Subject to availability. Advanced reservations required.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Upon request Subject to availability. Advanced reservations required.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
2:00 p.m. Hotel check-in. 4:30 p.m. meet in hotel conference room for welcome meeting. You will be staying at Hotel Allegra that night.
  End of Program:
9:00 a.m. Room check-out at 11:00 a.m. You will be staying at Hotel Allegra the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: There are frequent train service to Berlin from all parts of Germany.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Berlin
  Nearest highway: A 100
  Nearest airport:  Berlin-Tegel
  Transportation to site: Coming from airport Tegel: Leave the airport and take the bus "TXL" until the bus stop Karlplatz and get out there. Please follow the Reinhardtstrasse and turn right at the first turn on Albrechtstrasse. After 100 m you will find our hotel on the right side of the street. Coming from the central station: You reach us from the central station with the city railroad in a few minutes. All lines in the direction of "Ostbahnhof", "Straußberg", "Ahrensfelde" or airport "Schönefeld" stop at the station Friedrichstrasse where you get out. Please, take the exit "Schiffbauerdamm", go over the bridge and then directly in the "Albrechtstraße". You can find the hotel in 100m on the left side.
  From End of Program
  Location: Berlin
  Transportation from site: Walk to S+U Friedrichstr. Bhf, About 5 mins (350 m). Take the U6 Subway towards U Alt-Tegel (13 mins, 10 stops). Get off at U Kurt-Schumacher-Platz. Take the bus 128 towards Flughafen Tegel Airport (6 mins, 4 stops).
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Depart the US on overnight flight
(Friday, May 2)
 Afternoon: International flight

