City: Berlin (Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg)
The German Museum of Technology will also be of interest to technology-resistent people. With the help... of impressive, large objects, the cultural history of technology and inventors is exhibited at length. Founded in 1982, the museum is located on the grounds of the former Anhalter depot, an ideal place for the extensive collection. A new, modern building was added to the historic assembly of buildings and opened its gates in 2005. A remarkable candy bomber from the times of the Berlin Airlift hangs in front of it.
At the moment, 14 departments present their treasures on 110 in² (25,000 m²) of exhibiton space. On focus are the technologies of all means of traffic. The exhibition "Vom Ballon zur Luftbrücke" (From balloon to airlift) takes 200 years of German aviation history into account. One of the gems of the exhibtion are the commercial airplane Junkers Ju 52 as well as the one of a kind Jeannin Stahltaube (1914), the Raab-Katzenstein RK 9 (1928) and the Arado Ar 79 (1941). A transparent airplane from 1943 allows a deep insight into its complex technology. History is also not forgotten: one area shows how the Nazis abused the fascination for flying for their own causes. The ship department also has several larger objects like the tugboat Kurt Heinz from the Brandenburg Mark from 1901 or the 108 ft (33 m) long wreck of a tub from 1840 that was secured from the Havel. Approximately 1,100 exhibits from deep-sea and inland navigation are displayed on three floors. Another highlight of the museum is the train department, which is located in a historic engine-house facility from 1874. 40 original rail cars in chronological order can be seen on 33 tracks. After so much traffic technology, a walk in the big museum park is very pleasant. In the park, two historic windmills perform preindustrial energy transformation, and there are several picnic zones, great for having a break, because you may bring along snacks and drinks. There is also a historical brewery in the park displaying the transition from non-industrial to industrial brewing. Or you go to the photography technology exhibition, where you can learn more about the various scopes of photography applications. In the computer engineering and automation technology section, one learns about the first computers of the world, which where produced in Berlin in the 1930s. An interactive exhibition tells more about the life and work of the Kreuzberg inventor Konrad Zuse. The Science Center Spectrum in the railhead offers pure activity, another museum with 250 experiment stations all about science and technology, aiming predominantly at a younger audience. In a playful way the secrets and regularities of electricity, magnetism, mechanics and motion, optics and acoustics are conveyed.more
The citadel in Spandau is one of the most important Renaissance forts in Europe. The Brandenburg artist,... elector Joachim II, had the architects Francesco Charamella de Gandino and Rochus Graf zu Lynar construct the building. The basic form of the fort, which is completely surrounded by water, is square, an acute-angled bastion is located on every corner. Every one has its own name: queen (southeast), king (southwest), crown prince, (northwest) and Brandenburg (northeast). In the former commander house at the entrance, the exhibition “Burg und Zitadelle” can be seen. On the basis of paintings and photographs, maps and archeological discoveries as well as dioramas and arms, a thorough impression of life in the citadel is conveyed. The oldest part of the fort comes from the Middle Ages, the 100 ft (30 m) tall Julius tower (13th century), west of the back entrance lies the oldest secular building of the city. The “Zinnenkranz” was added in 1838 according to plans of von Schinkel. Once the tower served as a donjon and was the last resort of the castle. Later it was used as a dungeon for prisoners. Finally, Bismarck turned it into a treasure room and stored parts of the “Reichskriegsschatz” (120 million Goldmark) and reparation money from the French after the war from 1870 to 1871, in the chamber until 1918. Today it is used as an observation tower. The great hall bordering on the east side, the residential rooms of the castle, derive from the 15th century. In the Gothic hall concerts are played nowadays. The western curtain wall behind the great hall is in posession of remains of the predecessor building, among them a fortification and circular walls from the 11th and 15th century. In the former armory (1856-58), which is located east of the entrance in the yard of the castle, a museum of the history of the city of Spandau informs about the history of the autonomous city up until 1920. A model of the old town of Spandau can be seen on the top floor. Craftsmen have settled on the western side of the citadel, inside house 4. The theater performs a puppet theater for kids at the citadel (http://www.theater-zitadelle.de). Even a bat observation basement with a cage can be found right here. 10,000 local animals use the citadel regularly for hibernation purposes. 200 bred, tropical bats are shown: Egyptian rousettes from Africa and Seba's short-tailed bats from South America (http://www.bat-ev.de). On the northwestern edge of the citadel rises the cannon tower (around 1700), which is used for art exhibitions. Next door, in the crown prince bastion, a youth art school has opened its gates (http://www.kunstbastion.de). In the 19th century the barrack in the north and the depot in the east were built. During the times of the Nazis, 300 members of the Heeresgassschutz laboratories worked on chemical warfare. In the queen bastion southeast of the citadel, 75 Jewish grave stones from the Middle Ages can be found. They derive from the years between 1244 and 1474. The question how they were brought out of the citadel remains unsolved to this day. It is thought that there is a connection between the displacement of the Jews from Mark Brandenburg after 1510.more
