I think for many people, Berlin still evokes images of a city divided between east and west. It symbolises the struggle between communism and capitalism that encompassed much of the 20th century.
However, modern Berlin is about so much more.
The city (east and west) is now filled with excellent restaurants, designer clothing stores and bustles with an energy not dissimilar to London. The wall is virtually gone, although a double line of bricks marks the line where the wall once stood.
Brandenburg Gate was commissioned by Frederick William II of Prussia, and is the only remaining gate of a series through which you originally entered Berlin. The gate was used as a party symbol by the Nazis, and was one of only 2 buildings in Pariser Platz to survive the war. The gate lay just inside the eastern side of the Wall and when Kennedy visited in 1963, the Soviets hung red banners across it to prevent him looking into the east.
German parliament sits in the Reichstag Building, a building with a tumultous history. It was inaugurated in the 1890s, but the emperor at the time called it the “house for chatting”. It nearly burned down in the 1930s, it was seized from the Nazis by Stalin at the end of WWII and it was here the Nazis made their final stand. The building lay unused and insignificant until it was rebuilt in the mid 90’s and turned into the parliamentary home of the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house. Today, it is an impressive fusion of contemporary and classic architecture. It is also probably Berlin’s biggest tourist attraction, so we waited until 9pm to visit it, hoping to avoid the daytime crowds.