Day 2: Arrival in Berlin / Welcome Dinner
(Saturday, May 3)
 Afternoon: Our airport greeters will meet you at the airport and arrange for your transfer to the hotel. After you have your room assignment we will wait for the rest of the group to arrive at the hotel. You can use the time to take a first walk around the neighbourhood or have a light lunch at one of the many restaurants nearby. In the afternoon we will gather in our private meeting room where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone.
 Dinner: Welcome Dinner at Restaurant Albrechtshof. Getting to know each other.
Accommodations: Hotel Allegra
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Guided city tour
(Sunday, May 4)
 Breakfast: Hotel
 Morning: Introduction to the program: We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for understanding. Guided city tour by bus: Potsdamer Square (the new and old), Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Jewish Museum (outside visit), Topography of Terror, Hitlers Bunker Site, Paris Square and Brandenburg Gate as Historical Symbol, Reichstag, Holocaust Memorial, New architecture of today (embassies etc.)
 Lunch: Lunch packages will be provided on the way
 Afternoon: Guided Tour at the Museum in the Kulturbrauerei: the new exhibition "Everyday Life in the GDR" opened in November 2013. The exhibition, spread over 600 square meters, presents original objects, documents, films and audio recordings that explore the gap between ideals and reality in the GDR. The individual experiences showcased illustrate the diverse attitudes towards the communist dictatorship, from loyal support to attempted neutrality or resistance. The tour will be followed by a lecture: "Berlin and Germany in the Past, Present and Future".
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant
Accommodations: Hotel Allegra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Memorial Center Hohenschönhausen
(Monday, May 5)
 Breakfast: Hotel
 Morning: Visit to the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, talking to a historian about how the building was converted into a Soviet Secret Police prison for detention and interrogation in East Germany.
 Lunch: Lunch at Restaurant Haus Berlin
 Afternoon: Meeting a witness: Berlin after German Reunification - Berlin as a capital, "inside walls" between East and West Berliners
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant
Accommodations: Hotel Allegra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: German Bundestag
(Tuesday, May 6)
 Breakfast: Hotel
 Morning: Field trip to the most famous landmark in Berlin, the Reichstag, seat of the German Parliament.The guided tour includes a guided visit to the glass cupola. Afterwards, the group will meet up with a member of the German Parliament and talk about current issues in German politics.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own: Why not try a typical German dish the "currywurst". Did you know the invention of currywurst is attributed to Herta Heuwer, a true Berliner? Your Group Leader will be happy to point out the best place to give it a try!
 Afternoon: At Leisure
 Dinner: Dinner on your own
 Evening: Musical performance: Philarmonie Berlin, Mandelring Quartett III
Accommodations: Hotel Allegra
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6: Allied Museum
(Wednesday, May 7)
 Breakfast: Hotel
 Morning: Before we go and see the exhibition of the museum, Dr. Andrea Mehrländer will give an expert lecture on transatlantic relations. Afterwards: Guided tour in the Allied Museum: "How Enemies Became Friends". Overview tour of the permanent exhibition. Get to know the most interesting exhibits from 50 years of Allied presence in Berlin. The first part of the exhibition in the former Outpost Theater is dedicated to the period from 1945 to 1950. Numerous documents, photos and objects tell the checkered history of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany up to the early occupation period in Berlin.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant
 Afternoon: Join a local expert for a walk through a Berliner Kiez to get an intimate look at city life
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant
Accommodations: Hotel Allegra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Potsdam - The castle of Sanssouci
(Thursday, May 8)
 Breakfast: Hotel
 Morning: On the way to Potsdam, stops will be made at Glienicke Bridge and Alexandrowka (Russian Colony). In Potsdam: guided visit to Sanssouci palace: The Sanssouci palace was the summer residence of Frederick the Great. It was built above the terraced vineyard from 1745 to 1747 following the King's ideas and sketches. The palace is considered the major work of Rococo architecture in Germany. Afterwards guided tour through the Dutch Quarter: Small shops, cafés and bars attract visitors in this part of town. For the extension of the garrison town, the soldier king Frederick William I urgently needed qualified craftsmen. He struck it lucky in the neighbouring country and, so that the Dutchmen should feel at home in Potsdam, he had 130 brick houses built in this part of town in the middle of the 18th century and even today there is a lively atmosphere in it.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant: "Fliegender Hollaender"
 Afternoon: Cecilienhof palace: Churchill, Truman, Stalin: the three of them wrote world history here and discussed how to partition Germany. From 17th June to 2nd August 1945, the victorious powers of World War II met in the venerable halls of Cecilienhof Palace for the Potsdam Conference. Originally, Cecilienhof Palace was built from 1914 to 1917 for Crown Prince William and his wife Cecilie von Mecklenburg-Schwerin as the last construction of a castle of the Hohenzollern dynasty.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own
Accommodations: Hotel Allegra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Museum Island
