This week we contacted Fotolia’s German team to ask them where to go in Berlin if we were planning a visit – or even to live there.
We already knew that the city’s underground clubs and Art had been undergoing quite a renaissance recently – and the city itself has a long historical significance, but what other insider knowledge could they share with us…?
Fotolia: Where do you advise visiting to get a real sense of the city’s atmosphere and presence?
Germany: The Berliner Fernsehturm is Berlin’s tallest tower at 365m in height, and offers a dramatic 360° panoramic of the city. Regarded by many as a symbol of a unified Germany, it is well worth a visit.
The tower hosts a fantastic revolving restaurant, so you’re guaranteed to get a good table and see your preferred view – whatever it is! You can enjoy your meal whilst checking out the whole of Berlin (we’d recommend a three course meal to ensure you take it all in).
The Neukolln is the latest ‘hip’ district in Berlin, slowly usurping the dominance of Kreuzberg, the previous hub of Bohemian Berlin life. Once the home of many of Berlin’s immigrants, it now boasts a reputation as home to some of the city’s many small galleries, underground nightclubs, and street markets – hence the popularity amongst students, the art crowd, and travelers.
Neukolln has a well-deserved reputation for some great food, particularly the Turkish and African offerings.
If you’re looking to find out more about Berlin’s historical and political past then Checkpoint Charlie, the crossing point between East and West Berlin is definitely worth a visit.
A potent symbol of the Cold War and the effects it had upon the citizens of Berlin and Germany as a whole, you can now view the original guardhouse in the Allied Museum in Berlin or see where the crossing point was marked now in cobbles along the street.
For the foodies amongst you, we have to mention Street-Food Thursday (Markthalle Neun, Eisenbahnstraße 42/43, Kreuzberg) where Berlin’s burgeoning pop-up restaurants and Michelin star chefs congregate to give people the opportunity to taste international and local cuisine at affordable prices. Only in Berlin!
Fo: Where do you recommend visiting to get some cultural and creative inspiration?
Ge: Berlin’s Museumsinsel is another unique Berlin sight worth a visit. This island in the River Spree is home to five of Berlin’s museums. Each is of significant importance to Berlin and worth a look by itself, but together like this they’re a must-see.
However, if you’re short of time then go to Pergamon Museum, which in 1999 was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, and is often compared to the Acropolis of Athens. The Pergamon’s collection spans 6,000 years of artistic talent, and visitors can see the formation of trends and humanity evolving throughout the years.
Berlin is a city that was divided for decades during the 20th century. In many ways Berlin’s urban landscape still harks back to Nazi and Soviet reign, and yet in stark contrast to these eras modern Berlin is a diverse and multicultural city.
Less than 1.5km of the Berlin Wall still stands, serving as a memorial to all those affected by the division of Berlin. The Berlin Wall Memorial tells the story behind the wall, its history, and cultural significance.
For so long a negative part of Berlin, the wall’s oppressive presence has been neatly turned around and now represents a sense of freedom and spontaneity. A fertile jungle of artwork covers its east side, and the ‘Kunstmeile’ (Art Mile) and former ‘Death Strip’, which was partitioned by the wall, is now filled with free people making music, playing sports, and, of course, admiring the graffiti.
If you’re looking for the trendier area of Berlin then take a trip to Kastanien Allee (Chestnut Street). With its slightly rugged edge yet up-market bar and club laden streets this is one of Berlin’s most fashionable landmarks. While you’re in the area stop by the Prater Garten, Berlin’s oldest beer garden, for some local German delicacies.
In the same district is Prenzlauer Berg, a hub of artistic activity and nightlife that’s both unique and inexpensive. Prenzlauer Berg escaped much of the bombing in World War II and retains much traditional architecture, giving a taste of the city’s pre-war appearance.
Fo: Where is more ‘off the beaten track’ in Berlin to get some less “tourist-y” photos?
Ge: Berlin is dotted with places that seem like something from an old science fiction film. For example, the Teufelsberg, which roughly translated means ‘Devils Mountain’, is a crazy abandoned spy station: a derelict tower resembling a golf ball perched atop a mountain of rubble – what’s not to like?! (except for the fact you can’t go inside the station itself…)
Berlin’s Olympiastadion was famously built for the 1936 Olympics to showcase the Nazis’ architectural ambitions and demonstrate their guiding principles of ‘solidity’ and ‘authority’. It’s a powerful reminder that for a brief time the regime dominated all aspects of German life – even its architecture.
More recently the stadium has hosted the 1974 World Cup and concerts by superstars such as Bon Jovi, Madonna, and U2.
In stark contrast is the natural beauty of Tiergarten, Berlin’s largest and most popular park. Bombed heavily bombing during WWII, it was renovated afterwards to give Berliners a natural open space to enjoy. Parts of the park have been left to grow wild, while in other areas, the ponds and flower beds are carefully managed all year round.
There’s something for everyone in Berlin!
Fo: Whoa! Thank you to our most excellent Berlin colleagues – when’s the next plane to Berlin?!
And don’t forget, Berlin is also home to FotoliaLAB, the world’s first gallery dedicated to contemporary stock photography. FotoliaLAB features an ever-changing catalog of exhibitions and installations, with works by award-winning photographer George Mayer, fascinating product presentations from leading brands such as Epson and Tetenal, and displays by TEN Collection artists from Seasons one and two.
Discover some of the diversity and thrills of Berlin with our special gallery of Berlin images.
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