The Victory Column in the middle of the main roundabout (Großer Stern) of Berlin’s Tiergarten is one... of the major attractions in the German capital. The monument, which is 220 ft (67 m) high, was originally constructed during the reign of William I in the 18th century on Königsplatz, which today is called Platz der Republik, as a national monument to Prussia’s victory at the end of the Wars of Unification. It was relocated to its present place in 1938 by the Nazis. The column, which was once only 200 ft (61 m) high, received a fourth tambour at that time. On the top of the monument is Victory, a gilt bronze statue by Friedrich Drake, which is referred to as “Goldelse” ("Golden Elsa") by the Berliners. Spiral stairs lead up to the observation deck, 165 ft (50 m) high, which offers a phantastic view of the Tiergarten area and its surroundings.more
Since 2009, the Neue Museum on the Museum Island has been open to the public again, after it had been... closed for 70 years. The building, constructed by Friedrich August Stueler between 1843 and 1855, was badly damaged during World War II. In 2003, the renovation of the meaningful building was started, supervised by the British star architect David Chipperfield. Chipperfield's intention was not to build true to the original. He wanted to maintain the historical substance and discreetly add new elements, thus turning it into a modern museum building.
Three important collections are presented on a 40 in² (8,000 m²) exhibition ground. The Egyptian Museum and the Papyrus Collection can be found in the northern wing of the Neue Museum. Here you get to see the Berlin Green Head (Berliner Grüner Kopf), three freshly restored sacrifice chambers from the old kingdom as well as the Amarna collection with the famous bust of Nefertiti. The Berlin Gold Hat (Berliner Goldhut), as well as the skull of the Neanderthal of Le Moustier and of the person from Combe Capelle are some of the most important objects in the Museum for Prehistory and Early History. Precious objects from the Trojan collection, which were given to the museum by the archeologist Heinrich Schlieman, can be seen here.
Even in Berlin, one can make archeological discoveries. During the construction of the Berlin subway in Mitte a sensational discovery was made: eleven sculptures of Classic Modernism, which were confiscated by the Nazis as degenerated art, and which were thought to be lost, were found in the concrete in front of the “Rote Ratehaus”. The New Museum presents the works of art in the exhibition “The Berlin sculpture discovery, Degenerated art in debris” (Der Berliner Skulpturenfund, Entartete Kunst im Bombenschutt). Among them a “Dancer” (around 1930) by Marga Moll, “ Astanding Girl” (1930) by Otto Baum and a “Pregnant Woman” (1918) by Emy Roeder. Because of the great crowds wanting to see the exhibition it is helpful to buy a ticket online.more
The Old National Gallery was erected between 1866 and 1876 according to the plans of Friedrich August... Stüler and is home to paintings and drawings from the 19th century. During World War II the building was severely damaged. After the damage had been undone, the Old National Gallery reopened partially in 1949 and completely in 1955. In 1992, a general overhaul was conducted aiming at constructing larger exhibition grounds for the reunited collections of East and West Berlin. After it had been restored thoroughly, the Old National Gallery was inaugurated in 2001. Its collection is considered to be a comprehensive assembly of art epochs from the French Revolution to World War I, from Classicism to Secessions. One can look in awe at masterpieces such as David Friedrich's “The Monk by the Sea” (1808-1810), Arnold Böcklin's “Isle of the Dead” (1883) or Adolph Menzel's “Balcony Room” (1845) at the Old National Gallery. The collection of impressionistic paintings is rich and precious. Masterpieces by Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne and sculptures by Auguste Rodin are part of the treasure of the museum.more
A huge remarkable granite bowl by Christian Gottlieb Cantian in front of the Old Museum (Altes Museum,... 1823-1830) at the Berlin Lustgarten is one of the most significant works of the Classicism era. The front is clearly structured by 18 grooved ionic pillars and its outside staircase. The two-story rotunda on the inside is very impressive. Karl Friedrich Schinkel indeed created a masterpiece of museum architecture. The Old Museum shows part of the antique collection from the state museums of Berlin. The Greece works of art are on display on the main floor. Stone sculptures and figures made of clay and bronze, vases as well as golden jewelry and silver treasures can bee seen in this themed gallery. On top, exiting facts on Greece mythology and the antique city culture are conveyed. The special exhibition “Italia Antiqua. Etruscans and Romans in the Old Museum” is on the upper floor. Important works of art from the smaller Roman collection are the portraits of Cesar and Cleopatra. Grave findings and excellent pieces of Etruscan art production are also on display. You can get in the mood for the future presentation, which will be shown in a couple of years after the general reconstruction has taken place, looking at sarcophagi, mosaics, frescos, and Roman-Egyptian mummy images.more
Around 1871, first thoughts of an art museum came up at the imperial residence in Berlin. The royal architect... Ernst von Ihne finally erected the magnificent Neo-Baroque building on the northern tip of the Museum Island between 1897 and 1904. Initially, the museum was named after Kaiser Frederick III. Since 1956, it has the name of its first director, Wilhelm von Bode (1845-1929). The dominant dome and the two opulent staircases convey a grand atmosphere, which is continued by the endless interior elements.