(Friday, May 9)
 Breakfast: Hotel
 Morning: A knowledgeable local resident will introduce you to the history of Berlin's famous Museum Island. After the lecture, you will stroll the path along the shore of the river Spree and learn about the magnificent buildings that host several different, but equally famous exhibitions. Afterwards, we will go and see one of the exhibitions guided by a local expert.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: The afternoon will be at your own disposal. Take the time and explore another exhibition on Museum Island or take the time and do some last minute shopping at the close-by shopping area "Hackesche Höfe".
 Dinner: We will have our farewell dinner in a popular restaurant in the vibrant center of Berlin. The restaurant offers a regional Berlin-Brandenburg cuisine using high quality products from the area. Time to share your favorite memories from the program.
Accommodations: Hotel Allegra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Transfer to the Airport for international departure
(Saturday, May 10)
 Breakfast: Hotel
 Morning: Transfer to the airport and departure
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Berlin Alexanderplatz
‘Alex’ to Berliners, a cattle market in the Middle Ages, a military parade square and an exercise ground for nearby barracks until the mid 19th century - Alexanderplatz is the square named to honour Alexander I, Tsar of Russia, on his visit to Berlin in 1805. It was here that Alfred Döblin took the pulse of the cosmopolitan metropolis portrayed in his 1929 novel ‘Berlin Alexanderplatz’. Fast forward to more recent times, one million people congregated here, on 4 November 1989 to demonstrate against the GDR regime shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall. This was the largest anti-government demonstration in its history. Layer upon layer of Berlin’s urban history is located in Alexanderplatz, interweaving centuries of social, political, and architectural history and repeatedly the subject of public debate and urban design competitions. The transformation of Alexanderplatz into a modern transit junction and shopping area came about during the second half of the 19th century with developments such as the construction of the S-Bahn. In the 1970s under Erich Honecker Alexanderplatz became an experiment in socialist urban aesthetics. Amongst the sights to look out for here are the 365 metre TV tower, Berlin´s highest construction topped by a globe with a rotating viewing platform. The Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft (Fountain of Friendship amongst Peoples) and the landmark World Time Clock erected in 1969 serves as a popular meeting place.
  Allied Museum
The museum, located in the former U.S. Army "Outpost" movie theater, documents the role of the Western Allies (U.S., France, and Britain) in the post-war period and the life of allied troops in Berlin. Address: Clayallee 135 Admission: Free For additional information, visit
  Anne Frank Center
The Anne Frank Center is the German partner organisation of the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam. A permanent exhibition shows the life of Anne Frank, in addition, the Center organizes various events especially for pupils and special exhibitions. Address: Rosenthaler Straße 39 For additional information, visit
  Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin
Works from all Bauhaus stages and workshops and from the trend-setting Gestaltungsschule (School of Design) from 1919 until 1933. The estates of Walter Gropius, Georg Muche and Herbert Bayer. Address: Klingelhöferstraße 14. For additional information, visit
  Berlin Cathedral
The Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral), completed in 1905, is Berlin’s largest and most important Protestant church as well as the sepulchre of the Prussian Hohenzollern dynasty. This outstanding high-renaissance baroque monument has linked the Hohenzollerns to German Protestantism for centuries and undergone renewed phases of architectural renovation since the Middle Ages. First built in 1465 as a parish church on the Spree River it was only finally completed in 1905 under the last German Kaiser -Wilhelm II. Damaged during the Second World War it remained closed during the GDR years and reopened after restoration in 1993. Address: Lustgarten 1
  Berlin Wall Memorial
Bernauer Strasse was a focal point of Germany’s division. The Berlin Wall Memorial commemorates this period in history. The memorial includes the monument, completed in 1998 and designed out of a largely preserved section of the border fortifications; the Berlin Wall Documentation Center that opened in 1999; and the Chapel of Reconciliation, dedicated in 2000 and built on the former death strip at the site of the Reconciliation Church that was blown up by East German border troops in 1985. Address: Bernauer Straße 111 For additional information, visit
  Berlin Zoo
Affectionately known as the Zoo on the south-west corner of the Tiergarten, this is Berlin’s favourite family spot - a wonderfully kept urban Zoo with a huge playground, restaurants, and coffee shops, providing a whole day’s worth of family entertainment. The Zoo is home to 13,700 animals and 1,400 species, its animals are part of local life and most Berliners will be aware of the news of a new arrival. Rare among city zoos, the Zoologischer Garten was founded in 1844 and was the first Zoo to be built in Germany. Under Friedrich Wilhelm IV it became a joint project by Martin Lichtenstein and Peter Joseph Lennè who had redesigned the Tiergarten and allocated the southwestern tip of the Tiergarten as a zoological garden. Address: Hardenbergplatz 8 For additional information, visit
  Botanic Garden
The World in a Garden
