The German capital has paid a high price for its history, but it now faces the present with the jewels of the past and exciting projects for the future. It may well be the most modern location in old Europe. Pure fusion.
One summer’s night in 1961, without warning, members of the German communist police force started putting up barbed wire and stopping cars and pedestrians from passing. A few hours later, tens of thousands of Berliners found themselves suddenly trapped, unable to return to their homes, reach their friends or family, or even go to work. This was tangible evidence that Berlin was an occupied city. When World War II came to an end, Berlin had been reduced to rubble and the difficult re-building process started; a process that was defined by the 13th of August 1961, when construction of a wall that would divide the former Prussian capital in two was begun. So began the hard years of the Cold War, of spies and books by John le Carré, and the rivalry between the communist East and consumerist West that Billy Wilder portrayed so well in his comedy One, Two, Three.
Long gone were the Cabarets of the 30s and the glory days of Unter der Linden avenue. As were Germany’s archaeological successes in Egypt and the Near East, and its technical accomplishments like the Zeppelin. Also gone was the splendour of the German Empire that had turned its most precious jewel, Berlin, into one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. A city that, lest we forget, had led the world into the abyss with two of the most cruel wars in all of history. That is what made the day when the Berlin wall fell, the 9th of November 1989, such an emotional event. Partly because many generations of Germans that had been separated since that sad summer in 1961 could finally reunite. And also because this marked the end of an overly complex past and the start of a new future, and a new opportunity for Berlin.
However, there is a different vision for the future. The new capital of Germany has become a new leisure paradise with 175 museums, 300 cinemas, 50 theatres and one of the most important film festivals in the world. Alongside 4650 restaurants, 900 bars, 190 night bars and clubs. It also gives the world 400,000 trees and one of the largest parks and green areas in Europe. Berlin is the star of new fusion.
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The suggested activities are the essence of the trip. Of course, there are other options which can also be adapted to the type of trip you want to take.
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