My fourth postcard from Berlin comes from an earlier time where I explored Germany through the Baroque era leading into WWII. Starting with the mediaeval ages, Nikolaiviertel (Nikolai quarter) is the oldest residential area of Berlin and so well preserved, it simply takes you back in time, like in a fairytale. During the Middle Ages, a trade route was marked in this area merging merchants and artisans from around the world. I very much enjoyed the flashback of restaurants, inns, stores and admired the St. Nicholas Church (the first church in the city). The sad truth – Nikolaiviertel too has been severely damaged during WII however fully restored to this charming masterpiece.
No trip to Berlin is complete without a visit to Museum Island which, as the name suggests, is an island surrounded by the river Spree and houses 5 world renowned museums including:
- Pergamon museum – the most visited museum in Germany
- Bode Museum – housing an extensive collection of sculptures and treasures of the Museum of Byzantine Art
- Neues Museum – housing the Egyptian Museum and bust of Nefertiti
- Altes Museum – the first museum in Prussia presenting Greek and Roman treasury
- Alte Nationalgalerie – inspired by the Acropolis in Athens
With its magnificent dome, the Berlin Cathedral simply stands out among all others on Museum Island. This brilliant masterpiece was built between 1894 – 1905 and holds nearly 100 coffins belonging to the Hohenzollern family who commissioned its creation. The cathedral suffered heavy damage during WWII however the restoration took 4 years to complete after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
One of my favourite places in Berlin is called the Hackesche Höfe (Hackesche Courts) located in the historic Scheunenviertel district. The complex consists of 8 interconnected courtyards and includes shops, galleries, flats, restaurants, cabaret and cinemas. The complex was designed in 1906 with the “Art Nouveau” style ( a style which incorporates organic shapes and dramatic curving lines). Today it is one of the most popular meeting points for Berliners and tourists and from the charms of the architecture and diverse offerings, its easy to see why 🙂
For those of you who are not familiar with Bebelplatz, you might notice a spot on the ground where people gather; only this is no ordinary spot. On 10th May 1933, the Nazis were commissioned to burn over 20,000 books written by journalists, scientists, philosophers – all which were seen as a threat to the Nazi ideology. The lost works during the Book Burning Ceremony are now commemorated with a glass window – only if you look deeper you will notice empty shelves, the equivalent space of all lost books.
After an inspiring day, enjoying exactly the kind of history which I am so passionate about, Jasmin suggested a burger in Hans am Gluck on Friedrichstrasse. This place was no ordinary burger joint – quite modern and incorporates a lot of feng shui elements. We opted for an organic hay milk cheese and guacamole burger accompanied with chunky fries and a divine mustard and orange sauce – two words: yum yum!