: Discover one of the most beautiful botanic gardens in the world. Take a stroll in woods and meadows, wander in only a few minutes from Alps to Caucasus, let Far-Eastern plants enchant you and feel the Tropical Rainforest with all your senses. Plunge in this green oasis and take off for a trip far away from the fuss of the city. As many people say, time will run slower here. And after the garden, deepen your impressions at the botanical museum. Address: Königin-Luise-Str. 6-8 For additional information, visit
  Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is one of Berlin’s most important monuments – a landmark and symbol all in one with over two hundred years of history. A former symbol of the divided city, it drew visitors who used to climb an observation platform in order to get a glimpse of the world behind the Iron Curtain, on the other side of the barren “death-strip” which separated east from west Berlin, geographically and politically. It was here that on June 12, 1987, Ronald Regan issued his stern command to his cold war adversary admonishing him with the words: “Mr. Gorbachov – tear down this wall!”. The speech delivered to West Berliners was also audible on the east side of the Gate and echoed President von Weizsacker’s words which translate as: “The German question is open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed.” Address: Pariser Platz
  Centrum Judaicum
Permanent exhibition about the history of the New Synagogue and the Jewish life in its surroundings; special exhibitions. Address:Oranienburgerstr 28/30 For additional information, visit
  Charlottenburg Palace
Schloß Charlottenburg, the largest and most beautiful palace in Berlin, it is a shining example of baroque architecture. Charlottenburg Palace today is the largest residence of the Hohenzollern in Berlin. Originally built by Elector Frederick III as a summer residence for his wife Sophie Charlotte in 1699, the palace was later extended into a stately building with a cours d'honneur. The magnificent palace is surrounded by a baroque garden, in which diverse architectures melt into a unique ensemble. The entire palace presents itself with majestically equipped rooms and saloons and with top-class art collections that offer outstanding masterpieces: For example, one of the largest collections of French paintings of the 18th century outside of France. The ensemble of rooms and saloons – artistically as well as historically impressive – is a living testimonial of courtly culture and life from baroque times until the early 20th century. For additional information, visit
  Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie, along with Glienicker Brücke (Glienicker Bridge) was the best known border-crossing of Cold War days. The sign, which became a symbol of the division of Cold War Berlin and read like a dire warning to those about to venture beyond the Wall – YOU ARE NOW LEAVING THE AMERICAN SECTOR – in English, Russian, French and German - stood here. It is today an iconic marker of territorial boundary and political division. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, it signified the border between West and East, Capitalism and Communism, freedom and confinement. Address: Friedrichstraße 43-45 The Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie is a museum like no other; from its humble beginnings in October 1962 as a two-and-a-half room display about the newly erected Berlin Wall, the museum has evolved into a more than 2000m2 exhibition that explores not only the history of the Berlin Wall and the stories of those affected by it, but also looks at the challenges facing society today as it struggles for worldwide recognition of human rights and freedom. Here one can discover objects used to escape over, under, and through the Berlin Wall, and read stories of those escapees who risked their lives to win their freedom. Address: Friedrichstraße 43-45
  DDR Museum Berlin
The DDR Museum is Berlin's interactive museum and one of the most-visited attractions in the German capital. History comes dynamically alive as the visitor is given a first-hand introduction to life in the first Socialist state on German soil. Address: Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 1. For additional information, visit
  East-Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is a 1.3 km-long painted stretch of the former Berlin Wall along the Mühlenstrasse in former East Berlin. It is the largest open-air gallery in the world with over one hundred original mural paintings. Galvanised by the extraordinary events which were changing the world, artists from all around the globe rushed to Berlin after the fall of the Wall, leaving a visual testimony of the joy and spirit of liberation which erupted at the time. Address: Mühlenstraße (near Oberbaumbrücke) For additional information, visit
  German Historical Museum
In June 2006 the Zeughaus has reopened for the public with the newly designed permanent exhibition "German History in Images and Testimonials". Covering 8,000 sq. metres of exhibition space, the exhibits from the DHM's own collections convey a vivid picture of the past. The Pei-Building behind the Zeughaus was opened on May, 24 2003. It houses the special exhibitions of the German Historical Museum. Address: Unter den Linden 2. For additional information, visit
  Hackesche Hoefe
The Hackesche Höfe (Hof here means courtyard) is quite famous and is comprised of a labyrinth of eight courtyards , accessible through Rosenthalerstrasse 40’s main arched entrance. Inside, one can stroll from one small specialized shop to another, just as in the neighboring Rosenhöfe and Rosenthaler Höfe. The little cafés, bars and restaurants are favorite places for relaxed shopping breaks.
  Hamburg Bahnhof
The Hamburger Bahnhof is the former rail station for trains running between the capital and the hanseatic city of Hamburg. Its station building houses the museum for contemporary art, which belongs to the Nationalgalerie and counts as one of the world’s most successful exhibition spaces for contemporary art. Here, works can be found by artists such as Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Keith Haring as well as many innovative contemporary artists. Address: Invalidenstraße 50-51. For additional information, visit