During World War II, the building was severely damaged. Reconstruction was started in the 1950s, and the museum was reopened. Since 2006, the Bode museum has been completely open to the public. It is home to numerous collections: the sculpture collection, the museum of Byzantine Art, the coin cabinet as well as several works from the painting gallery. The sculpture collection consists of amazing European works from the early Middle Ages to the 18th century. A special focus lies on the Italian department, which hosts masterpieces from the Middle Ages: sculptures such as the "Man of Sorrows" from Giovanni Pisano and masterpieces of the early Renaissance. Glaced terracotta from Luca della Robbia, the Pazzi Madonna from Donatello, and the portrait busts from Desiderio da Settignano, Francesco Laurana and Mino da Fiesole are highlights of the collection. The museum of Byzantine Art has an exquisite collection of late antique and Byzantine works of art and everyday objects. It focuses on the art of the West Romans and the Byzantine Empire from the 3rd to the 15th century. Rich ivory carvings, mosaic icons as well as late antique sarcophagi are part of the exhibition. Furthermore, a rich collection of figural and ornamental sculptures from the east Roman empire are presented. The coin cabinet is one of the oldest special exhibitions from the foundation of Prussian cultural heritage. They are particularly proud of the completeness of the coin collection ranging from the 7th century BC to today. The collection consists of especially precious compilations of 102,000 Greek and 50,000 Roman coins of ancient times, 160,000 European coins from the Middle Ages and modern times as well as 35,000 islamic-oriental coins. 25,000 medals are also part of the collection. Only a little portion of the big collection is on display: 4,000 coins and medals can be seen on the second floor along with descriptions in an interactive coin catalog. All other objects can be viewed downstairs by appointment.more
City: Berlin (Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg)
The Berlinische Galerie, Musem of Modern Art, Photography and Architecture is located in nice, clear... exhibition halls in a reconstructed glass warehouse in the Kreuzberg district. The museum, founded in 1975, presents arts of all kinds made in Berlin from 1870 to the present day in its permanent exhibitions. Among them are works of Otto von Dix (“Der Dichter Iwar von Luecken”, 1928), and Georg Baselitz (“Ein moderner Maler", 1966), graphics of George Grosz (“Daum”, 1920), and Hannah Hoech (“Dada-Rundschau”, 1919), photographs of Raoul Hausmann and architectural models about the city planning. Some emphasis lies on the Berlin secession, dada, expressionism, and the Russian avant-garde in the Berlin of the 1920s. But also specific art and contemporary multimedia installations are part of the collection of the museum, which is not scared of trying out new things. The varied program is rounded off by special exhibitions, movies and readings.more
The Pergamon Museum is the most popular museum of the city and is visited by one million people each... year. The main attraction in the neo-Classical building by Alfred Messel and Ludwig Hoffmann is the magnificent Pergamon Altar (2nd century BC) with its impressive figure frieze displaying the battle between giants and gods. This masterpiece of Hellenism was discovered between 1878 and 1886 in Pergamon on Turkey's west coast and brought to Berlin. Another highlight of the antique collection is the 55 ft (17 m) high and 95 ft (29 m) wide Market Gate of Miletus (around 100 AD), a masterpiece of Roman architecture. Next to renowned anitque collections, the museum also hosts two further museums: the Middle East Museum and the Museum for Islamic Art. The Middle East Museum is one of the most important museums for oriental relics in the entire world. The Ishtar Gate of Babylon (605-692 BC), with its enchanting animal images on blue glass tiles, is definitely worth a visit. The lions, bulls, and dragons symbolize the main gods of Babylon, Ishtar, Adad and Marduk. The artfully executed brick reliefs of the reconstructed processional way, leading to the Ishtar gate, is also very impressive. The Museum for Islamic Art presents treasures from Islamic people from the 8th to the 19th centuries in all its shades. One must emphasize the richly adorned, 115 ft (35 m) long stone facade of the Desert Castle of Mshatta (734/744 AD), which was a present from the sultan Abdulhamid II for Kaiser Wilhlem II. Since March 2010, the Keir Collection has enriched the museum with precious brocades and carpets, valuable mountain crystal objects as well as calligraphies, and elaborately decorated book bindings: real collectors' luck, which the lender Edmind de Unger now shares with the curious public.more
