Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel
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Konzerthaus Berlin at Gendarmenmarkt

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Konzerthaus Berlin, located on Gendarmenmarkt square near the historic center of the city, is considered to be one of the five best concert venues in the world due to its excellent acoustics. During the Christmas holidays, the Gendarmenmarkt hosts one of Berlin’s most popular Christmas markets.

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Interior of the Berliner Dom Protestant Cathedral in Berlin

Click on above photo to view it in large format: The Berliner Dom (Protestant Cathedral in Berlin) features a dome decorated with mosaics, stained glass windows by Anton von Werner, massive pipe organ, Neo-Baroque pulpit, and crypt with more than 80 sarcophagi of Prussian royals. It is well worth the 270-step climb to the top of the dome to take in the views over Berlin.

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Checkpoint Charlie, the most famous crossing point in the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin during the Cold War

Click on above photo to view it in large format: During the Cold War, Checkpoint Charlie was the most famous crossing point in the Berlin Wall between the east and west sectors of the city. Though both the Wall and checkpoint were removed in 1990, a reproduction of the guard house and border sign were later recreated. Today, for a fee tourists have their photographs taken with actors dressed as Allied military policemen standing in front of the guard house.

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Brandenburg Gate, the Symbol of Berlin

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate is built on the site that marked the beginning of the road from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel. During the Cold War years, the Berlin Wall ran just to the west of the gate, leaving it standing in the “no man’s land” between the double concrete walls. Isolated and inaccessible, it became the symbol of Berlin, and today it remains the most important symbol of the city.

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Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin

Click on above photo to view it in large format: Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is also known as the Holocaust Memorial. Designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happoldt, it features 2711 granite stelae of varying sizes and heights. On the day I visited, our guide let each of us make our way through the memorial alone, then asked us to describe the experience when we regrouped on the other side. For me, the site was cold and impersonal, which seemed a perfect analogy for Hitler’s assertion that Jews were sub-human.

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Berlin Konzerthaus and German Church at Gendarmenmarkt

Click on above photo to view it in large format: The Berlin Konzerthaus (right) and German Cathedral (left) dominate the Gendarmenmarkt, a popular public square near the city’s historic center. Not shown in this photo is the French Cathedral, which stands on the right hand of the Konzerthaus and is a near-twin to the German Cathedral. The square is named for the Gens d’Armes mounted regiment, which had their stables at the square until 1773, however its designer is said to have modeled it after Piazza Popolo in Rome, with its famous twinned cathedrals.