Berlin, Germany’s capital, dates back to the 13th century. Reminders of the city's turbulent 20th-century history include its Holocaust memorial and the Berlin Wall's graffitied remains. Divided during the Cold War, its 18th-century Brandenburg Gate has become a symbol of reunification of East- and West-Germany.
The Brandenburg Gate, built between 1788 and 1791, is the only remaining gate through which people entered Berlin in the past. At the moment the Wall was erected in 1961, the gate ended up in the middle of the so-called 'death strip'.
During our visit in 2011 we agreed to meet up again at this symbol of reunification. Arno circled the area three times before locating me due to the gate now being enclosed by high rise buildings. Totally unrecognizable to us.
Checkpoint Charlie, set up in August 1961, was the only gateway where East Germany allowed Allied diplomats, military personnel and foreign tourists (like us) to pass into East Berlin. Its famous beige guardhouse was removed seven months after the fall of the wall and is on display at the Allied Museum. On the original location a replica can be found.
The Berlin Zoological Garden is the oldest in Germany and 9th oldest in the world.*)
Opened in 1844 it covers 35 hectares (86.5 acres) and is located in Berlin's city center (Tiergarten). With about 1,500 different species and 19,400 animals the zoo presents one of the most comprehensive collection of species in the world.
Because of the zoo being almost completely demolished in WW II (only 91 of the 3,715 survived), the opportunity was grasped to keep during reconstruction as close as possible to the natural living conditions of the animals. And successfully!
*) De oldest zoo in Europe is Artis in Amsterdam (1838); the third oldest in the world.