The Museum of Natural History is an old institution, popular among the Berliners, and knows how to impress... with a variety of treasures of nature: skeletons of dinosaurs, meteorites, valuable minerals and stuffed animals. The older generation enjoys to see the much-loved gorilla Bobby, once the first gorilla in the Berlin Zoo. Since 1889, the museum has its home in the former three-wing building of the architect August Tiede, which was expanded from 1914-17 with an additional lateral wing. There was just too much that needs to be shown. But even today, it is still not possible to show all 30 million objects from the mineral, geological, paleontological and zoological collection on the 70,000 ft² (6,600 m²) exhibition area. The visitor only sees a very well-prepared portion of the entire collection with many rare and valuable objects. Some can be found right behind the entrance in the newly renovated dinosaur hall: in its center raises the huge skeleton of a Brachiosaurus almost touching the ceiling. The famous Berlin specimen of the archaeopteryx can also be found here. If you look through the binoculars spread throughout the room, you have the feeling that you are at the movies: the skeletons seem to be alive and moving in their former habitat. This nice technical gimmick is called “Jurascope”. The exhibition “Evolution in Action” (Evolution in Aktion) is also worth a visit. It visualizes on the basis of peacocks and zebras, e.g. the mechanisms that are responsible for looks and behavior of animals and plants - a little school of evolution. The Humboldt-Exploratoriums aim at children by practically taking diggings and microscopies into account and learning how to work scientifically. More information on how to sign up can be found online (http://www.humboldt-exploratorium.de). To get into the mood for a visit to the Naturkundemuseum, the website offers an animal voice archive (http://www.tierstimmenarchiv.de). You can browse through the rich sound databank and fill your room with the sound of nightingales, for example, or the high-pitched chirping of a common marmoset.more
In 1872, the first post museum was founded in Berlin. At the suggestion of the former general postmaster,... the architect built a pompous prestigious neo-Baroque building, which also served as imperial post office. From 1893-97 the building was reconstructed by Ernst Hake, Otto techow and Franz Ahrens and turned into the imperial post museum. Since 1895, a sculpture from Ernst Weck crowns the main entrance: the three giants carrying a globe are an allegory pointing out to the global importance of communication. During World War II, the building was badly damaged. In 1987, it was decided to reconstruct the building completely, which happened until 1990. In 1992, the architect's office Henze & Vahjen was given the order to restore the building and make up a new concept for its usage. The new Museum for Communication was opened in 2000. the treasure chamber is on the ground floor. Interesting facts are given on the 17 most valuable museum objects, among them the most famous stamp in the world: the blue and red Penny, the first phones and ancient television tubes. Even a cosmic stamp that had been outer space can be found right here. The impressive light yard has two galleries and a stage for little robots one can chat with. Interactive stations teach the essentials of communication. Morse signals, international maritime signal flags and smoke sings can be studied. On the first floor, the question is raised how the media dominates our everyday life and changes our perception of events. The main focus on the second floor lies on the role of the media during wars and the power of mass media. After so much knowledge, one can communicate modernly in the computer gallery. Maybe one will experience its influence with more conscience, while surfing, chatting or tweeting.more
With its 500,000 visitors each year, the “Topography of Terror” is one of the most-visited memorial... sites in Berlin. After years of planning and lots of back and forth, the exhibition center opened in March 2010. Now Berlin has a central memorial site for the terror of the Nazis. Since 1987, a provisional exhibition about the most important institutions of the Nazi apparatus can be visited. The place was home to the headquarters of the Gestapo, the SS and the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt) during the Third Reich. Many crimes were planned and operated from these offices. Originally, it was supposed to only last for a year in addition to the big Berlin exhibition due to the 750 years anniversary, but because of the great interest it was prolonged again and again and finally prolonged for an infinite period. After the Berlin Wall came down, plans were made for a new exhibition center. Two competitions on how to deal with the historical place failed because of financial and constructional problems. The third competition in 2006 was won by the architects Ursula Wilms and professor Heinz W. Hallmann, a landscape architect from Aachen. What does one see at this authentic site? Only little remains of the original buildings. They were torn down after the war and the compound was leveled. Some remains of the foundation were exposed. The basement rooms of a former SS rations barrack are visible as well as parts of the prison courtyard walls. The torture chamber itself cannot be seen. At the spot of the remains of the foundation of the Gestapo prison lies a soil mark, marked by gravel. A panel in the permanent exhibition informs about the takeover by the Nazis and the organization of their police apparatus. Impressive portraits, in remembrance of the people who were interrogated and tortured, can be found here. One can also see portraits of the Nazi elite, that is the people who did their despicable jobs at this location. Generously, the exhibition does not show SS uniforms. Overall the entire compound is conspicuously plainly designed. Outside, a 650 ft (200 m) tall oddment of the Berlin Wall rises at Niderkirchnerstraße. At the request of “Topography of Terror”, all the marks of the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall were obtained and the remains were listed. It reminds of the century-long separation of the city as a consequence of the machinations at this site.more
