Berlin: 3-hour Introductory Tour with a Historian
- Receive an introduction to Germany’ s capital city exploring iconic landmarks from Berlin’ s Prussian past, from the Nazi and Cold War eras
- Discover how Prussia’ s violent transformation into Europe’ s dominant military power set the stage for the great tragedies of German nationalism
- Follow the path where the Berlin Wall once stood
- Take in the dramatic new Holocaust Memorial and the Reichstag with its newly renovated and symbolically transparent cupola
- Track the footsteps of Napoleon through the Brandenburg Gate
- Traversing the Unter den Linden, Berlin’ s royal boulevard lined with palaces, museums and theaters
You begin at Potsdamer Platz, the business center which replaced the wasteland formerly known as East Germany’ s “Death Strip.” Following the path where the Berlin Wall once stood through to the historic Tiergarten Park, you take in the dramatic new Holocaust Memorial and the Reichstag. While the mysterious fire that damaged the Reichstag in 1933 was used by the Nazis as the pretext to suspend civil liberties and arrest political opponents, the grand glass dome created for the building in 1992 by architect Norman Foster (complete with walkways that look down into the Parliament), provokes a discussion about the symbolic intentions of the cupola as metaphor for Germany’ s reunification, transparency and commitment to democracy.
Reaching back further into Berlin’ s past, you follow the footsteps of Napoleon through the Brandenburg Gate, discussing the impact of the French revolution as a catalyst for German nationalism. Traversing the Unter den Linden, Berlin’ s royal boulevard lined with palaces, museums and theaters, pause at the famous equestrian statue of Frederick the Great, for a discussion of Prussia’ s “Poet King” and his role in shaping the militaristic and cultural orientations of the future German Empire. At Bebelplatz, site of the 1933 Nazi book burning, you’ ll learn about Adolf Hitler’ s rise to power and its terrible consequences. As you cross Museum Island (Berlin’ s answer to the Louvre), you will discuss the city’ s 19th century development into a cultural center.
Next, Hackescher Markt, a charming pocket of pre-war Berlin, gives you a chance to ramble through a network of hidden courtyards. From here, Alexanderplatz offers a striking counterpoint; once a historic square, the East Germans rebuilt it as in the 1960s as a communist bloc showplace complete with futuristic government buildings, apartment blocks and the iconic TV Tower. You'll confront the longest surviving segment of the Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery and learn of its 40- year history. Finishing at Checkpoint Charlie, the legendary crossing point from West Berlin to East where, in 1989, thousands of East Germans poured across the border bringing the Cold War to an end, you conclude by discussing the East/West divisions that continue to impact Berlin even as the city evolves new sensibilities and directions.
- 3-hour tour of Berlin in the company of a historian
- Transport ticket
Prepare for the activity
Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability.
You will need to use public transport one or twice, because the distances between some key sites would be too far to walk. If you do not have a Berlin metro pass, your guide will help you to purchase tickets in the first metro station.
• Berlin Transit One Way Tarif AB Ticket: 2,8 EUR, Senior Discount 1,70 EUR
• Berlin Transit Day Ticket: 7 EUR, Senior Discount 4,70 EUR