@ 52 degrees north – Berlin – first time visitor

Berlin – a city of contrasts – on the one hand – the wide streets and large squares lined with elegant buildings reflect the city’s grace and culture both past and present; on the other are the grim reminders of the cold war and the nazi period of Germany’s history.

The old Berlin first – the iconic Brandenburg Gate – for decades blocked off by its proximity to the Berlin wall, now a symbol of peace and unity, not far away the Reichstag and the Konzerthaus and many lush parks, fine detail everywhere from the statues to the chain holders – too much to really take in and much has been restored since the destruction of the second world war – and there are still works everywhere – restoring the old and developing new modern buildings and facilities.

berlin collage

The Topographie of Terror museum is in this flat building building below with an outdoor component on the right of the top photo. It is built on the site of headquarters of the Gestapo and SS from the Nazi era and houses a graphic exhibition of photographs and descriptions of the reign of the Nazis and the awful repressions of that time which resulted in the suffering and death of so many. I found it quite distressing. Leaving the main exhibition I came across a lecture hall with lines of empty chairs which I found somehow symbolic….. topographe of terror museum



and this image was taken in the Jewish Museum…

The Wall, once a powerful physical symbol of the massive divide in German political, economic and everyday life is now no more. Little of the original wall is still upright. There’s a short section (bottom below) along which the outdoor section of the Topographie of Terror museum runs and there’s a line of cobbles through roads and pavements etc showing where it used to be (top). Checkpoint Charlie is now a tourist attraction where you can have your photo taken with the border ‘guards’. Grimmer reminders are in the form of white crosses to commemorate those who didn’t make it over the wall to the west. The wall collage

grateGrills and grates marked around the Reichstag. We saw this in Ireland just before the Queen visited a few years ago, a security check I think.  She’s here next week too.

sunset berlin


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