The history of Berlin is probably the most turbulent of all German cities. Time to go to Berlin and find out yourself what the rollercoaster ride of Germany’s current capital is all about…
How do I get there?
The Story of Berlin is right next to the famous Ku’damm, which has been West Berlin’s epicentre for decades. The closest U-Bahn stop is Uhlandstraße.
What’s there to see?
Berlin – From a small settlement in the Middle Ages it developed into a prosperous imperial stronghold that attracted thousands of people in search for work and a better life from all over Europe. Hitler, too, made Berlin his showoff capital, but after the Nazis had lost World War 2, Berlin was utterly destroyed and remained a divided city for the next 40 years.
The Story of Berlin guides you through 800 years of Berlin’s history in a chronological order. Your interactive tour starts in a typical Berlin backyard. You will then get to know how Berlin and its various districts got to their names in the Middle Ages and learn about Jewish life in the capital, the construction of the Brandenburg Gate, Prussia’s powerhouse, the Industrial Age, the dark Nazi regime, the two Berlins and two Germanys, the Berlin Wall etc. etc… The usual historical facts, but brought to live in a really cool, interactive way.
A unique Nuclear Bomb Shelter experience
At the end of the permanent exhibition you have the option to join a tour of the nuclear bomb shelter underneath the museum. It’s a free tour already included in the admission price. The museum offers English and German speaking tours, so just check the times for the kick-off in your language.
I did enjoy this tour even though the atmosphere there was really dreary and intimidating. Built in the 1970s at the height of the Cold War in case of an nuclear disaster, the bunker could only take in 3,592 people. That really gets you thinking. Luckily, it was never used for such a purpose, but it’s definitely an unusual and very thought-provoking place to visit.
How much is it?
The normal entrance price is 12 € for an adult. If you get yourself a Berlin Welcome Card you will get a discount of 25 %, so the adult price would be 9 € instead of 12. Public transport travel is already included in the card as well as a range of discounts for attractions, tours and restaurants.
A good deal if you ask me. I’ve used the Welcome Card two times before when I was in Berlin as a tourist. As I went to several museums and also used some food and drink discounts, it turned out to be good value for money.
At the Brandenburg Gate
If you crave even more historical facts about Germany and Berlin…
Still haven’t digged deeply enough into Berlin’s past? Then check out the German Historical Museum, Deutsches Historisches Museum (S-BAHN Hackescher Markt, Friedrichstraße, U-BAHN Französische Straße, Friedrichstraße, Hausvogteiplatz) situated right next to the famous Museum Island. Regular entry is 8 €.
Famous Berlin faces
In addition to giving you an insight into Berlin’s past, it also offers a unique glimpse into the history of Germany itself – from its Teuton beginnings through some dark and some prospering times until the present day.
Last, but not least there is the Märkisches Museum (U-Bahn Märkisches Museum)- yet another museum surrounding Berlin and its turbulent past. It’s free on every first Wednesday of the month, otherwise it’s 4 € per adult. Be aware that this museum offers limited information in English, so it’s not that great if you don’t speak German. If you happen to be in the area on a first Wednesday of the month, it might still be a good idea to go there. After all it’s free so you’ve got nothing to lose… only to gain.
What are your best tips for discovering Berlin’s versatile past? Tell me in the comments below!
Unless otherwise credited, all photos © Sonja Irani / revisitgermany.com