I traveled to Berlin, Germany in March on business and took the Good Friday off to walk around the city to do some cityscape photography. I stayed at the Monbijou Hotel, a short walk from the Hackescher Markt S-Bahn Station. The room was excellent and from the 5th floor terrace, the view of the Berliner Dom is spectacular.
At sunrise and before breakfast, I walked to the Dom are and shot a few images.
After a good breakfast at the Cafe Latrio Bistro, I walked to the Hackescher Markt U-Bahn Station to go to the Reichstag Building.
I reached the Reichstag at around 8am and armed with Rick Steve’s Berlin guidebook, I started on the Reichstag & Brandenburg Gate Walk. I was not super impressed with the lighting and so decided not to take any pictures until reaching the Brandenburg Tor (Gate).
From the Brandenburg Gate, I walked past the American and British embassies to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It consists of 2,700+ coffin-shaped pillars dedicated to the six million Jews who were killed by the Nazis during World War II. Completed in 2005 by the Jewish-American architect Peter Eisenman, this was the first formal, German-government-sponsored Holocaust memorial.
From the Memorial, I walked along Unter den Linden to the Ampelmann store. Ampelmännchen (little traffic light men) is the symbol shown on pedestrian signals in Germany. Prior to German reunification in 1989, the two German states had different forms for the Ampelmännchen, with a generic human figure in West Germany, and a generally “male” figure wearing a hat in the East. It is a beloved symbol in Eastern Germany, enjoying the privileged status of being one of the few features of communist East Germany to have survived the end of the Iron Curtain with his popularity unscathed. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Ampelmännchen acquired cult status and became a popular souvenir item in the tourism business. Pedestrian traffic lights in the old East Berlin still has these lights.
From the Ampelmann store I walked to the Volkswagen Group forum at Friedrichstraße that has exhibits of all the significant cars it has developed over the years. I loved the 1948 Porsche 356 and the 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S.
From the VW Forum, I walked north to the Friedrichstraße S+U Bahn station and took the S-Bahn back to Hackescher Markt. I checked out the bust of Nefertiti at the Alte Museum. As photography in the room was not allowed, I couldn’t shoot it. I then walked to the Hackesche Höfe courtyard complex where I photographed an interesting and colorful mural.
From there I walked to the Neue Synagoge. Built between 1859–1866 as the main synagogue of the Berlin Jewish community, it is on Oranienburger Straße. Because of its splendid eastern Moorish style and resemblance to the Alhambra, it is an important architectural monument of the second half of the 19th century in Berlin. During World War II it was heavily damaged and was completely burned after Allied bombing during the Battle of Berlin, a series of British air raids lasting from 18 November 1943 until 25 March 1944. It was not until the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 that reconstruction of the front section began. From 1988 to 1993, the structurally intact parts of the building close to the street, including the façade, the dome, and some rooms behind were restored as the “Centrum Judaicum” (“Jewish Center”); the main sanctuary was not restored. In May 1995, a small synagogue congregation was reestablished using the former women’s wardrobe room.
Near the Synagoge, on Auguststraße, I found a home with a cool looking mural.
I then took a tram from Hackescher Markt to Alexanderplatz where The Fernsehturm (Television Tower) was built between 1965-69 by then the the government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). At 368m (including antenna) it is the tallest structure in Germany, and the second-tallest in the European Union.
I then grabbed a middle-eastern lunch at Esra. The falafel plate was terrific.
After lunch, I checked out the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Straße. The Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), starting on 13 August 1961, the Wall cut off (by land) West Berlin from virtually all of surrounding East Germany and East Berlin until it was opened in November 1989.
From the Berlin Wall Memorial, I took a bunch of U-Bahns to see the old Luftwaffe Headquarters next to the Topography of Terror Museum on WilhelmStraße.
From the Topography of Terror Museum, I walked to the Checkpoint Charlie at the intersection of FriedrichStraße and ZimmerStraße. It is the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War (1947–1991). Nothing at the spot today is anything authentic but it is an interesting tourist attraction.
I then took a bus to the Potsdamer Platz to photograph the Sony Center and the S-Bahn station next to it. The Sony Center desined by Helmut Jahn has an amazing ceiling that changes color.
From Potsdamer Platz, I returned to the Reichstag from where I started the walking tour of Berlin in the morning. It was a full moon night. I shot an image of it from the banks of the Spree River and from the front.
After 14 hours of walking and photographing, I called it quits and returned to my hotel room just before 11PM. As I was entering my hotel, I noticed that the Berliner Dom was beautifully lit. I took the elevator to the terrace and shot an image of it.