The capital city of the Federal Republic of Germany has a population of 3.5 million. Covering an area of 892 square kilometres, Berlin is the Goliath among German cities. By international comparison, the German capital is the second largest city in the European Union in terms of its population and the fifth largest in terms of its area.
With 175 museums, Berlin has more museums than rainy days. It also boasts more than 140 theatres and around 300 cinemas. The city has 4,650 restaurants, around 900 bars and 190 clubs and discotheques. It also has more doner kebab shops than Istanbul!
Berlin has been the German capital on several occasions throughout its history. Starting out as the capital of the margraviate and electorate of Brandenburg, this city on the River Spree later became the capital of the kingdom of Prussia and then the German Empire. East Berlin was the capital of the German Democratic Republic. Since German reunification in 1990, Berlin has been the capital of Germany once more.
The Berlin Mitte District
Berlin Mitte has a number of attractions that represent both the past and future of Berlin. Bellevue Palace, the German parliament in the Reichstag building, the Philharmonic Hall, the Chamber Music Hall and the State Library give way to the exciting modern architecture on Potsdamer Platz. Berlin's Museum Island and Gendarmenmarkt square are just a stone's throw from Brandenburg Gate.
The Spandau quarter is also a successful symbiosis of old and new. The lovingly restored Hackesche Höfe retail complex, Oranienburger Strasse and a number of smaller side streets offer a wealth of restaurants and cultural institutions, offering an insight into the diversity of the Berlin fashion scene.
The Victory Column is a wonderfully positioned, aesthetic monument and one of Berlin's most famous landmarks. It commemorates the Prussian victories against Denmark (1864), Austria (1866) and France (Franco-Prussian War of 1870/1871).
More than any other German square, Potsdamer Platz reflects the history and fate of Germans in the 20th century. With its incredible architecture, it attracts tourists from all over the world to the political, cultural and economic centre of Berlin. Nearby are the government quarter and the monument to the murdered Jews in Europe. Also not far away is Checkpoint Charlie, the legendary border crossing that once separated the Soviet from the American sector. Situated right on the former border is the private 'Haus am Checkpoint Charlie' museum – one of the city's most popular attractions.