Visit to Berlin
Welcome to Berlin you’re probably in Charlottenburg! Originally a separate town founded around the grounds of Friedrich I’s imperial palace, Charlottenburg now has Berlin’s main shopping strip, the Ku’damm, heavy with tourist traffic and upscale department stores. Most things in Charlottenburg are expensive, but the sights and tourist services around Bahnhof Zoo bring most travelers through.
AROUND BAHNHOF ZOO. During the city’s division, West Berlin centered around Bahnhof Zoo, the station that inspired U2’s “Zoo TV” tour. (The U-Bahn line U2 runs through the station clever, no?) The surrounding area is a spectacle of department stores and peepshows intermingled with souvenir shops and G-rated attractions. Many of the animals at the renowned Zoologis-cher Garten live in open air habitats, and its flamingo flock is not confined at all. Feeding times are posted at the gate so you can see the creatures chow. The second entrance across from Europa-Center is the famous Elefantentor, Budapester Str. 34, a decorated pagoda of pachyderms. (Open May-Sept. daily 9am-6:30pm; 0ct.-Feb. 9am-5pm; Mar.-Apr. 9am-5:30pm. 9, students 7, children 4.50; combo ticket to zoo and aquarium 14117.) Within the walls of the Zoo, but independently accessible, the Aquarium has insects and reptiles as well as miles of fish. Check out the psychedelic jellyfish tanks, filled with translucent sea nettles. (Budapester Str. 32. 9, students 7, children 4.50.)
KAISER-WILHELM-GEDACHTNISKIRCHE. Nicknamed “the rotten tooth” by Berliners, the jagged edges of this shattered church stand as a reminder of the destruction caused by WWII. Inside, a small exhibit shows pictures of the city in ruins. In the summer, Berlin’s street performers, salesmen, foreigners, and young gather in front of the church to hang out, sell watches, and play bagpipes and sitars. ( 218 50 23. Exhibit open M-Sa 10am-4pm. Church open daily 9am-7pm.)
SCHLOfi CHARLOTTENBURG. Commissioned by Friedrich I, this broad Baroque palace occupies a park in northern Charlottenburg. The grounds include the furnished Altes SchloB (open Tu-F9am-5pm, Sa-Su 10am-5pm; 8, students 5; Required tour.)-, the marbled receiving rooms of the Neuer Flugel (open Tu-F 10am-6pm, Sa-Su 11am-6pm; 5, students 4); the Neuer-Pavillon, a museum dedicated to Prussian architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel (open Su and Tu-Sa 10am-5pm; 2, 1.50); the Belvedere, a small building with the royal family’s porcelain collection (open Apr.-Oct Su and Tu-Sa 10am-5pm, Nov.-Mar. Tu-Fnoon-4pm and Sa-Su noon-5pm; 2, students 1.50); and the Mausoleum (open Apr.-Oct. Su and Tu-Sa lOam-noon and l-5pm; 1). Stroll the Schlofigarten (open Su and Tu-Sa 6am-10pm; free) behind the main buildings, an elysium of small lakes, footbridges, fountains, and manicured trees. (J7: Richard-Wagner-PI, then walk 15min. down Otto-Suhr-Allee. Entire complex 7, students 5. Family card 20.)
OLYMPIA-STADION. The Olympic Stadium is one of the most prominent legacies of the Nazi architectural aesthetic. It was erected for the 1936 Olympic Games, in which Jesse Owens, an African-American, trounced Nazi racial theories by winning four gold medals. The stadium is under construction until late 2004, but the Glockenturm (bell tower) gives a great view of it. (Glockenturm open April-Oct 9am-6pm. S5 or 7 to Pichelsburg, turn left onto Shirwindter All and left again onto Passenheimerstr.)