Berlin 2012: Day 5 – Bus Tour II

As per my re-start post I am going to be re-blogging some of my posts from a site that unfortunately no longer exists in an effort to get working on my blog again.

This was the first big blog collection I worked on, wanting to add a bit more substance rather than just a few pictures. As with other posts of old blogs the photos are as taken with the exception of some cropping.

And so came day 5 of our holiday. Having done the bus tour yesterday and with the weather being a bit nicer – still cloudy but dry at least – we decided a bit of walking and then using the bus tour to get to a few of the further out places we wanted to see properly.

We started of in our usual place of Alexanderplatz.

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World Clock with the TV Tower and Alexanderplatz train and underground station. The world Clock was constructed in 1969. It stands 10 metres tall and weighs in at 16 tonnes. The cylinder is split into 24 segments – one for each of the world’s time zones. Each zone has the names of major cities in the time zone and revolves so you can see the current time in any zone. On top of the clock is a simplified model of the solar system which revolves once a minute.

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Berliner Dom – more information can be found in day 2.

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Statue of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – authors of the communist Manifest – found in the Marx-Engels-Forum which is a public park between the Rotes Rathaus and Berliner Dom.

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The first proper stop was the Humboldt Box named after the brothers Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt. This is a temporary exhibition space built as a viewing platform for the Berlin Palace works used to inform the public about it’s future use. It also features – at the time of our visit – an ethnological display and is topped by a rooftop restaurant and terraces giving views over the palace grounds and on the other side to the Berliner Dom and Museum Island.

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In the Humboldt Box is a model of the immediate vicinity as it is intended to look in the years to come. The Berlin Palace is the largest building with the Berliner Dom behind and Museum Island behind that. You will also see closer to where I took the photo from that the Berlin Palace the Neptune Fountain which is currently in between the Rotes Rathaus and St Mary’s Church where it was moved to in 1969 Germany.

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This is all that is left of the Berlin Palace. The building was finished in 1702 but had elements built originally in 1688. It was the principle (winter) residence of the Hohenzollem Kings of Prussia from 1701-1918 (the German Emperors 1871-1918) and a museum following the fall of the German Empire. Though damaged during the war the palace was repairable but was demolished in 1950 by the German Democratic Republic. Following this initial phase of essentially archaeological digs the palace is to be rebuilt and is due to be completed in 2019.

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Beth certainly seemed to be enjoying herself – as a part of the ethnological display there was a children’s activity area with this view towards Museum Island.

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The Altes (Old) Museum with Lustgarten (Pleasure Garden) in the foreground. Originally built 1823-1830 this was the first of the 5 museums on Museum Island to be restored between 1951-1966. Along with the other museums and historic buildings on the island the Altes Museum was designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

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The view along Unter den Linden (which means under the linden trees) towards the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column. Unter den Linden was originally developed in 1647 from a bridal path between the city palace and the hunting grounds in the Tiergarten into a boulevard of linden (lime) trees from the palace to the city gates. As Berlin grew, Unter Den Linden became known as the grandest street in Berlin. Most of the trees were cut down building of a tunnel for the S-Bahn in 1934-35 and the rest were cut down or destroyed during the war. The current trees were replanted in the 1950s.

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Berliner Dom from the top of the Humboldt Box.

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One of The Humboldt University buildings looking over Bebelplatz. It was from the library of this university that 20,000 books were burnt in the Bebelplatz by the Nazi regime in 1933 as they were written by “degenerates”. In the centre of the square a glass panel can be found opening onto an underground white room with empty shelf space for 20,000 volumes and a plaque bearing an epigraph from an 1820 work by Jeinrich Heine which translates to: “That was only a prelude; where they burn books, they ultimately burn people”.

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St Hedwig’s Cathedral. This is a Catholic cathedral on Bebelplatz. Unfortunately this was the best view available due to major works going on at the State Opera building.

