Christmas and New Year's Eve in Berlin

21 12 2007

I have been to Berlin one day last Christmas, and I tell you, it’s beautiful. The city is crammed with Christmas markets, there are lots of Christmas activities, and of course, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with splendor.
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Jewish life in Berlin today

19 12 2007

According to official German websites, the Jewish population in Germany has tripled in the past decade, especially thanks to a large wave of immigration from past Soviet countries, but is still only one fifth of what it used to be before the Second World War. The Jewish community (at least the registered one) in Berlin is the largest in Germany, more than 12,000 people.
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Neue Synagogue in Oranienburger Strasse

17 12 2007

The synagogue on Oranienburger Strasse 28-30 was opened in 1866, then the largest synagogue in Germany, with 3,200 seats. Otto von Bismarck was present at its inauguration. It is located in what was back then a large Jewish district, and now is a very popular spot, crowded with pubs, cafes and restaurants.

Neue Synagogue enterance

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Berlin Must Sees: Gendarmenmarkt

13 11 2007

This beautiful square in the middle of the Mitte quarter at the center of Berlin, includes the German Cathedral, the French Cathedral and the Konzerthaus. It was laid out from 1688 according to plans of the architect J.A. Nering, and was originally known as Linden Markt, and then Friedrichstädtischer Markt or Neuer Markt. It became known as Gendarmenmarkt because of the old Gendarme regiment that was housed here from 1736 to 1773.
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Berlin Must Sees: Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

3 11 2007

The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is a protestant church, located at the Breitscheidplatz, one end of the famous Kurfürstendamm boulevard, in the center of former West Berlin. The church was damaged in the war, and left in ruins as a monument to peace and reconciliation.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

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Berlin Must-sees: Nikolaiviertel (Nikolai Quarter)

4 10 2007

Nikolaiviertel is a small district in the historic center, part of Mitte, near Alexanderplatz. The district, which borders the Spree River, contained some of the oldest buildings in Berlin before it was destroyed in WW2. Its reconstruction began only on 1979, as a part of the preparations for the city’s 750th anniversary, and took 8 years.

Nikolaiviertel from above.

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Alexanderplatz

24 09 2007

Alexanderplatz (Alexander square) was once called Ochsenmarkt (ox market), but was named Alexanderplatz after a visit by the Russian Tsar Alexander in the beginning of the 19th century. Most of the buildings on the square were destroyed in WW2, and being in the center of East Berlin, the place was used as a showcase of Communist architecture. That means plain bulky buildings, and an enormous Television tower.

Part of Alexanderplatz from above.

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Berlin Must-Sees: Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)

28 08 2007

The Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) was the former court cathedral of Prussia’s royal family (the House of Hohenzollern), and was supposed to be the Protestant answer to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The Cathedral was build according to plans by the architects Julius Carl Raschdorff and Otto Raschdorff, between 1893 and 1905, and of course reconstructed after WW2 (from 1975 to 1993).
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