Thursday, September 27, 2012

Where is Old Berlin?

When a tourist arrives in an unknown city, it's usual that he or she is a little confused. I often get questions from tourists seeking information about sightseeing attractions, transit schedules, or where they can find a beer garden.

The other day, as I was riding the bus, a young man asked me where he could find Berlin's old town (Alt-Stadt). That left me wondering. Even though Berlin has been around since the 13th century, it didn't become an important city until the late 1800s, shortly after the industrial revolution and German consolidation. That makes Berlin relatively new by European standards. Moreover, most of "old" Berlin was destroyed during WWII. In fact, there is no "old-part" of Berlin to speak of. There are a few historic buildings scattered across the city, but no specific area that I would truly call "old." So while Prague, Athens, and Rome are distinctly old, Berlin is modern through and through.   

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