Today I did the extensive and somewhat exhausting All Day Berlin walking tour provided by Brewer's Berlin Tours (http://www.brewersberlintours.com/). Our tour was provided by Terry Brewer, a former British embassy worker in East Berlin who started this tour company. The tour started shortly after 10:30 this morning and didn't end until nearly 8:00 this evening.
I was hoping to see a few of the more well know sites during my stop here in Berlin. With the All Day Berlin tour I got that plus a great history lesson on Germany and Berlin plus a chance to see several not so well known but very interesting sites as well. The only problem is that we saw and heard so much that I'm definitely not going to remember it all. I do have a track on me GPS device to remind me where we went, but I'm definitely not going to remember all the details on everything we saw. Over the next couple days I hope to retrace some of our path to observe some of the sites at a more leisurely pace and to get some better photos, especially ones of those sites that were only pointed out from a distance.
Here's a few photos from today.
The New Synagogue. The largest prewar synagogue in Berlin. It was damaged by the Nazis, but has since been rebuilt.
An example of what most buildings where like in East Berlin not that many years ago.
An example of how buildings like that above have been restored.
The Bode museum which will be re-opening later this year. It's located on the tip of Museum Island.
Terry our 70 year old and very energetic tour guide.
One of many buildings that have been basically unchanged since the war.
An example of some of the war damage to the above building.
An example of how they are repairing damage done by bullets or shrapnel during the war. They still have to come back to shape those stone fillers to match the rest of the column.
The German Cathedral.
A monument "To the victims of war and tyranny".
This is one of several very interesting a less well know sites open to the public. It the city's planning department. They had several massive models like this one showing the city, the buildings that are new since the war, and some that have yet to be built. They also have various maps and photos showing things like the destruction done during the war, the location of the wall, and the reconstruction that has taken place since the war and re-unification. This is definitely one of the sites I will be revisiting in the next couple days. According to Terry, many of the new buildings we saw today were only built in the last 5 or 10 years.
This is better shot of the Brandenburg gate then I got last night. The big screen TV and banners in yesterday's photo are on the other side.
That's Terry and the rest of our tour group. We started this morning with 6 of us on the tour, but an older couple from California had to go about half way through so that left just 3 young guys from the USA and me. The Reichstag, Germany's historic Parliament building, is in the background. The dotted track along the ground is where the wall used to be.
The new Holocaust memorial. Potsdamer Platz, the Times Square of old Berlin, is where the glass skyscrapers are in the background. I'll stop by there during the next couple days.
This controversial sign was just put up a couple weeks ago. It identifies the location of Hitler's bunker.
One tiny corner of the huge Nazi Air Defense Headquarters. It's now Germany's finance center.
The only large section of the wall remaining. It's about 200 meters long and is located just behind the above mentioned building.
Check Point Charlie. The only place where the Allies could pass between East and West Berlin. This is a replica of the original building.
The sign, located next to Check Point Charlie, speaks for itself. This sign is also a replica of the original.
Before today I never really understood the details behind the split of East and West Germany nor East and West Berlin, the exact location of the wall, and the fact that all of Berlin, both East and West, was located well within East Germany. The huge volume of historical information provided by Terry has changed all that.