City: Berlin (Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg)
The Martin-Gropius building is one of the leading international exhibition centers for exceptional topics... of cultural history. The focus lies on contemporary art and photography as well as archeology. The organizers often receive spectacular objects as loans from other museums, which regularly turn the exhibitions into big events. In 2010, a “Frida-Kahlo-Retrospective" was shown as well as an exhibition called “Teotihucan - Mexicos secret pyramid city”.
The building (1877-81) was built in the neo-Renaissance style by the architects Martin Gropius and Heino Schmieden. It used to be an arts and crafts museum, which still can be seen on the reliefs of the facade. The big light yard with galleries is an architectural highlight. After World War I, it was home to the Museum of Prehistory and Early History (Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte) and the East Asian Art Collection (Ostasiatische Kunstsammlung). It was badly damaged during World War II. From 1978-81 restoration works started. In 1999/2000, the building was reconstructed, an air conditioning system was added and the northern entrance was turned into the main entrance.more
The memorial (Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen) on the grounds of the former Stasi detention center... has an innovative and successful concept: former prisoners lead the visitors through the building and describe how the system worked from their point of view. One learns about the different stages of a prisoner awaiting trial: from arriving with a camouflaged prison transport - the entire area was restricted and could not be found on any East German map - to the humiliation when being brought to the psychological torturing before, during and after interrogation. The people put into these prisons had different political views, were willing to leave the country, but were also critical reform communists. They were forced to make confessions, their will was supposed to be broken. The prison grounds have a very interesting history. Before the department of the state security service (Stasi) took over the facility in 1951, the place was a stock for the Soviet intelligence service NKWD, which was used officially for denazification purposes. The basement prison, called “submarine”, some cells of which had no windows, is also part of the tour. Through the wing that houses the interrogation rooms, which have kept their original arrangement, you go to the yards, called tiger cages, in which you learn about the practice of "observed day parole". Up until the spring of 1990, people were locked away right here. The memorial opened in 1994. A contemporary witness archive was set up: former inmates are contacted and their memories of the time in prison are recorded.more
For 28 years, Berlin was a divided city. The construction of the 100 mi (55 km) long border installations... started on 13 August 1961 and surrounded all three western sectors entirely. The Wall runs along residential homes right on Bernauer Straße. During the Cold War most escape attempts took place right here. Today the memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer) is the central place of remembrance of the German separation. The memorial site consists of several elements spread along Bernauer Street: the memorial in remembrance of the separation of the city and of the victims who lost their lives during the building of the Wall. The architecture firm Kohlhoff und Kohlhof designed a 200 ft (60 m) long border stripe and bordered it with 6.5 ft (2 m) tall rusty metal walls. Attached to it are two observation slits, which offer a view over the "Todesstreifen" (death strip), which is called like this because of the shots fired by the border patrol - this section between the walls seems actually quite unspectacular. The documentation center across the street offers an observation platform, from which one also has a view over the monument. The permanent exhibition “Berlin 13. August 1961” informs about the events that caused the building of the Wall by means of listening stations, archive documents and films. Historical radio recordings and excerpts from contemporary witnesses convey at least an impression of the dramatic events. A little further north lies the Chapel of Reconciliation (Kapelle der Versöhnung, 2000). Originally, the reconciliation church stood here (1894). After the division of Berlin, the chapel was right on the border strip and could not be used anymore. It was blown up in 1985. According to the plans of the architects Peter Sassenroth and Rudolf Reitermann, the clay bulding specialist Martin Rauch built the Chapel of Reconciliation. An oval church surrounded by a facade made of wooden sticks. On the inside, there is a oratory, in which prayers for the victims of the Berlin Wall are frequently conducted. Today the bells of the Reconciliation Church hang outside, where the outlines of the forerunner church are marked. The new visitor center was built in 2009 and is west of the documentation center. Here you can set up your navigation through the memorial grounds and you receive information about the remaining parts of the Wall in the city. A new outside exhibition is being added to the memorial site. Furthermore, a remembrance landscape is being constructed on the former 0.8 mi (1.3 km) long wall strip on the south side of Bernauer Street. The lives of those affected by the building of the Wall are the subject of the project at this authentic location.more
