Berlin is one of the most famous cities in the world, and is the current capital of Germany. It is Germany’s largest city, and also happens to be one of Germany’s sixteen states. Evidence suggests that the city was first settled in the 12th century, and was the capital of Brandenburg by the 15th. Berlin was severely damaged during the 30 Years War, however, once Brandenburg and Prussia merged in 1701, Berlin was made the capital of the new state. After German unification in the 19th century, Berlin would continue serving as the German capital, through the Wiemar Republic and Nazi Germany until the end of World War II in 1945. The city, devastated by a massive bombing campaign, was split between the Russians and the remaining Allies. East Berlin would continue to serve as the East German capital until 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall bisecting the city resulted in reunification, however, the West German capital was located in Bonn and remained there until 1998.
Due to the Cold War, many know about the Berlin Wall which still stands in some sections of the city, however, the architecture of the city extremely varied. The Brandenburg Gate is a famous tourist site that became an important symbol during reunification, and originally was the entrance gate to the city constructed in the 18th century in the Neo-Classical style. The Reichstag is another interesting historical and architectural site, and is the current seat of the German Parliament called the Bundestag. The building was renovated after reunification, however, some of the sobering historical aspects of the building were preserved including graffiti left by Soviet soldiers inscribed during the last days of the war.
Of course, Berlin’s culture is extremely varied. The city has several opera houses, namely the Deutsche Oper, the Berlin State Opera, and the Komische Oper. The Berlin State Opera in particular is one of the oldest opera houses in the world, and was established in 1742. Music is not merely limited to classical; Berlin is famous for its discos, nightclubs, and its wild nightlife. The city is also famous for the Berlin Film Festival which is held annually. The city has also had a massive influx of immigrants in the past 50 years, which has fundamentally affected the culture of the city and its food. One of the most visible dishes is the Currywurst, which melds the traditional German Wurst with curry.
Other offerings include traditional German cuisine such as schnitzel, the the ubiquitous Turkish donner kebab which can be found in most European cities. Berlin is also well connected with plenty of transportation options, including buses, trains, and an underground subway. Getting to the city is simple, and the city is connected by rail to the rest of Europe. Berlin also happens to be less expensive than many other European cities, meaning that you can have an affordable adventure in the German capital!