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  • Day37

    Berlin Day 1

    July 21, 2016 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    I find Berlin to be a city of controsts. Old and new; drab and colooful; bleak and peaceful. Some of today's highlights.

    The Berlin Wall was a barrier that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), starting in August 1961, the Wall completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. Small pieces are scattered around the city, and one if the sections still in place is at Topography of Terror Museum.

    Checkpoint Charlie was the best known border crossing during the Cold War. 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 LEAVING THE AMERICAN SECTOR" – in English, Russian, French and German - stood here.

    The Protestant Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (in German: Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, but mostly just known as Gedächtniskirche is located in Berlin on the Kurfürstendamm.
    The original church was built in the 1890s. It was badly damaged in a bombing raid in 1943. The present building, was built between 1959 and 1963. The damaged spire of the old church has been retained and its ground floor has been made into a memorial hall.
    The Memorial Church today is a famous landmark of western Berlin, and is nicknamed by Berliners "der Hohle Zahn", meaning "The Hollow Tooth". The walls of the New Church are made of a concrete honeycomb containing over 21000 stained glass inlays. The glass is predominantly blue, with small areas of ruby red, emerald green and yellow.

    Carillon is a large, manually played concert instrument, comprising 68 bells weighing a total of 48 metric tonnes

    Berlin's Siegessäule - Victory Column - is another of Berlin's monuments. The 67m high symbol of victory originally stood in front of the Reichstag in the former Königsplatz and today's Platz der Republik. It was relocated here, in the Tiergarten's main roundabout by the Nazis in 1938.

    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.
    It was here that in 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."

    The Reichstag building is a historical building in Berlin, constructed to house the Imperial Diet (German: Reichstag), of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Diet until 1933, when it was severely damaged after it was set on fire.

    Tomorrow is Day 2 of our Berlin tour....
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