The children's museum in Wedding is definitely worth a visit. Big, affectionately designed themed exhibitions... encourage kids to participate and playfully demonstrate how much fun art and movement can be. Trying out things hands on, wit, skills, and all senses are required. The recent topic focuses on being different and all its shades. For a short while, you can encounter the world from a blind person's perspective, wearing special glasses. In the opaque restaurant or at the touch wall you can hone your senses. Or you deprive yourself of sound wearing headphones and learn sign language. Finally, you go shopping without talking just using gestures. The maze is a good place to get lost. Many other playing stations grant excitement and take off a good mood. If you want even more, you can sign up for a workshop. A great museum for kids.more
The former main synagogue of Berlin nowadays hosts an exhibition on Jewish life in the city and the history... of the house. The grand building has three remarkable, gold-shimmering domes and was designed by the architect Eduard Knoblauch (1801-65). The 160 ft (50 m) high main dome, covered with three gilded groins, is flanked by two small minaret-like domes standing on side towers. Friedrich August Stueler added Moorish-Byzantine elements to the building, which was completed in 1866. The front facade is richly adorned with cinder blocks, colorful tiles and terracotta. Back then, it was the biggest and most magnificent synagogue in the country. The unusual architecture and some innovations to the mass as well as the organ music were criticized by parts of the conservative Jewish community. Ultimately the critics were banned from the community.
During the nationwide pogroms on 9 November 1938, the New Synagogue was set on fire by the SA. A courageous police officer had the fire put out, which avoided bigger damages. Today a memorial plaque reminds people of this action. Masses took place inside the building up until 14 January 1943. After that, the Wehrmacht turned it into a uniform stock. The building was badly damaged during air raids at the end of 1943. During GDR times, only the structure at the street was maintained. The ruin of the main room was blown up and removed. In 1988, the foundation “New Synagogue Berlin - Center Judaicum” was launched to at least partly restore the synagogue and establish a center for Jewish culture. Since 1993, the street front with the main dome has been reconstructed true to the original. Inside the building, the permanent exhibition “Tuet auf die Pforten...” ("Open the gates...") presents some architectural fragments and parts of the interior, which hints at the splendor of the prayer hall that was made for 3,000 people. The former inside wall and parts of the brickwork are protected by a glass-steel construction. Stones mark the outlines of the former main synagogue on an open space. Since 2006, the administration of the Jewish community Berlin has its office in the new synagogue. There is a little prayer hall on the third floor. Several Jewish cafes and restaurants and the Jewish gallery are in the neighborhood (Oranienburger Str. 31, http://www.juedische-galerie.de).more
The Friedrichswerder Church, a neo-Gothic brick building, is a work of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Berlin's... most famous architect during his times. The most conspicuous feature is the flat roof, which people from Berlin often use as an observation platform and the four flat twin towers on the south side, each crowned by four little corner pillars. The archangel Michael rises above the entrance, killing the lindworm. On the inside, slim abutments with elegant profiles rise to the ceiling into an illusionary reticulated vaulting. The church served the German and French community as a Protestant church. The oak pulpit and the original glass windows in the chancel are reminders of those past times. The windows were moved to Berlin Cathedral (Berlin Dom) during World War II. The church was a ruin for a long time, after it had been severely damaged during the war. Renovations started taking place in 1979. It was inaugurated in 1987 as a branch of the National Gallery (Nationalgallerie). A second renovation took place from 1997 to 2000. Today sculptures from the late 18th century and the 19th century are exhibited. A total of 90 sculptures from Berlin sculpting of the Classicism to the Romanticism period can be seen. One of the nicest sculptures is the famous gesso mold “Group of Princesses” (Prinzessinnengruppe, 1795) from Gottfried Schadow, showing the two Prussian daughters of the king Luise and Friederike, trustfully embracing each other. A documentary on the works of Schinkel can be found in the upper gallery. Busts of Immanuel Kant, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe as well as Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt round off the exhibit.more
City: Berlin (Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf)
