Welcome to East Berlin – a city with a rich history and vibrant culture. In this beginner’s guide, we will take you on a journey through the key aspects of this fascinating part of Germany. From its intriguing past to its must-see attractions and delicious cuisine, East Berlin has something to offer everyone.
History of East Berlin
Following World War II, Berlin was divided into four occupation zones: American, British, French, and Soviet. The eastern part came under Soviet control and became the capital of East Germany in 1949. For over four decades, East Berlin was isolated from the rest of the city and became the symbol of the Cold War.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked the reunification of Germany and the end of the division. Today, East Berlin stands as a testament to the resilient spirit of its people and offers a glimpse into its turbulent past.
1. Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is an iconic symbol of Berlin and represents the reunification of the city. It’s a must-visit for any visitor to East Berlin and offers a stunning backdrop for memorable photographs.
2. Berlin Wall Memorial
Located near Bernauer Strasse, the Berlin Wall Memorial provides a somber reminder of the city’s divided past. The memorial offers a comprehensive exhibition on the history of the wall and features preserved sections of the original wall.
Alexanderplatz is a bustling square in the heart of East Berlin. It’s home to numerous shops, restaurants, and the famous Fernsehturm (TV Tower). The tower provides breathtaking views of the city, making it a must-visit attraction.
4. Museum Island
For culture enthusiasts, a visit to Museum Island is essential. This UNESCO World Heritage site houses five world-class museums, including the Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum, which showcase art, archaeology, and ancient artifacts.
Cuisine and Food
East Berlin boasts a diverse culinary scene that reflects its historical influences. Here are some dishes you shouldn’t miss:
The beloved German street food, currywurst, originated in Berlin. It consists of a sliced sausage smothered in curry sauce and often served with fries. It’s the perfect quick and tasty snack.
Kartoffelpuffer, also known as potato pancakes, are a popular dish in East Berlin. Served with applesauce or sour cream, these crispy delights are a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Eisbein, or pork knuckle, is a traditional German dish that can be found in many East Berlin restaurants. It is typically served with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, providing a hearty and flavorsome meal.
No trip to East Berlin is complete without trying a Berliner. These jelly-filled doughnuts are a sweet treat that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Be sure to try the traditional raspberry jam filling!
Transportation in East Berlin
Getting around East Berlin is convenient and efficient. The city offers a well-connected public transportation system that includes trains, trams, buses, and a reliable metro system.
One of the best ways to explore East Berlin is by using the Berlin WelcomeCard, which provides unlimited travel on public transport and discounts on popular attractions.
If you prefer exploring the city on foot, East Berlin offers numerous walking and biking paths that allow you to soak in the history, architecture, and vibrant street art.