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Five Top Places to Visit in Berlin

Berlin’s rich, varied and often dramatic history, combined with its ambitious and progressive present, leave the city endowed with more than its fair share of visitor attractions. From cutting edge architecture and world renowned high culture offered by the many famous art galleries, museums and operas to the vibrant counter-culture of the city’s alternative arts scene and nightlife – and everything in between – Berlin is now one of’s recommended city breaks, suggestive of its newfound popularity as a tourist hot-spot.

1. The Reichstag

This magnificent building is once again home to the German Parliament after being set ablaze by a Dutch Communist in 1933, the act that inadvertently boosted the power and popularity of Hitler and his NSDAP party. The Reichstag is also famous for one of the most famous images of the twentieth century: the iconic picture of Red Army Soldiers raising the Soviet flag, symbolizing Germany's defeat at the end of the Second World War. The 1999 restoration saw the addition of a glass dome that has since become one of Berlin's main attractions and viewing points. Best visit early in the morning to avoid the inevitable long queues, especially in summer.

2. Checkpoint Charlie

From 1962 the only crossing point between East and West Germany after the building of the Berlin Wall the previous year, Checkpoint Charlie became the focal point of the potentially catastrophic standoff between east and west. Often romanticized it was immortalized in the work of John Le Carré and has been the subject of many spy movies and other spy novels. The Checkpoint Charlie museum features various items from the old Berlin Wall and other related Cold War items.

3. The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall separated East Berlin and West Berlin for 28 years: from 1961 until 1989. Though most of the wall has been dismantled, some parts still stand and are definitely worth a visit. There’s an 80-metre (263 ft) piece of the 'first (westernmost) wall' at the site of the former Gestapo headquarters half way between Checkpoint Charlie and Potsdamer Platz. To the east of

4. Treptower Park

Off the beaten track, the S-Bahn ride is as interesting and enjoyable as the destination. Designed in 1880, Treptower Park is probably best known for its imposing and impressive Soviet Memorial – commemorating the nearly 5000 fallen Russian soldiers laid to rest there. At one end a statue representing Mother Russia, at the other a heroic Soviet soldier carrying a child, and trampling on a swastika.

The Archenhold Sternwarte observatory, which houses the longest refracting telescope in the world, is also located at Treptower.

5. The Tiergarten

Berlin's green heart runs from the Brandenburg Gate in the east right through to Zoo Station in the west. Originally a hunting ground, the 630-acre urban park was designed in 1742 by Peter Joseph and restored and replanted during the 1950s after damage sustained during the Second World War. The park is now home to Berlin Zoo, the 69-metre Victory column (with an observation deck), Bellevue Palace and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures) which currently hosts an exhibition of global cultures and non-European avant-garde art.