More than 250 works of surrealism and other styles are offered by the exhibition “Surreal Worlds”... in the eastern Stueler building across from Charlottenburg Palace. Works by artists such as Giovanni Battista Piranese, Francisco de Goya and Salvador Dalí are presented. The main focus lies on surrealism, an avant-garde art movement in the 20th century. Larger work assemblies by René Magritte, Max Ernst and Paul Klee can be seen. The photography “Erotique voilée” (1933) by Man Ray and the painting “Le Triomphe de lamour/fausse allégorie” (1937) by Max Ernst. Surrealism is presented in the tradition of fantastic art. Piranesis' fantastic illustrations of dungeon architecture as well as the ghost apparitions from Goyas etchings and other works from French symbolists are on display. Otto Gerstenberge, one of the most famous art collectors of his times, founded the collection. His collection was destroyed partly during the war. His grandchild, Dieter Scharf (1926-2001), inherited the graphics and continued the collection. The top-class works of art can be seen in a sophisticated architectural context. Added to that are the temple gate from Kalabsha and the pillars of the antique Sahure temple from the collection of the Egyptian Museum.more
The Bendlerblock was the headquarter of the foreign/defense agency, the secret service of the Third Reich,... during the Nazi reign. The political resistance group including Ludwig Beck and Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg planned the assassination of Adolf Hitler on 20 July 1944 right here. And after they had not succeeded, the Wehrmacht Officers von Staufenberg, von Quirnheim, von Haeften and Olbricht were executed in the inner yard. In remembrance of the group, a cenotaph was erected during the 1950s in the yard and a bronze statue was put up. It was made by Richard Scheibe and shows a naked young man with tied hands. In 1968, inside the building, an initial exhibition with information about the resistance against the Nazis was opened and expanded in 1983. Today the memorial site and the permanent exhibition (Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand) is in the rooms in which the overthrow of 20 July 1944 was planned. It tries to give an overview of the different forms of resistance against the Nazi regime. On the basis of pictures, biographies, and documents, it informs about the military overthrow attempts between 1938 and 1944 as well as actions of other groups from different walks of life and their different motifs. Georg Elser, The White Rose (die Weiße Rose) and the Red Chapel (Rote Kapelle) are mentioned as well as the Kreisauer Circle (Kreisauer Kreis) and the National committee for a free Germany (Nationalkomitee Freies Deutschland).more
The Berlin Museum of Medical History at the Charité (Berliner Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charité )... is famous for its pathological-anatomical exhibition, which derives from the collection of the Berlin pathologist Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902). Virchow wanted to document every illness known at that time with a typical specimen and display its progress. He wanted make his knowledge accessible and present it to a large audience. He founded the Pathological Museum, which was opened in 1899. At this time already 20,000 dry and and wet specimens belonged to his collection. After the bombings of World War II, only 2,500 objects were left. The collection was rebuilt again, but not presented to the public. Not until the early 1990s did the plan come up of restoring the museums' building and putting it back to use. On 25 March 1998 the permanent collection with about 750 wet and dry specimens from the Virchow collection was opened. The tour starts with the Berlin anatomical theater from the 18th century. Furthermore, one also gets to see the dissection room of the pathologist and the medical laboratories. Following his initial idea, namely showing illnesses during their different stages, is particularly interesting for students of medicine. The laymen might get the creeps from looking at what is inside a human being. The fetuses dipped in liquid are an eerie sight in any case. The exhibition also takes into account the history of the Charité during the times of Hitler.more
The headquarters of the Ministry for State Security (MfS), as the GDR secret service was called, was... located in Lichtenberg until 1989. The building was situated on an almost 20 acres (8 ha) big compund, on which 15,000 people worked in 1989. Erich Mielke (1907-2000), for example, resided in House 1. He was State Security Minister (Minister für Staatssicherheit) from 1957 to 1989 and was in charge of the huge apparatus with its 1,000 official and 200,000 unofficial employees (spies). The main function of the agency was to suppress people critical of the regime. GDR people occupied the Stasi headquarters on January 15th 1990. In the same year, civil right activists founded the anti-Stalinist movement Berlin-Normannenstraße, whose goal was to create a science and memorial site in the former Stasi rooms. The original offices of Erich Mielke are still intact as well as the casino and the big conference hall. The authentic place informs about the Stasi museum and biographies of MfS officials and shows the means by which the GDR intelligence spied on its own people on the basis of original objects like secret cameras, microphones and weapons. For this time, the exhibition was moved to House 22, in which once the main canteen for the MfS authorities was located. The original furniture of the offices of Erich Mielke can also be looked at.more
