Berlin is easily one of my favorite cities. It really has everything: history, tradition, famous universities, pubs, museums, churches, cosmopolitan areas, east/west, public transit…etc. If you are looking for photographs, this is more of a structural city. By that, I mean it is a place where you photograph buildings not people. I am not one that likes to really square up a building and take a general tourist shot. I would rather capture a local person at a coffee shop, moments, they only last for a second in time. Anyone can go to the Reichstag and take a picture.
There is plenty to do and see in Berlin. I definitely want to go back at some point. Being that I studied Trans Atlantic history in grad school, the obvious German involvement in world events are memorizing up close. From East Germany to the Nazi regime. The divide between East and West after WWII shaped our world into the foreseeable future. Since the fall of the Eastern bloc, until today, this tale is told throughout Eastern Europe. I think that the reason it is so powerful in Berlin, is you can look at one city, and see it split in half. It is the epicenter of the Cold War. A case study if you will, in post WWII development. You don’t have to be an economist, historian, or sociologist to recognize the differences. When I travel in a place like Bratislava, it takes a bit more background understanding to piece things together. In Berlin you can literally walk a street away and see the difference.
I would like to give a quick background on the “Holocaust Memorial” picture I posted above. This memorial was constructed a few years back. It was put in the middle of the city so people would be forced to see it everyday; businessmen, tourists, taxi drivers, everyone. Many wanted it built near a local concentration camp. This would defeat the purpose, because those who would travel to the memorial would already be in the right state of mind to take in the information provided. I believe the designers and city planners did the right thing by putting it in the city proper. The holocaust is a shocking event, and thus needs a shocking memorial. Not something that you see when you are ready on a Saturday but something you see leaving the store or riding your bike, something you see when you don’t want to see it. Remember the Holocaust is not a German event, it is a an action that we as humans share in dealing with. The design is also left up to interpretation. Common themes are rows of graves, or rows of train cars going to camps. However you choose to properly remember those who passed away is up to you.