  Holocaust Memorial
The memorial comprises 2711 concrete blocks and was constructed between 2003 and 2005 close to the Brandenburg Gate on the basis of a design by architect Peter Eisenman. The subterranean information centre situated in the south-eastern corner of the monument commemorates the victims and provides material on the historical sites of the destruction and on existing memorials. Address: Cora-Berliner-Straße 1. For additional information, visit
The Berlin Palace - Humboldt Forum took on a visible shape when the foundation stone was laid in the summer of 2013. The Humboldt-Box is the information centre of this project of the century. The past of and future plans for the Berlin Palace is illustrated in interactive exhibitions. The terrace on the 5th floor offers a view of the palace construction site and the historical centre of Berlin. Address: Schlossplatz 5 (Unter den Linden) For additional information, visit
  Jewish Museum
The museum’s permanent historical exhibition extends over 3,000 m² and invites visitors to journey through two millennia of German-Jewish history. Its depictions of 14 historical periods from the Middle Ages to the present paint a vivid portrait of German-Jewish life. Artistic and everyday objects, photos and letters, interactive displays and media stations together convey the history of Jewish culture in Germany and show how tightly Jewish life and German history are interwoven. Address: Lindenstraße 9-14 For additional information, visit
Berlin’s most famous trademark department store is KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens) – or department store of the West. It is Berlin’s shopping paradise, a favourite, easy to spot landmark on Wittenberg Platz. With 60,000sqm, the equivalent of nine football fields, 380,000 articles, 40,000 visitors a day, this is the legendary, largest department store on the continent. Address: Tauentzienstr. 21-24 For additional information, visit
  Kulturforum Potsdamer Platz
Neue Nationalgalerie / New National Gallery: 20th century art: Collection of expressionist works, Bauhaus works, new objectivity, art in the period after the war. Address: Potsdamer Straße 50. Gemäldegalerie / Picture Gallery: European paintings from the 13th - 18th century. Masterpieces from all epochs, including paintings by Eyck, Bruegel, Dürer, Raffael, Tizian, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Rubens. Address: Matthäikirchplatz 4-6. Musikinstrumentenmuseum / Museum for Musical Instruments: Bach's harpsichord and its replicates as well as the biggest cinema and theatre organ in Europe (live demonstrations every Saturday). Address: Tiergartenstraße 1 For additional information, visit
The shopping area known as Kurfürstendamm includes Tauentzien Straße, as its eastern extension. Together they comprise an almost five kilometer long boulevard where strolling, shopping and sitting in cafés have been a pleasure for decades. Tauentzien Straße begins at Wittenbergplatz (Underground station) where the famous KaDeWe department store is located. The street runs west towards Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church where the street name changes into Kurfürstendamm. Between KaDeWe and the church, one can find most of the medium-priced international fashion chains and sport brands as well as large shoe stores. Close to the church, the Europacenter hosts another 70 shops and restaurants. Also worth visiting are the elegant side streets that run north from Kurfürstendamm such as Fasanenstraße, Knesebeckstraße or Bleibtreustraße. Here, many chic boutiques and fancy stores can be found on the ground floors of elegant old apartment buildings. These streets also lead to Savignyplatz, an atmospheric square where during summer, hundreds of people can be found sitting in front of bars and restaurants.
Unusual insights into cultural history, often with spectacular findings and the latest research results, form the pillars in the Martin-Gropius-Bau programme alongside contemporary art and photography. Monographs of outstanding artists are as much the focus as current artistic positions. Address: Niederkirchner Straße 7 For additional information, visit
  Museum Island
Berlin’s Museum Island is a unique ensemble of five museums, including the Pergamon Museum - built on a small island in Berlin’s Spree River between 1824 and 1930. A cultural and architectural monument of great significance it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1999. Berlin’s own Acropolis of the arts is considered unique because it illustrates the evolution of modern museum design over the course of the 20th century and its collections span six thousand years of human artistic endeavor. Museum Island is accessible on the left side of the German Historical Museum – opposite Berlin’s Staatsoper on Unter den Linden – only a short walk across Palace Bridge. Following Schinkel’s 1830´s Altes Museum, Friedrich Wilhelm IV commissioned the Neues Museum in 1859 to house the Egyptian and prehistoric collections. It displays the Egyptian Papyrus collection and the Library of Antiquity and Nefertiti in much reduced circumstances in a reflecting glass box. The Alte Nationalgalerie followed in 1876 as an elevated temple of antiquity for 19th century German and European painting collections. It reopened in 2001, with works from Monet, Manet, Renoir and Caspar David Friedrich. The Baroque Bode Museum (1904), is known for its sculpture collection and Museum of Byzantine Art. The most well-known of the complex, Alfred Mussel’s Pergamon Museum (1930) was built following the need for additional exhibit space to house the artefacts from the 19th century excavations of German archeologists in Pergamon and Asia Minor at a time when Heinrich Schliemann found Priam’s treasure. The Pergamon museum continues to attract one million visitors a year from all over the world to marvel at the reconstructed Pergamon Altar, the Market Gate of Miletus and the Ishtar Gate. Addresses: Lustgarten and Bodestraße 1-3 Closed on Mondays! For additional information, visit