City: Berlin (Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg)
“The Museum of Things” (Museum der Dinge) presents objects of different quality in the context of... an open depot. The most important source of the collection is the “Werkbundarchiv”. The German Work Federation (Deutscher Werkbund) is an association of artists, architects and industrialists, which was founded with the objective of reforming people's lives by giving industrially produced goods a new, modern objective design. Aesthetic educational aspiration was blended with faith in progress, the basic idea was that especially good things can change your way of life. Back then, "good" meant a plain shape conditioned by matter, material and construction, which was labeled the New Objectivity in the 1920s. The most prominent members of this movement were Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe. The “Werkbundarchiv”, founded in 1973, stands in the tradition of this movement. The museum considers itself not only a documentation center for the works of the Werkbund, but also wants to put the objects into relation to recent design trends of mass-produced goods. The collection consists of 30,000 documents on the German Werkbund, about 20,000 objects, among them furniture, arts and crafts and electronic devices, a wild mixture of no-name products and works of famous designers. Very exciting exhibitions derive from the thematically varying comparisons of objects. Series inform about the material, shape and function history of things in the 20th century and sensitize the visitor's perception of things, which, unbound from the everyday environment, suddenly develop their own attraction.more
In his manifesto Walter Gropius announces the goals of the Bauhaus (1919-33), a school for architecture,... design and art, which he had founded in Weimar: “architects, sculptors, painters, we all must retrieve our craft!” “The final aim is that all sculptural work is constructional!” In this construction all forms of art shall be molded together to an ideal union based on crafts and be dismissive of commercial art. The students were taught these new values in workshops educationally and technically. An aesthetically defining school for design evolved, joined by influential artists such as Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Oskar Schlemmer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Wassily Kandinsky and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. In 1960, the Bauhaus archives were founded, which contain the worldwide most extensive collection of the school presenting its wide range in its exhibition: photographs, paintings, drawings, statuary, and architectural models as well as furniture, dishes, metal devices, and weaving works are exhibited. The “Bauhausleuchte” (1924) from Wilhelm Wagenfeld and the “Wassily-Sessel” (1925) from Marcel Breuer belong to the classics. The building of the museum with the remarkable roof was made by Walter Gropius. It was first finished though after he had died. Each year, four big special exhibitions as well as lectures and workshops complete the program of the museum.more
Treasures for art connoisseurs are assembled in the Gemäldegalerie. It has one of the most important... collections of European painting from the 13th to the 18th century worldwide. It was founded around 1830 with the collection of the Great Elector (Großer Kurfürst, 1620-88) and the collection of Frederick the Great (1712-86). After a while, it became a collection of international renown, which gave an almost complete overview of European painting. During World War II, countless precious paintings were destroyed. After the war was over, the collection was divided between West and East Berlin.
After the reunification, the top-class pieces of art from the old masters were brought to a new museum, which was built by the architect firm Hilmer & Sattler. Nondescript on the outside, the building, designed in a daylight blue, unfurls all its beauty on the inside by supplying the best possible lighting for the paintings. A pillar-traversed hall with little light openings at the top is located in the center. The exhibition rooms branch off from the center. The epochs, artistic heritages and schools are chronologically ordered. The main gallery is home to about 1,000 paintings. Another 350 works of art can be found in the tuitional gallery on the basement floor.
The main focus of the collection lies on German and Italian art from the 13th to the 16th century and Dutch artists from the 15th to the 16th century. Every artist of distinction is represented: Bruegel, Dürer, Cranach, Raffael, Tizian, Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt and Vermeer. Highlights are Dürer's “Madonna with the siskin” (Madonna mit dem Zeisig, 1506), Caravaggio's “Victorious Cupid” (Amor als Sieger, 1602) and Ruben's “Perseus liberating Andromeda” (Perseus befreit Andromada, around 1622). The Rembrandt collection with its 16 works is one of the most important collections in the world. The rich collection of paintings by Italian, French, German and British artists from the 18th century includes works by Canaletto, Watteau, Pesne and Gainsborough.more