Berlin – the capital of Germany and the economic center of the EU

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Berlin – history, attractions, map, photos. Berlin today.

Berlin is the capital of Germany, the largest and most populous city in Germany. After London, Berlin is the second most populous and the fifth largest city in the European Union. Berlin is one of the 16 states within the Federal Republic of Germany. The city is located on the banks of the Spree River (with this the nickname of Berlin “Spree-Athen” – “Athens on the Spree”) and Hafel in the center of the federal state of Brandenburg, of which it is not a part (since 1920). Area of the city: 891.85 km². Population: 3,431,420 (2008). Coordinates: 52°31′00″ N. 13°23′00″ E. Time zone: UTC+1, in summer UTC+2. Phone code: +49 30. Postal codes: 10001-14199.

Berlin arose from the unification of the city of Cologne with the village opposite. The city was first mentioned in 1244. The name “Berlin” comes from the word “bear”, which in German sounds like “Bär”. This animal was the symbol of the city until 1280.

In 1415 Friedrich I founded the Margraviate of Brandenburg. His descendants ruled Berlin until 1918. During their reign, the city had both good and bad times. In 1451, for example, Berlin lost its status as a free commercial city. During the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), the city suffered greatly. Much of the buildings were destroyed and many inhabitants were killed. The reign of Friedrich Wilhelm is characterized by religious tolerance. He gave asylum to Jewish families and French Huguenots. The city’s population grew at the expense of immigrants. In 1700 the French accounted for 20% of Berlin’s total population.

In 1701 the city became the capital of Prussia. In 1709 the cities of Friedrichswerder, Friedrichstadt and Dorotheenstadt were annexed to Berlin. During the Seven Years’ War the city was captured by Russian and French troops. In 1871 Berlin was proclaimed the capital again. In 1936 the city hosted the Olympic Games. During World War II, the city was severely damaged, much of Berlin was destroyed.

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In 1961 the Berlin Wall was built. It was possible to move from one area to another only through special points. The Berlin Wall remained in effect until 1989. After these events, the city began to develop rapidly.

Berlin is a major economic and financial center of the European Union. The city has developed: engineering, radio-electronic industry, transport construction. Services sector is important for Berlin, in which about 80% of companies work.

The city is served by two airports: Tegel and Schönefeld. Berlin is served by subway, city electric trains and streetcars. Widespread travel by bicycle.

The city is full of interesting sights, so it is no wonder that today are so popular tours to Germany. The Brandenburg Gate (1788-1791), designed by architect Karl Gotthard Langhans, is world famous. On Breitscheidplatz there are the ruins of the Church of Emperor Wilhelm, which was destroyed during the war. In Treptow Park there is a memorial monument and cemetery dedicated to the soldiers of the Soviet army.

Berlin has more than 2,500 parks and squares with a total area of 5,500 hectares. Tiergarten is the largest park in the city, founded more than 500 years ago. The panorama of the city can be seen from the height of 285 steps leading up to the 69-meter high Victory Column (1864-1873). Among the famous park areas of the city are Treptow Park (1876-1882) and the Berlin Botanical Gardens. Interesting places to visit are: Friedrichsfelde Zoo and the Berlin Zoological Garden. The zoo was founded in 1844 and is the oldest zoo in the country. Its territory is home to over 14,000 animals. In Berlin there is a forest – Grunewald – a favorite vacation spot of true Berliners.

In Berlin there are several museum centers. The most famous is the Museum Island in the East. This center includes the Old National Gallery, the Bode Museum and the Pergamon Museum. Other museum centers include the Dalem Museums and the Egyptian Museum.

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There are many theaters in the city. The most popular are the Berlin State Opera, the Deutsche Oper, the Schiller Theater and the Berlin Drama Theater.

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