Reunified since 1990, the German capital is making good use of the blank pages left by history to sketch out a dynamic city. Its many architectural renovations and innovations reflect the projects unfolding on its bubbling creative scene; they lend themselves to be built on this hotbed for growth. As we can see from the Reichstag dome designed by Norman Foster or the Potsdamer Platz, Berlin is a playground for architects seeking to experiment. Glass and steel UFOs contrast with the massive communist buildings, the baroque Charlottenburg Palace or the imposing Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of the city that was once part of the Berlin Wall.
The East Side Gallery and its street art works, Checkpoint Charlie and its passport stamping, Mauerpark and its lively flea market... the shadow of the Wall is ever-present in the city, between reappropriation and memory. Forward-looking, Berlin does not, however, erase its past which it takes the time to highlight and document through poignant museums and memorials such as the Jewish Museum. With its poetic garden of exile, the museum is located in the bustling Kreuzberg district, famous for its Turkish market and its pleasant walks along the banks of the Spree.
Also located on the river, next to the Hohenzollern castle, is Berlin’s Museum Island which brings together the Cathedral (Dome) and five major museums. Be captivated by the Pergamon Museum and its fabulous collection of Islamic, Middle Eastern and Hellenistic art, as well as the Neues Museum, which is home to the famous Nefertiti bust.
Take to the skies by heading to Alexanderplatz and the TV Tower, an undisputable landmark, visible from all areas of the city. From this perfectly panoramic observation point, you can spot the vast expanse of the Tiergarten. The park is home to the Berlin Victory Column made famous by the film Wings of Desire, and one of the world’s largest zoos. You can also climb to the top of the Bikini Berlin to take a look at the wild animals before strolling down the aisles of this new shopping centre for a spot of window shopping, with more of the same at the KaDeWe. Europe's largest department store, the Kaufhaus des Westens was inaugurated in 1907 and offers 60 000m2 of shopping options, topped by an immense food court which showcases the flavours of Germany and elsewhere.
While the winter months are devoted to enchanting Christmas markets, in summer the ephemeral beaches are popular hangouts and the "biergartens" are jam-packed until late into the night. In this city which constantly reinvents partying, clubs such as the Berghain, the Treasure or the Club der Visionäre serve as precursors and references for electro lovers also take over urban wastelands and spotlight the latest underground sensations every weekend. The International Film Festival (Berlinale), German-American folk festival, Berlin Fashion week, German Open and the Love Parade: all of these major events unveil their diversity within the city of the bear. Music, fashion, sport or gastronomy - all year round Berlin finds new opportunities to celebrate audacity and creativity.