  Museum in the Kulturbrauerei
From idyllic countryside dacha to works canteen and Bautzen prison - the new exhibition "Everyday Life in the GDR" in the Museum in the Kulturbrauerei opens in November 2013. The exhibition, spread over 600 square meters, presents original objects, documents, films and audio recordings that explore the gap between ideals and reality in the GDR. The individual experiences showcased illustrate the diverse attitudes towards the communist dictatorship, from loyal support to attempted neutrality or resistance. Address: Kulturbrauerei complex at Knaackstraße 97 in Building 6.2, Staircase B For additional information, visit
775 years of Berlin history: The Nikolaiviertel, where Berlin was originally founded, is home to 5 museums, a history trail with 19 informative plaques, and 800 years’ worth of architecture. Anyone looking for culture and the historical origins of this city is in the right place here. And others too, as Berlin's first and oldest church is surrounded by 30 cafes and restaurants, and 50 shops – classic and often highly specialised retailers who make the NIKOLAIVIERTEL into a true treasure trove for those seeking something special. Address: The quarter is to be found between the Spree and the city hall.
  Palace of Tears
The Palace of Tears - the processing centre for people travelling from East to West Germany at the Friedrichstraße border crossing point. There's hardly any other place where people experienced so directly how severely the division of Germany affected their personal lives. The exhibition illustrates everyday life in the face of division and borders through biographical examples and nearly 600 artefacts. Address: Friedrichstraße station/ Reichstagufer 17 For additional information, visit
  Potsdamer Platz
Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz is the most striking example of the urban renewal that turned Berlin into the ‘New Berlin’ in the 1990s although it is not, strictly-speaking, a square. The area today consists of the three developments known as Daimler City or the DaimlerChrysler Areal (1998), the Sony Centre (2000) and the Beisheim Centre (2004), which literally transformed the dormant wasteland where the Berlin Wall stood between east and west Berlin until 1989. Main attractions to be seen while walking around the Potsdamer Platz area include: Debis Tower (Renzo Piano) and the DaimlerChrysler Atrium with its public spaces, including changing art exhibitions and an auto showroom and the artificial water basin; The Sony Centre and Cinema Complex and Film Museum, the Arkaden Shopping Mall (Richard Rogers), a 3D IMAX cinema, Musical Theatre and Casino, and Weinhaus Huth wine merchants the oldest and only surviving original pre World War II building. Address: Potsdamer Platz 1
  The Kennedys
The Kennedys’ museum, situated opposite the Brandenburg Tour on Berlin’s Pariser Platz, across the square from the new American Embassy building which was inaugurated on July 4, 2008 is a testament to the relationship between John F. Kennedy, the 35th US President, the Kennedy family and Berlin. Kennedy’s presidency at a time when the Cold War was intensifying was crucially bound up with Berlin’s history and the building of the Berlin Wall as well as the dramatic stand-off between US and Soviet tanks in October 1961 at Checkpoint Charlie when a Third World War became foreseeable. JFK was given an enthusiastic reception in Berlin on June 26, 1963 when he saw for himself the reality of the Berlin Wall, erected two years before. “Ich bin ein Berliner”, the words with which he addressed Berliners at Schoneberg Rathaus (City Hall) were possibly JFK’s most famous quotes and an inspiration to the world. The museum’s collection includes an astonishing 300 photographs and objects. Much of the memorabilia were the President’s personal belongings, providing snapshots of his public and personal life as well as the turns of fortune of America’s most illustrious family. Address: Auguststraße 11-13 For additional information, visit
Tiergarten in Berlin refers to the parliamentary, government and diplomatic district as well as to Berlin’s largest and most popular inner-city park. The Tiergarten (animal park) and former hunting ground is Berlin’s best known park because of its centrality it’s a favourite with locals and visitors, wonderful for a stroll, a breath of fresh air, a picnic, cycling or a jog or just kicking a ball around. Today the area includes the Regierungsviertel, Potsdamer Platz and the Kulturforum as well as the Diplomatenviertel. Address: Straße des 17. Juni 100
  Victory Column
Berlin’s Siegessäule - Victory Column - is another of Berlin’s monuments that has reinvented itself through the ages - from symbol of Prussian military victory in the 19th century to a favourite tourist spot today. As US Presidential candidate, Barack Obama chose the Siegessäule as the alternative spot to the Brandenburg Gate for his speech to 200,000 Berliners on July 24, 2008. The monument is reachable using a pedestrian underpass. Four neo-classical temples also built by Albert Speer indicate the entrance points. This is one of Berlin’s favourite sightseeing trips with children and youngsters who appreciate the view from the observation deck following the 270 steps required to reach it via a spiral staircase. The Café Victoria and Biergarten, just next to the monument, is ideal for refreshments and a break. Address: Straße des 17. Juni/ Großer Stern
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Suggested Reading List

