Few cities are as defined by a single century as Berlin. The earliest records of Germany’s capital date from the 12th century, but the 20th century, the darkest mankind has known, completely dominates the city. There are still traces of pre-war Berlin, there are hidden courtyards and remnants of its imperial past but the spectre of the previous 100-years looms heavily.
Berlin, however, confronts its turbulent past head-on; it doesn’t shy away from its history. There are various monuments and memorials that range from the whimsical and the kitsch like the Checkpoint Charlie border crossing or the ‘Life in the GDR’ exhibition in the Kulturbrauerei to the sobering and the harrowing like the ‘Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’ and the intact stretches of the Berlin Wall.
Above all, more so than most, it’s a tale of two cities. The old juxtaposed with the new, a progressive city striving to move forward but invariably weighed down by its troubled history. A city where the past is inescapable.
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