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Escape to Berlin: German capital marks the 30th anniversary of the end of the wall
There are many reasons to pay visit Berlin: to some it’s the world’s party capital; others are attracted by its vibrant creative scene. This autumn, it’s the German city’s rich and turbulent past that makes it a sought-after destination – and not only for history buffs. On the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, the capital buzzes with special events, exhibitions and concerts.
A great way to discover Berlin’s major sights is a boat ride on the Spree. You’ll cruise by the magnificent cathedral, a veritable architectural gem, as well as the Museum Island, a Unesco world heritage site featuring five first-class museums including the Pergamon, famed for its monumental reconstruction of the ancient Pergamon Altar. Contemporary architecture fans will get their money’s worth at the Reichstag, the German Parliament, whose iconic glass dome was designed by star architect Sir Norman Foster and is open to the public, offering a stunning view over the city. A few minutes further and you stand in front of the city’s main landmark: the Brandenburg Gate, where on June 12, 1987, Ronald Regan said those famous words: “Mr Gorbachev – tear down this wall!”. For a break from all this heavy history, picnic with the locals at Tempelhofer Feld, a large recreational area on a former airfield with BBQ spots, cycling and jogging trails, urban gardens and more.
Explore the wall
The 43km-long Berlin Wall defined the cityscape for almost three decades. A guided bicycle tour traces its route, past a few remaining fragments and watchtowers. With the wall gone, Berlin witnessed a tremendous creative surge, a period vividly captured by the fascinating photography show No Photos on the Dance Floor! at c/o Berlin. Art meets history at the city’s East Side Gallery, an open-air exhibit including more than 100 murals by artists from all over the world that were painted on the east side of the wall in 1990. The multimedia exhibition Nineties Berlin lets you dive right into this defining time. The anniversary celebrations culminate on 9 November, when hundreds of concerts will be staged along the former wall while pianos pop up in the streets, creating a symphony of the city with the motto ‘music knows no borders’.
To get a taste of traditional German food, reserve a table at stylish PeterPaul, which serves local delicacies such as Königsberger meatballs or Sauerbraten in the form of tapas. An institution in Berlin’s food scene bringing together culinary cultures from all over the world is Markthalle 9, an international street food market. Eins44 unites fine dining and industrial design in a former schnapps distillery.
Travel back to Berlin’s roaring 20s at lovingly furnished guesthouse Nürnberger Eck or surround yourself with authentic East German design at Ostel. For a luxury stay with a historic touch, opt for Hotel Oderberger, which is in a heritage-protected building featuring a spectacular old bathhouse.
This article first appeared in ING Expat Time