Breathe contemporary history in Berlin. No need to do anything else than walking. Unter den Linden and the extensive woodlands of the reconstituted Tiergarten are good places to revive milestones.
A good point of departure of the 20th century Berlin walk is Brandenburg Gate, probably the most famous landmark in Germany. This iconic neoclassical gate, which has survived two world wars, is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden.
One block south of the famous gate, one can easily reach the Holocaust Memorial designed by architect Peter Einseman. Built to commemorate the murder of 6 million Jews, the monument consists of a 19,000 m2 site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs, or stelae of varying heights to form a grid-like structure. According to the New York based architect, the stelae are designed to create uneasy sensations and instability. The shocking sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason.
Few steps on the right of the Holocaust Memorial, one can find a parking lot under which the Führerbunker was located. Protected by 13 feet of concrete, the Führerbunker was initially constructed as a temporary air-raid shelter. Hitler took up residence here in January 1945 and it became the center of the Nazi regime until the Red Army occupied Berlin in May of the same year.
Not far away, the former Reich Air Ministry building is erected which now houses the German Finance Ministry. The huge structure is the only major surviving public building from the Nazi era.
Entering through the right side of the Tiergarten is erected The Soviet War Memorial, another historic landmark from the 20th Century. Built in 1945 within a few months of the capture of the city by the Soviet Union to commemorate the death of nearly 80.000 soldiers. The statue with the soldier’s arm symbolizes the Red Army’s putting down of the Nazi State.
Considered as a symbol of political division during the Cold War, Checkpoint Charlie served as a crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin. Situated in the Friedrichstraße neighborhood, Checkpoint Charlie was active from 1961 to 1989. The sign reads like a dire warning to those about to venture beyond the Wall – “YOU ARE LEAVING THE AMERICAN SECTOR” – in English, Russian, French, and German.
Another remarkable attraction is The Marx-Engles Forum, a public park in central Mitte named for Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, authors of The Communist Manifesto.
Check-out below these historic landmarks and guide yourself to take the 20th Century Berlin walk.