Berlin is a very special city, one that I truly admire, and that i got to visit last month. Destroyed twice by world wars, penalized, divided by a stupid, ugly wall; it has certainly overcome all these colossal constraints to regain its position as one of the most livable, vibrant cities. Even at the peak of its dark history and in the aftermath of the wars; the cultural, intellectual and nightlife scene has preserved their integrity and originality, as obvious in the exhibition Art in Berlin 1880-1980 at the Berlinische Galerie. Unlike Beirut, war has not over-monopolized post-war arts, cinema and intellectual discourse. It has not served as a pretext for mediocrity and cultural decline.
Due to its division by two opposite regimes since the fifties, the city grew in opposite directions. As East Berlin undertook a socialist lifting in architecture and urbanism, conserving a pedestrian scale; West Berlin branched out to adapt to a car scale development, typical of the sixties new towns.
While it is East Berlin that most of the tourists walk by foot, West Berlin is perceived for a first time visitor as a monumental sequence of civic buildings, embassies and museums with parks, promenades and miles in between. and for that, a bike is a must.
Due to having two parliaments, two national opera houses, and two of each civic monument during the cold war era, Berlin is today what i call a double city. Abundant with well-documented memorials, it is a city that not only has a strong collective memory, but also moved on successfully beyond its violent past, turning its scars to witty architectural landmarks.
A like Architecture
B like Badeshif Pool, Berlinishe Gallery
C like Checkpoint Charlie
D like DDR Cars
H like Holocaust Memorial
J like Jewish Museum
K like the Kreuzberg Canal
M like Monumentality
P like Parks, Promenades, Public Space
T like Topography of Terror
W like Wall Memorial(s)