DEUTSCHER DOM. On the southern end of the square, the Dom is not used as a church but instead houses Wege Irrwege Umwege (Milestones, Setbacks, Sidetracks), an exhibition tracing German political history from despotism to democracy. (Gendarmenmarkt 5. Open Su and W-Sa 10am-7pm, Tu lOam-lOpm. Free.)
FRANZOSISCHER DOM. Built in the early 18th century by French Huguenots, the Dom is now home to a restaurant and a small museum chronicling the Huguenot diaspora. The tower offers a 360° panorama of the city, as well as a terrific view of the square itself. (Museum open Su llam-5pm, Tu-Sa noon-5pm. 2, students 1. Tower open M-Sa 9am-7pm. 2, students 1.50.)
MUSEUMSINSEL AND ALEXANDERPLATZ
After crossing the Spree, Unter den Linden becomes Karl-Liebknecht-Str. and cuts through the Museumsinsel (Museum Island), home to five major museums and the Berliner Dom. Take S3, 5, 7, 9, or 75 to Hackescher Markt. Karl-Liebknecht-Str. continues into the monolithic Alexanderplatz.
BERLINER DOM. This bulky, multi-domed cathedral, one of Berlin’s most recognizable landmarks, proves that Protestants can be as excessive as Catholics. Built during the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II, it recently emerged from 20 years of restoration after being damaged in a 1944 air raid. Look for the Protestant icons (Calvin, Zwingli, and Luther) that adorn the interior, or bask in a glorious view of Berlin from the tower. (Open M-Sa 9am-8pm, Su noon-8pm; closed during services 6:30-7:30pm. Combined admission to Dom, crypt, tower, and galleries 5, students 3. Free organ recitals W-F at 3pm. Frequent concerts in summer; buy tickets in the church or calls 20 26 91 36.
ALEXANDERPLATZ. Formerly the frantic heart of Weimar Berlin, the plaza was transformed in East German times into an urban wasteland of concrete-block classics. In the 1970s, the gray drear was interrupted by enormous neon signs with declarations like “Medical Instruments of the DDR Distributed in All the World!” in order to satisfy the people’s need for bright lights. Today chain stores like Kauf-hof have replaced the signs and serve as a backdrop for the affairs of bourgeois German shoppers, tourists, and punks with their dogs.