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Inside St Hedwig’s. This was built as the first Catholic church in Prussia following the Protestant Reformation by permission of King Frederick II. At the time there were a large number of Silesian immigrants and was named after the patron of Silesia and Brandenburg – St Hedwig of Andechs. The church was modelled on the Pantheon in Rome and construction began in 1747 but due to economy measures was delayed on several occasions and was not completed until 1773.

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The organ in St Hedwig’s. In 1938 Bernhard Lichtenberg, a canon of the cathedral chapter since 1931, prayed publicly for the Jews and was later jailed by the Nazis and died on the way to the concentration camp at Dachau. In 1965 Lichtenberg’s remains were transferred to the crypt at St Hedwig’s. The cathedral burned out completely in 1943 during the air raids and was reconstructed from 1952 to 1963.

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Continuing down Unter der Linden we went past the equestrian statue of King Friedrich II of Prussia.

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Then on to the Brandenburg Gate. The fountain is in front of the US Embassy.

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From there we caught the bus where we went past Bellevue Palace – the official residence of the President of Germany and on to…

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…the Victory Column. Built in 1864 to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War. By the time it was inaugurated in 1873 Prussia had also defeated Austria in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. These victories inspired the addition of the bronze sculpture of Victoria – the Roman goddess of victory – which is 8.3m high and weighs 35 tonnes. The column was originally built in Konigsplatz (now Platz der Republik) by the Reichstag but was moved to its current location in Tiergarten by the Nazis. This saved it from destruction in the air raids in 1945 which largely destroyed the area around the Reichstag.

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This is the view from the viewing platform at the base of the column looking down Strasse 17 des Juni towards the Brandenburg Gate where you can also see to dome of the Berliner Dom, the TV Tower and the Rotes Rathaus.

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Here is the same view but this time from the top of the column just below the statue of Victoria. When the Nazis moved the column they added another 7.5m section to the column bringing the height to its current 66.89m which takes 285 steps to climb. You can now also see a number of other buildings that have appeared in the previous days’ blogs.

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It is also possible to see the Reichstag from the top.

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Yup, quite a way up.

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This is the view towards the Brandenburg Gate without any zoom giving a good indication of the size of the Tiergarten though there is a large portion in the other direction as well.

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Victoria – the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Nike.

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Then back onto the bus. We went past the Charlottenburg palace though we did not stop to go and look round. This is the largest palace in Berlin and the only royal residency dating back to the time of the Hohenzollern family. The palace was inaugurated in 1699 and was subsequently greatly augmented in the 18th century though continuing sections have been added since then as well. The palace was damaged as badly as the City Palace which was torn down and it was feared the same would happen to this palace but this was averted and the palace was rebuilt to its former glory.

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Urania is a scientific body founded in Berlin in 1888 aiming to communicate the most recent scientific findings to the public. With such a highly polished dark exterior it made for quite a sight seeing the reflections in it.

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Another place we did not stop was Check Point Charlie. This was one of the crossing points between East and West Berlin whilst the wall stood and was the site of a stand off between American and Soviet tanks and – as did the other crossing points – saw many escape attempts by citizens of the German Democratic Republic to the Western side.

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The last stop was the far end of the East Side Gallery – a 1.3km section of the wall still standing that artists from all over the world were invited to come to paint on in 1990 as a memorial to freedom.

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From there we walked back to Alexanderplatz and with the light fading caught the tram back to the hotel.

A long day but we enjoyed seeing so much – I hope you have enjoyed my photos and have found this interesting.

Please let me know what you think – criticism good or bad about content or photos welcome.

Links to all days in Berlin:

Berlin 2012: Days 1 & 2 – Wandering and the Aquarium

Berlin 2012: Day 3 – Berlin Zoo

Berlin 2012: Day 4 – Rainy Bus Tour

Berlin 2012: Day 5 – Bus Tour II

Berlin 2012: Day 6 – Potsdam

Berlin 2012: Days 7 & 8 Tierpark & Homeward Bound

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