Berlin, Germany: A Glimpse of a Divided Past Part 2


Berlin is associated with the Cold War. The ideological schism between democracy and socialism has caused this city to be literally divided into West and East Berlin. Interestingly, the landscape of the German capital being crisscrossed by the canals of the river Spree aided in this physical separation. Furthermore, the city's history reminds of the disunity among Roman Catholics and Protestants during the Protestant Reformation during the Renaissance Period, and the alienation or annihilation of the Jews by the Nazis during the First and Second World War. These facts are sufficient reasons to embark into a historical adventure the German nations capital, Berlin.


This is the Part 2. Click here for Part 1.


1.    Kath. Kirchengemeinde St. Laurentius


This is the Catholic parish dedicated for Saint Lawrence, which is almost sixty years old. It has a significantly historical architecture and is centrally located at Hansaplatz.

2.    Europlatz


This is the space north of the Berlin Central Station. There is a canal nearby connected to the river Spree, traversing the German capital.

3.    Sozialgericht Berlin


This houses the largest social courts in Berlin. These courts are to decide disputes pertaining labor and social justice, unique to the German judiciary.

4.    Berliner Medizinhistorisches museum


This Medical Museum is known for its anatomical-pathological collection, wherein the major collections of the renowned Rudolf Virchow is included. Virchow founded modern pathology and represented socially-oriented medicine.

5.    Brandenburger Tor


This tower is considered to be one of the most recognized landmark in Berlin. It was used before as a customs tower during the reign of the Kingdom of Prussia as part of the fortified Berlin. This tower is considered to be most associated with the Cold War, after the fall of the Nazis in World War 2. It has become a symbol of German reunification in the early 1990s.

6.    Pariser Platz


This square named after the French capital has been a remembrance of the Prussian victory over France’s Napoleon in the late 18th century. Before the World War 2, it was also considered to be the grandest square in Berlin, given the French and American embassies are located in the area. During the fall of Nazis, all building around the square were destroyed, and thereafter reconstructed by both East and West Germany.

7.    Reichstagsgebäude


This is situated in the Republic Square, where the Federal Assembly gathers to elect the German Federal President. The building was destroyed in World War 1 and was restored several times thereafter.

8.    Botschaft der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika


The US Embassy near Bradenburger Tor is great reminder of the US-German relations since the 17th century. There were times that this relation has soured after the Nazi used the nearby Pariser Platz for propaganda and marches. The original building was demolished by the communist East Germany after it was heavily damaged after the Second World War.

9.    Spree


This river comes from the word which means spray water. The river originates from the German-Czech boundaries, and traverses along the German capital. It has been used as transportation medium by small crafts, although some parts are unnavigable.

10.  Bahnhof Berlin Friedrichstrage


This is one of the busiest train station in the German railway system, and has become as a starting point for tourist due to its proximity to the major tourist attractions. Before, this station has marked the major border crossing between the democratic West and communist East Germany.

11.  Dorothea Schlegel Platz


This is an urban space near Spree and several Berlin train stations. The fountains in the square is a symbol of reconciliation between the divided German states. Interestingly, the baby blue pipes in the area, it is said that those pipes end up in a construction site, where there is a need to pump out ground water. There is a need for this due to the swampy landscape of the German capital.

12.  Bode Museum


This is one of the museums in the Museum Island. This houses collection of sculptures, Byzantine arts and coins, which is considered to be the largest in the world of coin collections.

13.  Monbijoupark


This is a park in the former East Berlin. There used to be church in the park, but now is home to open-air swimming pool for children.

14.  Kupfergraben


This is channel along the tributaries of the Spree canal. There is an iron bridge traversing the canal, which is used as train railway.

15.  Deutsches Historisches Museum


This museum is devoted to German history in conjunction with that of the European history. This is considered to be one of the most important and most visited in the entire German capital. This was founded as a commemoration of the 750th anniversary of the founding of Berlin.

16.  Altes museum


This is considered as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, given this museum houses antique collection of the Prussian royal family. The King of Prussia opened the museum to the public to inspire new ideas and art concepts as a means of cultural education.

17.  Berliner Dom


This is a Protestant cathedral in the middle of the Museum Island. Although the church is a cathedral, the bishop does not reside of the church. The dome was constructed in the early 19th century.

18.  St. Marienkirche


This is the seat of the Lutheran’s bishop in Berlin. This was originally a Roman Catholic church until the Protestant Reformation in the 19th century. The church building is considered the oldest in Berlin, and was restored in the post-war period.  

19.  Berliner Fernsehturm


This is the second tallest structure in the European Union after Riga Radio and TV tower. This has been constructed by the administration of the East Germany. Because of its location in Alexanderplatz, the tower is occasionally called Alex Tower.

20.  Rotes Rathaus


This is the home of the governing mayor of the Federal State of Berlin. This used to the town hall of East Berlin before the fall of the Soviet Union and the German reunification. The building was also heavily damaged in the Second World War 2.

21.  Berlin Schönefeld Airport


This is one of the two airports serving the German capital, the other being Tegel. This airport is the only civil airport in East Berlin during the Cold War. There are talks that this airport will be expanded to become Berlin Bradenburg Airport, as a single commercial airport serving Berlin. However, there are also talks that this airport will remain and coexist with the new Bradenburg Airport, which is under construction.


Today, Berlin is no longer a symbol of division, but instead an advocate of peace and unity especially within the European Union. It is perhaps the greatest force within the European cooperative organization linking the old Soviet-controlled states and the allied countries in the West. Berlin has become a melting pot of culture as well, being considered as one of the most culturally-diverse metropolis in the world. This is the reason people flock in the city, greatly reminded of its important historical significance.

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