Berlin Noir

Author: Philip Kerr

Description: A trio of novels (March Violets, The Pale Criminal, A German Requiem) that follow the fate of detective Bernie Gunther as he tries to make a living in Nazi Germany.

Berlin Tales

Author: Lyn Marven (Translator), Helen Constantine (Editor)

Description: This collection of excellent German fiction, organized by neighborhood, explores Berlin's identity as a microcosm for much of the 20th-century's dramatic history.

Berlin Today

Author: Joseph Hajdu

Description: erlin from another perspective: The casual, relaxed atmosphere of the city has become a major draw card for young people seeking to move to Berlin, not just from the rest of Germany, but also from other parts of Europe and even further afield like the United States. What makes the special atmosphere of our city today? Joseph Hajdu from Australia directs the focus at certain aspects of Berlin life today, concentrating on places, people, and issues that help define the city s present social, economic and cultural character.

Berlin: City Guide (Lonely Planet City Guides)

Author: Andrea Schulte-Peevers

Book of Clouds

Author: Chloe Aridjis

Description: Chloe Aridjis's beautifully evocative novel is set in today's Berlin; a young Mexican woman flees her family only to find a city that cannot escape its past.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Berlin

Author: DK

Description: Experience the best of Berlin with DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Berlin. This newly updated travel guide for Berlin will lead you straight to the best attractions this city has to offer, from unearthing archaeological treasures in the Pergamon museum to absorbing the history of the Berlin wall to discovering the city's hottest neighborhoods on walking tours. Newly revised, updated, and redesigned for 2014.


Author: Anna Funder

Description: Not surprisingly the fall of the Berlin Wall caused panic at the Stasi headquarters, as described in Anna Funder's riveting portrait of East Germany's secret police and how it controlled a nation.

The Berlin Stories

Author: Christopher Isherwood

Description: "The Last of Mr. Norris" and "Goodbye to Berlin" find Sally Bowles, Fraulein Schroeder and the doomed Landauers caught up in the nightlife, danger and mystique of 1931 Berlin.

The Berlin Wall Story

Author: Hans-Hermann Hertle

Description: Where did the Berlin Wall actually stand? Why was it built? How did people keep managing to escape across it – and how many died in the attempt? Why did it come down in the end? Numerous previously unknown photographs document the construction of this barrier system of barbed wire, alarm fences and concrete. Spectacular escape stories and shocking deaths are chronicled here in words and images, as are the dramatic events surrounding the construction and the fall of the Wall. A stunning survey of the Berlin Wall – the central symbol of the Cold War.

The Innocent

Author: Ian McEwan

Description: A reluctant British spy, an everyman caught up in espionage, a startling affair -- and murder, all set in circa 1950s Berlin.

The New Berlin

Author: Karen E. Till

Description: “The New Berlin" is a notable contribution to human geography and to the interdisciplinary literature on social memory and place making. Till’s methods and scholarship have provided the conceptual groundwork for the exploration and development of place making, social memory, and spatial haunting through the particular practices and politics of the new Berlin.

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

Author: John Le Carre

Description: The cold war spy thriller that established Le Carre as master of the genre.

The Tin Drum

Author: Gunter Grass

Description: Probably the best German novel written since the end of World War II, this is the surreal story of a mute dwarf named Oskar who lives through Nazi Germany and finds himself in a mental institution.

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