Architecture Walk in Berlin – Old and New
Berlin, as they say, has something for everyone. There will be grand museums, quaint neighbourhoods, a sizzling nightlife, a zoo at the heart of the city, and even a raunchy yet accessible underbelly. As with most my visits, I try to take in the diversity of architecture that the city had to offer. The contrasting views of nouveau architecture sitting side by side with well-aged residences and stately apartments are a marvel on their own. Lord Norman Foster added his usual steel-and-glass touches at the top of the reconstructed Reichstag, home of the German Parliament. Admission is free, but the lines were terrible so I had to settle for the grounds around it. To make the most out of my visit, I went to see the annex buildings around it, including Marie Elisabeth Luders Haus, pictured above.
Totally missing where the Holocaust Memorial was, I made a beeline for the Daniel Libeskind creation at the northern part of the city. The Jewish Museum Berlin is a testament to the man’s signature angles and jagged silhouettes, the whole 4 storey museum is shaped like a lightning bolt itself.
The theme of the museum is an emotional one, and is reflected into physical discomfort by the sloping floors that simulate movement up a ramp and uneven surfaces. The museum itself is fairly extensive and could easily take up 3 hours, so try to be selective in what you want to experience. Don’t forget to visit the slanting courtyard outdoors.
If you’re looking for a wee bit more traditional fare, try visiting the Berlin Cathedral – it will greet you to Museum Island and spend a whole day roaming the complex alone. If you’re just here to visit iconic Berlin, walk along the Unter der Linden (translated as under the linden trees) towards Pariser Platz and see the much loved Brandenburg Gate. Have a photo taken with a bear (the city mascot as seen in its coat of arms), or with an imposing military guy. I had mine taken with Darth Vader. And the Holocaust Museum I missed? It was just around the corner from the Brandenburg Gate so don’t make the same mistake I did.
It’s possible to do all of these in a day, but you may have to rush some things. My suggestion is to take walk around Bundestag, then Brandenburg Gate is adjacent to it, and spend the rest of the day at Museum Island. The Jewish Museum closes late, so you can do that at the early evenings. Enjoy Berlin!