Berlin is a modern city rebuilt on a tumultuous past. Let history surround you in Berlin, as you see the future boldly reflected in the architecture, innovation, and culture that characterize this great city today.
Berlin was once called the heart of Europe, and it remains a significant center of European economic and cultural development. Situated between the East and West, Berlin is a mix of people from different cultures and social systems. People from all over the world have been calling Berlin home for many years. This unique mixture gives the city a kind of rough charm, which is particularly attractive to young people.
In this city of 3.5 million inhabitants, you will find one of the richest and most avant-garde cultural scenes in Europe: three opera houses, two symphony halls, and over 50 theaters (more than 20 of them state-subsidized) offer a dazzling choice for everybody's taste, and at very moderate student prices. In reunified Berlin you will also find some of the most diverse museums in Germany. Countless art treasures and historical artifacts can be seen in the city's 150 museums. Berlin offers some of the most interesting nightlife, with music venues, dance clubs, and countless Berlin pubs catering to a variety of tastes around the clock. Berlin is also a very cosmopolitan city and hosts numerous global congresses and exhibitions each year.
Besides offering a uniquely varied city life, Berlin is also surrounded by numerous forests and lakes, with parks and resorts providing an array of recreational opportunities. But you do not have to leave the city to enjoy nature: many rivers, lakes, and forests can also be found right within the city itself. By the way, Berlin has more bridges and canals than Venice!
Berlin is also perfectly situated for exploration of Central and Eastern Europe. Poland is only 50 miles away, a train to Prague takes only 5 hours, and a plane to Budapest takes 1½ hours.
Since 1872, the Reichstag has been the parliamentary building for Germany. It was here that Berliners celebrated the reunificiation of the country in 1990. In 1999, a magnificent dome was added to Reichstag. Visitors can look down through the dome and into parliament and always "watch" over the government.
Alexanderplatz is a large public square and transportation intersection in the central Mitte district, near the Fernsehturm. Locals often refer to the square as just "Alex." Though it has been called by other names and had several purposes, its name today is in rememberence of the visit of Czar Alexander I. in 1805.
"The World Clock (Alexanderplatz) was where I’d always meet up with people before going places." -Laura Seiler, Villanova University
When it was originally constructed in the 17th century, the Brandenburger Tor symbolized peace. During the 1960s, it separated East and West Berlin and signified Germany's division. After the Wall fell in 1989, the Branderburger Tor became the symbol of a unified Germany.
The 1960s marked the peak of the Cold War, and the Berlin Wall was the ultimate symbol of separate Germany. East Berliners could not travel to the West, or their punishment could be death. In 1989, the Wall finally came down, and Berliners celebrated throughout the city. Only a few parts of the Wall, like this one here, remain today.
"Walking along the remnants of the Berlin Wall was fascinating - I felt connected to the extraordinary history in this city." -Siri H., University of Wisconsin-Madison