Monday, July 5, 2010

Through Raw History - 1

Berlin is all about its recent past. A city largely rebuilt after world war, became the centre stage for the cold war. After the world war, the city administration was taken up by the leading nations of the world, US and USSR among them. Sometime soon, Germany got divided into East and West, and so Berlin too had to be divided so. However it meant that West Berlin became an island in the area of East Germany. Of course there were administrative issues. Now to add to the problems, the communist GDR ruling the East, put up a wall right in the middle of everything. The more dictatorship they tried to force in, the more rules they made the people follow; the more the communists lost the support of the commons. Finally, it all ended with the fall of the wall. And with it fell communism. All this happened just 20 years ago. So most of the moderately old Berliners, saw both the rise and fall of the Berliner Mauer (Berlin wall).

There is a lot of remnants of the wall here and there. A stretch was given over to artists in 1990, has some excellent pieces of art.

The Alexanderplatz tower (pic above) like a pin in the sky, is visible from almost everywhere in the city. It is one of the major squares of the city. Marienkirche (also in pic above) is one of the oldest and the tallest church that survived the World War is also located there. Other attractions of the Alexanderplatz is the Neptune's Fountain. An exhibition on the divide of Berlin, was also temporarily on display.

Berliner Dom

There is a grand museum too, possibly second only to the Louvre. The Grecian architechture is all over the place. It has been done to give an ancient look to a city rebuilt in the past 60 years.

This is either Deutscher Dom (German Cathedral) or the Französischer Dom (French Cathedral), too similar in appearance to distinguish. The Konzerthaus is inbetween the two.

The levelled wall still runs through many streets

Charlie Checkpoint, the US-USSR border in Germany :)

Topographie des terrors, this consists of Gestapo prisons, right under one of the remaining stretches of the Berlin wall. there is also an open-air museum which documents the terrorisms by the Nazi regime.

The above picture is of some important building in east Berlin, but other than the small dome, nothing much is different from the rest of the houses in area. The designs, windows, colours are so very identical, that the whole of east Berlin looks like one big government quarter. Again, communist ideas at work.

I found Berlin to be a very cheap city, -transportation, fooding, lodging (10 euros per night !!!). Paris is I would say at least 3 times costlier. That allowed me to try different food, that included Italian icecream, hot dogs, curry wurst, Doner kebaps and yes- Ostrich sausage. ( One more animal added to the list. :) ) I also had litres of Beck's beer over this 5 day trip.

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